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Why Parents Need to Schedule Panic Time

The key to successful parenting is planning …

And, the result of planning is nothing going according to plan. So, particularly as a parent, it’s vital to remember to schedule time to panic into your plans.


Take yesterday, for example. We planned to get our kids’ gear ready for today’s first soccer practice of the fall season. Sounds simple enough.

One might wonder why one would schedule time to panic when the plan is to accomplish something so simple.

Clearly the one whom wonders that either has no children, or is still suffering the effects of the concussion received when one collided with the playground equipment while trying to catch one’s 2 year old, who had, in the span of less than 30 seconds, pooped in her diaper, stripped down to nothing, and taken off running across the playground. For the third time. This week.

There’re two things I’ve learned as I stumble along, trying to parent my 7 children. First, there’s no such thing as too much chocolate. And, second, one must always schedule time to panic.

With soccer starting for 5 of my kids today, that goes double.

My children are each very different people, but my whole pack has one thing in common. They all love soccer. From the time they could crawl, each and every one of them chased after that ball.

And, somehow, despite my complete lack of coordination (I’ve fallen just thinking about watching them play) they’re all gifted players. I guess I’ll have to wait to see how theirkids play to know whether that’s because soccer skills skip a generation, or because mixing two science geeks, who met at a marching band concert, spontaneously creates major soccer skills in their children.

Either way, my pack is filled with amazing soccer players who excel in every area of the game, except one:

    They can’t keep track of their soccer stuff.

I have lost count of the number of shin guards I’ve purchased because someone could only locate one, which, for you non-soccer people, let me just say really doesn’t work out well.

We’ve had cleats disappear, never to be seen again, before they even made it to their first game.

Socks and shorts are forever going on the lam. The money I’ve spent replacing them could have paid for our own private soccer field several times over.

Today being the first day of practice, I wasn’t the least bit surprised to find out half of our kids’ shin guards and a couple of cleats were AWOL.

Somehow the soccer season and the accompanying need for gear take my family by surprise every year, despite having been on the calendar for months. And, as usual, we also forgot to schedule time to panic about the missing gear.

This panic, as it always does, caused our home to be filled with the relaxing tones of “patient” prodding as their dad, The Professor, attempted to “encourage” the kids to find their stuff.

I don’t understand what he’s so upset about. After all, during the panicked process, he found his left cowboy boot, 3 cordless phones (only 2 of which belong to us), his jigsaw, and what was either formerly a banana or a crayfish.

Years ago, in the interest of family harmony, I bought a big tub with a lid and labeled it “Soccer Cleats & Shin Guards.” My family loved it. They oooh’d and aaah’d over it. They marveled as I demonstrated the procedure whereby one might remove the lid, place one’s soccer gear inside of the tub, and return the lid to its original location. They were all impressed.

They were shocked when I then lifted the lid and revealed that their valuable possessions were, in fact, still there, inside the tub, where they had put them. As anti-neatites, the idea of putting something where it belongs was foreign and a bit unsettling to my pack. But, they seemed intrigued and interested in the notion of being able to use the magical tub to keep track of and to locate their belongings.

All pledged to make use of this valuable new tool, and to fully embrace this minion of organization.

I rejoiced.

They never used it. It’s still in brand-new, pristine condition.

Yesterday, while on the traditional hunt for their soccer gear, besides completely destroying our home, my pack located four missing library books from the last city we lived in, two notes from teachers requesting conferences last spring, and one goldfish.

The goldfish was a bit on the crispy side.

The missing cleats and shin guards continue to elude them.

I told them not to worry. The missing soccer gear will turn up. It always does.

On the first day of baseball season.


Gina Valley is a humorist, who lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband & their 7 children, who provide her with more inspiration than she needs for her blog Gina Valley – The Glamorous Life Of The Modern Day Soccer Mom. She finds humor in parenting her pack, navigating life, & trying to show up anywhere on time. She loves to cook, if someone puts the ingredients in those little glass bowls, & spends much of her time carpooling and inventing new curse words (at the same time!). If she’s out of chocolate, run and hide! Gina’s work appears widely on the web.
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