Happy sport’s mum day, the sacrifices we make for sport

With Mother’s Day in Australia just gone, I celebrated the 4th anniversary of my first Sporting Mum blog. I reminisce a few years back as I stood shivering on the side line of my son’s AFL game. It was a cold and wet “Mothers Day” morning, with no coffee van or kiosk in site.

I tried to resist the “labelling” of being dubbed a “sporting family”. In fact, I took slight offence to the inference that I was not bringing up my kids as “well-rounded” as I possibly could. After all, I have always encouraged my kids do to a mix of arts, culture as well as sport. However, on this day 4 years ago and after 12 years of motherhood, I chose to “own the label sporting mum” …..because YES I AM!

There was no breakfast in bed for me, in fact there never is! It was 8am on Sunday (Mother’s Day morning) and there I was, practicing goal shots with my kids as part of my daughters warm up. After watching her game, we had a quick lunch and then I played football. It was such a lovely social feel after the game, with a generous food platter and champagne. More importantly , I got to celebrate the day with my fellow sports mums.

This blog is for ALL my fellow sports mums out there…happy Sporting Mum’s day. Life is crazy busy with training schedules during the week. I find myself on weekends squeezing in any housework and maintenance in between sporting commitments. Furthermore, it feels like I am forever in a car ferrying the kids to where they need to be for their sport.

As children get older, sports training gets later and consequently so does dinners and our kids bed time. It has been an interesting transition for me, particularly when I

am still waking up at 5am! Your whole life adapts to what sports the kids are doing, how old they are and at what level they are competing (which usually determines how far you will need to travel). I was recently involved in a consultation for a sports strategy out in western NSW. A local sport parent explained that every weekend his wife takes his daughter to gymnastics in Canberra and he takes his son to Sydney for Football. For each of them, it is approximately an 8-hour return trip…now that my friends, is dedication!

My family this winter are doing 5 sports, and that is with only two children. I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like for families who have 3 or more children in sport.

A study by Ipsos (2016) based on 1,000 Australian respondents spending habits revealed, one in ten parents paid over $1,000 per child each year for sports. A quarter of these parents (26%) spent between $500 and $999 a year per child.

The Australian Sports Commission (2018) report indicated that Australians are spending almost $11 billion a year on sport participation, the majority of spending occurring on registration fees. Adding to the initial registration costs, there are other potential expenses such as:

  • Uniforms
  • Sport equipment
  • Coaching
  • Camps and/or gala days
  • End of year presentations
  • Fundraising events
  • Coach/Manager end of season gift contribution
  • Physiotherapist/Exercise Physiologists/ Gyms

Sport can be a costly venture, but one that should be budgeted for. It is important for families to invest in, particularly with the low physical activity levels and high obesity rates currently among Australian children.

There are government subsidies out there such as Active Kids vouchers in NSW and now Victoria, and other subsidies in different states across Australia. Most vouchers are around $100 per season and can be put toward school aged children’s sport registration costs.

There are other ways sports clubs can help ease the financial burden of families. Last week I heard a speaker talking about inclusion and access for bigger families, he spoke of the “time banking” concept. Time banking allows families to volunteer in exchange for reduction in sport fee’s. Other ways associations can help with the

cost of sport is having flexible payment plans rather than an upfront cost for registrations. Swapping old sports equipment between members and of course there are potential sponsors (particularly for uniforms).

I hope that this information helps, and the rest of my blogs help as many families become and/or stay involved in sport. I look forward to the amount of sports mums continuing to grow. Who knows maybe one day we will have a special event on Mother’s day to show the gratitude of all that we do for our kids in sport!

Yvette Audet

Yvette Audet

Sport has been an integral part of my life, both work and personal. I grew up with sport, met my husband through sport and now as a mother, am involved more than ever in sport!

As a trainer and consultant in the industry I work with sporting groups and councils to create community facilities and partnerships aimed to increase sport participation.

I have created a range of articles from the perspective of a SPORTING MUM. The articles relate life skills and messages that we can get from being involved in sport. It’s uncanny how Sport can mirror life.

BIO

Involved in gymnastics, netball and athletics from an early age, Yvette experienced being part of a team as well as the unrelentless discipline in individual sport – in particular her Heptathlon days.

First became a mum in 2005 and remembers having the inner debate of how long should I play netball while pregnant? Doing quick breastfeeds in between netball games and hoping her uterus wouldn’t feel like falling out when she jumped for the ball.

Funny anecdotes aside, she has worked in the sport and recreation industry for almost 30 years and holds several certificates and degrees around the management and training of sport, community recreation, aquatics and fitness.

Through her various roles in profit and non-profit sectors, she has helped plan for programs, events and facilities to help get communities active through sport and recreation.

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