Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy…it’s here. It’s finally here. We’ve been waiting so patiently and now it’s finally here. There have been updates and meetings and practices and classes. The gear is all cleaned and organized. Everything has been double, nay, triple-checked and looks ready to go. Everything is in it’s place. We’re ready for the big day!!
And it’s here! It’s finally here!!!!
NFL OPENING DAY! Woot, woot!
I really enjoy NFL football. I think I enjoy it because I grew up in San Jose, CA, on the West Coast, where you could literally spend the entire day watching football and still go to bed a normal human work/school-night hours. But I remember just loving Sundays as a kid.
The fast-pace of the game. The length of the season. The teamwork required for every.single.play. The feats of strength. The ability to fit all of the action on the TV screen. The fans (remember, I grew up in Raiders and Niners country). I just love to watch it. I played many sports on my younger years, softball being my main jam and water polo being my favorite, but football is absolutely my favorite sport to watch
But that’s just it. I get to watch it. I can dissolve myself of my real-world and get caught up in the game. Especially when my team is playing! But parenthood is certainly not a spectator sport. It’s a full contact (literally and figuratively) sport requiring time, patience, and love. While there are without-a-doubt, several differences between the sport of football and the life-changing role of parenthood, let’s chat briefly, and humorously, about a few similarities between the two.
Similarities between NFL football and Parenthood, according to From The Start, Postpartum Doula:
1. Team sports. Let’s all agree here - football is a team sport. Check. No further discussion on that. However, I might need to convince you that parenthood is also a team sport. Granted, you may sometimes end up trading players, you may be a one-person team, and you may end up with a shit-ton of back-up players on the starting roster, but dammit, it’s still a team. You literally could not do this completely on your own. From occasional baby sitters to grandparents and nannies and everything in between, we all “get by with a little help from our friends” and family. Sometimes it may feel like you’re constantly on defense and everyone else on your supposed “team” is on offense and out to rapidly move the chains down the field.
2. Preseason hype. There is so much freaking talk and hype about the prenatal and preseason times. The NFL preseason hype has only grown with the increase in fantasy leagues and drafts. Oh, speaking of that, don’t parents do that exact same things with our in utero babies? We guess how well they will perform during the regular season. We make tons and tons of predictions about them and their abilities - predictions which we sometimes base off of ourselves (“I was 8lbs, so this baby will be about 8 lbs”) or our other children (“He left through the night at eight weeks, so this one should too”) or what others have to say. Similarly, we hype up players and teams during the preseason - based on of how they performed in the past, how they compare to other players in the same position, and based on what the coaches/doctors/teammates have to say. This last preseason similarity - depending on your model of care and other factors, you can get a few good looks at the baby in the prenatal season, just as you can get 4 looks at your team during the NFL preseason.
3. Opening Day. Ya know, I was going to attempt to compare opening day of the NFL season to opening day of parenthood. But, when I told my husband about this he said the only thing that came to mind for him was, well, football players bursting through a huge banner and he likened that to the birth of a child. And that’s just not an image I really want to generate here. Now, if you check out Madge The Vag, I bet she could do an absolutely hilarious segment comparing NFL opening day and parenthood opening day. Madge, you up for the challenge?!?!
4. The season itself. Is it fitting that the regular season is 17 games then you’re into the post season? I almost feel like it’s going to be 17 years of regular season with the kids then we’re off into the post season, full of stressors and pressure, yet all the while watching the team (or child, in this metaphor) reach their peak and perform at their peak. I think that’s why there are 17 weeks in the regular season. During those 17 weeks there are ups and downs, painful losses, and joyous wins. There are fans with you all along the way. There are away trips and there is home field advantage. There are injuries. There’s growth and learning. There’s loss of relationships There’s dedication. There’s maturity. I’m not even sure if I’m talking about parenting or football anymore, there’s just so much in common! Oh, and the bye-week too. Parents need a bye-week too (well, maybe we get a bye-night or a bye-morning but I'll take whatever "bye" I can get, even if it's just a bye-hour!)!
5. Defense wins championships. Just pretend with me that we parents are the defense and, well, our kids are the offense (quick disclaimer - this is just for the sake of this conversation. We should be on the same team as our kids, in real life!). Sometimes we play zone defense. Sometimes we play man-to-man. Sometimes we double-team. And sometimes we go for the pick-6! Sometimes we react to the offense, especially when they bring a fake punt at us. But we’ve prepared and we’re ready.
So, let's get this season started. Let's jump right in and tackle this season just like we have every other season - we'll give it our best, pray a bit, and hope it ends in our favor. Even though my not-so-secret crush, Jason Witten, just retired this off-season, I am still looking forward to these upcoming Sundays. This season might not be the best for my football team, but I’m going to do my damnedest to make this a great parenting season for my boys.
Kari Haravitch PCD(DONA)
I write this article fully aware of the many controversies currently surrounding the NFL, their current and past players, and football in general. Truth be told, as a mother of two very physically active boys, I’m not sure how I will feel if/when my boys ask to play football. As much as I love to watch the sport, the idea of my precious pride-n-joy offspring actually playing the sport, well that’s a completely different subject. Until that question comes, you know where you can find me on Sundays!