Pax is back in soccer.  I say “back” even though – technically – he’s never played a full season.  His older brother has, and we’ve spent many a gray Saturday watching Raines stroll around a soccer field, looking at clouds.

It almost drove me to madness.

It’s funny, though – Raines wasn’t actually bad at soccer, he’s decently athletic – it’s just that he cared so very little.  Kids would all go running for the ball (which happened to land in front of Raines) and he’d just, ya know, take a step back.  With a sort of confused look on his face all like, ‘what’s the rush?”  Even games where Raines appeared more engaged (he even scored a goal once I just can’t even)…when I asked him his thoughts after the game he replied with, “Mom did you know that in WWII….”

(And no, there wasn’t some hidden soccer point.  He literally just wanted to talk about WWII.)

A couple of years ago, we were all playing soccer together at the playground:  Raines, Pax, Mike and I.  “Raines!” I said.  “You’ve gotta pretend that the ball is your ball.  You own it.  It’s YOURS.  So keep it away from me.”  We started playing.  Pax, three or four at the time, stood back, watching his brother critically.  “NO WAINES!” he shouted.  “IT YOUR BALL WIKE DIS!!” and came trucking on into our game like some bowling ball, knocking the pins down and stealing the soccer ball away.  “IT MY BALL” he cried, then kicked it as hard as he could into the bushes.   Satisfied, he turned around.  “Wike DAT, Waines” he repeated.

Dear god.

So yeah – Pax is playing this year.  This is actually our third try with Pax in soccer.  Shortly after the “IT YOUR BALL WIKE DIS” incident, we did put him into tiny tot soccer program.  He spent the majority of each game throwing a screaming fit because someone had taken the ball away.  After I carried him – sobbing – off the field several times, he eventually learned to tantrum while crawling dramatically towards the sidelines but really, this was only a marginal improvement.  So soccer ended early for Pax that year.

The next year he went back….only to start sobbing every time he caught sight of me. (And yes, you guys, I was SMILING at him).  He’d run off the field, grab my hand, and insist that I come on the field to literally hold his hand while he played.  He is exhausting.  I found myself spending the entirety of that season hiding behind other adults.  Between this nonsense and Raines’ ambivalence, I don’t know if we even went to the last game.  Soccer momming isn’t top of my list on a good day, and man.  This did NOT seem like our sport.

But Pax has been playing soccer at recess and has been begging us to put him into a league.  At this point, we’ve now taken a couple of years off so maybe he has emotionally matured….??  Anyway, his first practice was last night.  Mike took him (just in case), and all seemed to go well.  He didn’t cry, or tantrum, and he played hard.  I showed up with about 15 minutes left and….yeah.  It was good.  Mike and I both breathed a sigh of relief.  On our walk home, however, Pax totally melted down.  “These kids were mean to me, and I used my hands once, and then there was that one BIG kick where I totally missed the ball and I’m THE WORST and I NEVER WANT TO PLAY SOCCER AGAIN!!”

Of course, two minutes later, all is forgotten as he and his brother run around passing the soccer ball back and forth.

This kid, you guys.  Sometimes I feel like I know exactly how to parent him (the nut doesn’t fall far etc etc) and sometimes I feel like I’m wildly out of my league.  Does anyone else have a Pax?  Are there any helpful books or bits of advice?

I only recently realized that Glennon Doyle (of Momastery) is now married to Abby freaking Wambach, a total hero of women’s soccer.  Coincidentally, Glennon just posted this sage bit of advice about how Abby watches their kids play soccer on her FB page.  “Our daughter has a coach. She needs a mom.

I love this.  I find that all too often, if I’m really struggling with the kids, sometimes the best thing to do is to step back, shut my mouth, and just love the heck out of them.  There’s something that feels especially supportive about giving them the space (and time) to figure it out on their own.  (But I’ll still take book recommendations, haha.)

Possibly, a new team obsession.  At a recent team meeting, Cam brought UGG’s Lena Fluff Flat to our attention (also on Amazon).  We think…..we think we love it?  It will either read quirky ballerina or ladylike hobbit, too soon to tell.  We’ll post pics to the TME IG  (@themomedit) soon. (UPDATE:  Cam threw a quick pic on her IG stories, @camilledipaola if it hasn’t yet expired…. )

Exactly like your lips, but better.  During the Sephora sale, I ordered Bite Beauty’s lip gloss in Dirty Chai after reading so many glowing reviews.  I’m not a gloss girl (at ALL), but I’m happy to report that this little product is everything I hoped it would be.  It feels good on, and the color is, in fact, exactly the same color as my lips….just slightly enhanced.

