Ballpark Moms :: How to Set Yourself Up for Success this Spring and Summer

Ballpark Moms :: How to Set Yourself Up for Success this Spring and Summer

We are an outside family. Though my kids enjoy way more screen time than I would care to admit, we are deliberate about making sure they also have a significant amount of outdoor playtime every day. So it’s no surprise that our family has found a surrogate home at the ballpark during the Spring and Summer seasons. Both my husband and I coach their teams and between weekday practices and game days, our normally tight, well-oiled evening routines are turned completely inside out.

The first season we attempted to work full-time jobs, parent a toddler and a baby, manage other extracurriculars, and help coach a t-ball team was a whirlwind and our beloved routines completely failed … it was a complete, though happy, disaster … Like a just eat another pack of goldfish and a cheese stick for dinner disaster. We had the time of our lives that season, but our home, car, and nutrition surely suffered because we were wholly unprepared to manage the root shock that was our love for our time at the park.

Two major takeaways from our first season: 1-We are ABSOLUTELY a t-ball / baseball / cabbageball / softball family! and 2- Our routines were completely inadequate when put to the ballpark test.

While I don’t have an ironclad routine to share that will work for all families, I have come up with some hard-learned tips that can help manage the inevitable chaos amid summer sports madness.

  1. Every dinner does not have to be the most Instagram / Pinterest-worthy, Michelin Star award-winning offering. As school winds down and summer ramps up, we all need to give ourselves permission to relax a little more. Sandwiches for dinner are FINE! Drive-thru for dinner is okay. As I often heard during my challenging times nursing newborns, FED IS BEST! This principle definitely applies to long evenings as a family at the ballpark.
  2. Practice is play. Normally, during the off-season, my kids go right to the backyard after school while I prep dinner. But during the season, we are generally running straight to the park and they miss the unstructured playtime that they’ve become accustomed to. When time permits, we can get to the fields early or stay later so that they can have a few minutes of free play with other kids. But time doesn’t always permit and that’s ok. The structured time they spend in practice or during the game is playtime as well.
  3. Snacks are both a slice of heaven and hell for hungry kids. All snacks are not created equal. I learned very early NOT to rely on after-game snacks to buy more time until dinner. More often than not, the drive home ended with me completely losing it and making a quick and unplanned trip to the drive-thru. Over time, those unplanned trips adversely impacted my mental health, waistline, and budget.
  4. Routines are meant to be revised. I held on to the hope that our perfect evening routine would continue, intact and unaffected by life at the ballpark, for as long as I could. I enjoyed fond memories of 5:30 pm dinner times at home with balanced meals, story time before bed, and folding laundry while catching up on my favorite shows when the kids were asleep. The truth, when I finally allowed myself to acknowledge it, looked a lot more like lots of rushing, fussing, and screaming on my part to keep the previous routine as king. It was unsustainable and no fun. After all, wasn’t this supposed to be fun? When I let go of the past and designed a routine fit for my current reality things got so much easier and dare I say, more fun.
  5. Build community. It is super nostalgic to see kids become “best friends” after the first practice. Admittedly, as adults, it is harder to make new connections with the same ease. If you are looking to meet new people, countless hours at the ballpark with the same people for several months makes it easier to step outside of your respective comfort zones. As parents, we are also part of the team. Our collective presence contributes to the sweetness of each victory and the swift rebound after defeat. I can’t think of a better way to spark a low stakes conversation with a stranger than doing so while supporting our kids.

tips for ballpark moms

Yvette Merritt
Yvette is a native New Orleanian and Xavier Prep alum. She lives in New Orleans East with her husband Chris and their children Ashby and Asa. She is a full-time working mom with a career in Public Health and Education as well as a local entrepreneur, co-owner of Pearl Salon Suites NOLA. Yvette loves to travel, read, write, listen to podcast/audiobooks, discover new skin and haircare products, bake bread, and have weekly family movie marathons.


  1. As a proud parent, I am happy to see how well my daughter has grown into a successful parent and teacher herself. I am so gratified that she has seen such a success. More power to her in the future.


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