The World Cup season is upon us again and my husband knows better than to stop me from hogging the telly or disturb me when I’m watching a game. I love football and have been following the World Cup since I was a teenager. Now that I’m a full-time mummy with an almost 20-month-old little girl, following a game can be somewhat tricky, especially at certain times. However, here are some ways that have helped me survive the season so far.
A Supportive Hubby
“I don’t follow football, I only watch when England is playing” is what my husband told me when we first met. I was shocked but more so disappointed when I heard that as I thought all Englishmen love football. However, over the years, I have found that his disinterest in the game has worked more in my favour especially during seasons like this. When he’s home and I’m glued to a game on telly, he will take care and spend time with our daughter (if she’s not napping), wash up the dishes or any other chore that needs to be done during that time. His support has not only let me enjoy a game (and a few more) but has also allowed me some ‘me’ time.
Watch a Game During Nap Times
Being based in the UK, with the way the times of the games are scheduled, I get to enjoy at least one game during the day in peace while my daughter takes her afternoon naps, which is usually from 1-3pm. This is a sacred time where I can follow a game without any interruption of “mama, mama”, cries or whines.
However, due to the difference in time zones, I’m aware that some mummies are not able to watch some of the games, especially those that are in the wee hours of the mornings. This is where game replays or highlights can help you catch up with what you have missed. If there is a game that you really want to watch, try catching 40-winks when your little one naps or make sure you have a bottle of Nescafe waiting for you in your kitchen.
When a game is on while my daughter is awake, I take this opportunity to try get her to watch it with me, introduce her to football and ‘indoctrinate’ her to love the game. The results have been:
- Her shouting, “Goal, goal, goal” whenever she sees a game on telly or saying “Come on!”
- Her trying to kick her mini football which she has never done so before, and
- She actually cried when I turned off the telly in the middle of a game because it was her dinner time.
I believe I am winning!
Make the Most of Half-Time
It may only be 15 minutes but lots can be done in this short space of time and it helps get the little things that need to be done out of the way. So, this is where I take the time to either spend some quality time with my daughter (if she’s up and about) or speed through simple chores like washing up the dishes, preparing my daughter’s dinner or wiping down the kitchen counter.
Another Mummy Friend to Discuss Games
When you have a friend you can enjoy the game with, it always makes things more exciting. More so when that friend is a mummy herself (even if she’s not in the same country). Not only does she reassure me that I’m not the only football crazy mummy around, she also understands when I say “I have to change her nappy” half way through a game, and will keep me updated on what I have missed via WhatsApp or FB Messenger.
Internet and Live Games Online
Let’s face it, despite it being the World Cup season, you still have a life outside of it and there will be times where you will have to miss a game. Thanks to technology, I can check for the live results on my phone while I’m outside or follow a game with the live games online while hanging up the laundry or doing the cooking by listening to the commentators and going back to watch the goals later.
It hasn’t been easy finding a balance between enjoying the World Cup and being a mummy but thanks to these coping methods and support, I have managed to catch 28 out of the 47 group matches that have been played without feeling like I have abandoned my daughter. So, on to the round 16 of the knockout stage, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. World Cup, I am still with you!
By Joanne Beer
A journalist by training, Joanne has worked in media, advertising, retail and charity organisations. Currently based in the UK, she’s being kept on her toes daily by her curious 1½-year-old who manages to get into every nook and corner.