There’s a not-so-secret society of moms out there in the world: The Society of Sports Moms. It’s made up of those of us who spend significant time taxing kids to practice, sitting as spectators, hunting up uniforms to wash at the last minute, and shuffling schedules. Even with years of experience, I still love the ideas other parents come up with to make the sports mom life just a bit easier. So, I asked around to find out their helpful tips. Whether your children are in soccer, karate, swim, cheer, track, or bowling, you’ll probably appreciate these hints.

“I got sick of finding stinky clothes in their bags even when they’re supposed to have put them in the wash right away. I started doing bag sweeps every Sunday night when I was already doing a load of laundry. It’s saved us a lot of smell but even more, we have a lot less running around looking for that one sock they missed or replacing the musty swimsuit.”

“I keep a load of easy to go snacks at home and in the car like granola bars, peanut butter crackers, or nuts. It helps with the starving child stuck after school or a meet and keeps us out of the drive-thru every day.”

“If you have to sit on bleachers, invest in padded seats with backs that hook onto the metal bench. They are so much more comfortable and save your back. You can order them online.”

“Make friends with people on the team, or sign up with friends, so you have a back-up … someone to check the schedule with, trade snack days, or even carpool.  It’s nice just to have other people to talk to as you watch anyway. You end up spending so many hours of every week together.”

“Best thing I ever invested in for sports was a portable rocking chair. Everyone else is in regular folding chairs and I’m kicked back leaning in my awesome one.”

“Hands down, get a portable space heater. It gets cold at night even in the summer.”

“My daughter wears contacts, so we keep a spare pair and saline in the car at all times. We threw in sunscreen, deodorant, and bandages and things like that too. So many kids have had to use them.”

“So many people use those big beach umbrellas to keep the sun off, but we have much better luck with individual umbrellas that attach to our chairs. They don’t get in the way as much, stay up way easier, and can be moved to where you need it more accurately.”

“Have your kids do most of the communication with the coach instead of you. It helps strengthen the relationship between player and coach. Plus, it keeps you, as the parent, out of it. Things get super complicated when parents are too involved in the team dynamics but aren’t meant to be instructors.”

Sports definitely take a toll on the parents behind the athletes. We sacrifice energy, time, and money so that our kids can find joy and teamwork. It’s all worth it in the end, so hopefully, some of these tips will make the process a little easier on you!