My absolute favorite sweater is back.  I bought this striped cashmere La Ligne sweater a few years ago, and it’s been one of my go-tos ever since.  So much so that I also bought it in maroon (which has since sold out).  This sweater – in any color – is worth every penny.  You can see the maroon one on me here, or the older white one here (in Iceland), or here with white denim.  WARNING:  There will be an article featuring this sweater next week.  And based on a few rave reviews from readers…you guys seem to like it as much as I do, soooo….don’t wait.

A new home for Homer.  Our much-beloved illustrated copy of The Odyssey never made it back from our trip to Greece this summer.  Even worse, it’s been showing ‘Temporarily out of stock’ on Amazon for months.  But it turns out that this book is available as part of a two-book set (both The Odyssey and The Iliad by Gillian Cross) and the set is on sale for $25!  The artwork is stunning, and the text is accessible, but without completely losing the vibe.  Would make a great gift, too.

I’m on an eggplant kick.  Two weekends ago I made Eggplant With Cashew Butter and Pickled Peppers.  It was delicious, and, even better, the sauce and peppers can be used on basically any roasted vegetable.  This weekend I want to try Roasted Eggplant with Crispy Kale and Yogurt.  We had something similar on the boat in Turkey…and it was AMAZING.

Still we fight.  I’ve been so impressed with Together Rising’s continued march forward on the issue of family separation.  They have funded the staff and infrastructure necessary to actually find the parents who have already been deported.  There’s still tons of children that need to be reunited with their parents, but this organization feels like hope.  You can read their recent update, here.

Smile, goats like it.  A recent study thinks that maybe goats can distinguish between happy and angry faces…and that they might actually like happy faces better.  This random tidbit was picked up by several news outlets, but I like NPR’s coverage the best.

This mom wins. Double stroller, Ergo, Birkenstocks and….a hover board.  I mean WOW.

Happy weekend, everyone…hope you are all staying safe and dry.  (Cams, you too.)




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Shana founded The Mom Edit in 2008. She lives with the love of her life (his name's Mike) and their two crazy boys in downtown Philadelphia. She loves a good styling challenge (her engineering side shows eventually), appreciates kindness, and usually picks scotch over wine, sneakers over stilettos, and shorts known as denim-underwear, always.

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  1. Your story about Pax both made me smile and broke my heart! I work in an elementary school and have made Growth Mindset a huge focus with my students, as well as with my emotionally-intense 6 year old daughter. It sounds like some coaching around this idea might be helpful to Pax. There’s tons of info online and out Carol Dweck’s Ted Talks. Basically, it’s the idea that mistakes are expected and that’s how we learn. Without those mistakes or obstacles, we can’t grow or become better at something, so we learn to embrace the challenge. I’ve seen aspects of it creep into my own life, like thinking “wow, my body was working really hard today” instead of feeling frustrated when I have a less-than-awesome workout. Parenting and teaching these intense and strong little personalities can be so challenging! Good luck!

  2. Is Pax maybe the HSP temperament (highly sensitive person)? It’s a personality type that occurs in about 15-20% of the population. There’s a good website and an associated book by the researchers who identified this category. It’s not a disorder; it’s just like identifying someone is more extroverted vs introverted. I have one child who is HSP and they can be awesome but intense. Theres a mini quiz on the website to give you an idea if you have a highly sensitive child but a couple of your descriptions of Pax sound familiar.

  3. The Enneagram has been very helpful to our family. It’s a personality system (I know, sooo exciting, but hang on) that’s about self-awareness and empathy. I teach it and use it with my college students, my staff, my own self, and my kids. It’s Very Good. And there are a ton of books out there. In particular, for an intro, I like to suggest The Enneagram of Parenting by Elizabeth Wagele. It’s quick, practical, helpful, and a fun read. And, particularly if we’re working from a place of our own inner calm (ha), it’s one of the best tools I’ve got.

  4. Your Pax sounds like my son, but mine is only 3.5 and I have no advice. He’s sensitive, observant, so smart, very attached to us, can see how it should be done and hesitates to keep trying if he might not get it right. (Although i don’t think the pressure comes from us?) Love your idea of stepping back which I need to be more aware of. Please keep sharing your wisdom! I love reading TME!

  5. No advice, no book recommendations, just sending you love. I’m so glad that Pax has you cheering him on (even if it’s silently) on the field and in his life. These creative, sensitive, live-life-out-of-the-box kids need strong Moms to support them. Then they will fly…

  6. Love these post with tidbits of info! As far as Pax goes… I have the girl version and I adore her!!!! Same age too I believe. How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, and Listen so They’ll Talk (the book) has been so great in (helping me 😉 helping her embrace her emotions while handling them appropriately. The Whole Brain Child (book) is great too.
    And in those super intense moments I just remember, what an awesome friend, wife, mother she will be. Fierce, loyal, thoughtful, innovative and full of such vibrant color! Childhood is hard for such individuals sometimes.

  7. I don’t have a Pax, but I have a Raines. He picks up every sport so quickly, but just about competition. (Though, put him on the slopes and he’ll ski/board his face off.) He has no desire to fight other kids for a ball. Yet, he will talk your ear off about whatever random subject he’s into…so we’re trying swimming because he can go as fast or as slow as he wants to and just have fun. At least for now at age 10. LOL

    Good luck to Pax.

  8. My youngest is very similar to Pax, and he just brought home Growth Mindset paperwork from his second grade class. I was going over it with him, and he proceeded to argue EVERY SINGLE point with me. “Mistakes help me learn!” NO. “I can do hard things!” NO. “I won’t give up until I’m proud!” NO NO NO. ?‍♀️ ?‍♀️?‍♀️ I’ll keep working on it. I swear, I am clueless about what to do with this kid!! He is so completely different than his older sister. I’m eagerly watching this comment section for suggestions.

  9. Man, momming is hard sometimes. And in my experience, soccer momming (in Philadelphia, at least) is really hard. The sideline pressure gets intense. Hopefully, Pax has a cool team and you don’t have to deal with that added strain. Good luck to him! And you! My 14 year old has decided to give up soccer this year and it’s bittersweet for me. I loved watching him play, but hated being on the sidelines. Also, I’m *slightly* obsessed with Glennon Doyle and absolutely loved that IG post. So so perfect!

  10. I can so relate to your soccer-Mom experiences, even down to the unrelated trivia (my kids were obsessed with Harry Potter, Nazis and animals)! Our worst day was when my daughter stood on the soccer field refusing to play, arms crossed and glaring at me. I second the recommendation of Child Mind. It’s really good. I also loved Raising Your Spirited Child. Child Mind is more research-based, while RUSC helped me with overall perspective. I should add the caveat- neither of my children turned into sports stars. They’re now teens and like debate, coding, art and creative writing:)

  11. Two of my favorite books have been ‘the child whisperer’ and ‘mindset the phycology of success’ – the mindset one was an incredible read and you may like it if you’re finding Pax believes that he’s inherently ‘bad’ or ”stupid” ♥️

  12. Sounds like sweet Pax might be a highly sensitive person (HSP). I’m a HSP (and also a psychologist) raising a girl Pax. I recommend The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron. And follow your gut instinct that says to just love the heck out of your kids when they’re struggling. Also a second vote for How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk- great for any parent, regardless of child personality.

  13. I have a Pax… Well three of them actually. Although two of them might be due to age (4 and 2). My oldest is 6. All of my kids seem HSP although I haven’t ever tested them so I don’t know for sure. I’m fairly sure my oldest is. And I might be to so there’s that old apple from the tree adage. It took me a while (and soooo many breakdowns) to figure out what worked for her and for me. I do a lot of positive talk throughout the day, trying to reinforce praising effort instead of outcome. I also heard a few things that help me manage my stress from dealing with breakdowns because at my worst point I screamed back in her face which hurt both of us. I heard from somewhere that I can’t remember now that kids are holding themselves together until they see their mom (their comfort zone) and then they stop holding and release which can come out as a breakdown. I know this is true because when I’m sick I still go through my daily routine without expressing that I’m sick but if I talk to my mom I revert to a blubbering child (“mooooommmm I’m sick” *sobbing*). Secondly, many adults can’t even handle the magnitude of our emotions so how can we expect kids to. When my kids break I hold them until they have settled. I don’t talk or encourage tantrums I simply hold them. I don’t know for sure but my gut feeling is that sometimes we all just need to be held. Really love your posts! Wishing you all the luck with soccer season!

  14. My version of Pax did well with “Your Fantastic Elastic Brain” for growth mindset, and “You’ve Got Dragons” gave us code words for dealing with his performance anxiety in public. I would just whisper “dragons?” and then I knew he was anxious, which can show up in lots of surprising behaviors that don’t look like performance anxiety from the outside. Mine is very sensitive, with a side of mild sensory processing challenges which can make the world of organized sports very difficult. We’re back to playing baseball this fall because it’s less competitive than spring. I’m proud of his determination, but it is brutal for me to watch.

  15. This is my youngest (8) exactly, except hockey instead of soccer. Right down to the older brother. After taking lessons on and off for years, during which he mostly skated away from the puck or got super annoyed that people took the puck away from him, I finally let him do travel hockey this fall. I have no advice, we are only 2 weeks in and real games don’t start for a few more months. So far he’s really excited about it and is listening to the coaches and doing what they tell him (which, I think, is a total sign of maturity for him). I’ve got my fingers crossed for both Pax and my son!

  16. “He spent the majority of each game throwing a screaming fit because someone had taken the ball away.”
    Oh my gosh isn’t that parenting in a nutshell? I laughed so hard at this. I can totally relate. Thanks for keeping it real.

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