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Kids are Expensive: Or, What I Learned (Quickly) When I Signed My Daughter Up for Softball

Being a so-called “soccer mom” already, I figured with soccer season coming to a close, it might be time to look into an additional activity for my athletic tomboy. She tried all of the typical “girly” things, such as ballet, gymnastics, and tap, and decided rather early in life that none of this was for her. In her free time, you can find my little angel mixing it up on the soccer field (typically with the boys), playing basketball at the local park (while her sister wheels around dolls in a stroller), and just generally finding ways to get bruises, bumps and scraped knees.

So, after going over a few options that were currently in season at our local park last summer, we ultimately decided that softball was the way to go. Of course, when you have kids, everything turns into a squabble about something, and the rub with softball was that she’d have to play with girls. Upon settling her down after “ruining her life” once again, it was off to go shopping for some gear for her first softball season.

After a trip to the local sporting goods store, we quickly found that none of the gloves or bats would work because they were far too girly. This is a problem I can understand, because I myself hate pink and girly shades of purple as well, and it seemed that all of the softball gloves were either too big (for men), or too girly. The bats had the same issue. Girls bats had things like script font with pink or purple writing, glitter, flowers, etc. while the boys bats were what she really wanted. We ultimately decided to look at the boys bats, which the sales associate told us was a bad idea due to the weight difference (girls bats are lighter at the same lengths), and their being constructed for harder and lighter baseballs rather than heavy softballs. We thanked him and quickly headed back to the home to do some rushed online shopping before dinner.

An online search was much more fruitful and we found options that were a bit more gender neutral. That said, more options led us to additional decisions, as we quickly found that the prices varied a great deal depending on factors that we didn’t quite understand. You can see what I mean with a quick browse of the softball gloves from HomerunMonkey, just one of the many sites that we did our browsing on. We ultimately went for a glove that she picked based on looks after I narrowed it down to a price range that was respectable ($300+ for a glove? no thanks!). After selecting the one she wanted, we did a quick search for bats (after trying out different lengths and weights at the store to see what felt comfortable) and we selected one that was just what she wanted, and better yet, didn’t feature even a modicum of pink, purple, or (gasp) glitter. All-in-all, I’d have to say that shopping online was a much more pleasurable experience than at the local sporting goods store, especially for my little angel that couldn’t stomach the idea of her equipment being too girly, even though she was going to be playing with other girls. Makes sense.

After finding (and ordering) a bat and glove online, we realized that she would need cleats, and perhaps a bag to keep everything in, so we decide that after her sports physical, we have a bit more shopping to do. Since we’re now days away from the start of the season, we went back to the trusty sporting goods store where we found the same reliable associate to help us. A pair of (non-girly) wristbands, batting gloves, cleats, new socks, a hair band, a couple of softballs, and a new bat bag later, we’re now nearly $500 poorer (including the glove and bat we purchased online), and our little tomboy is content, although still rather upset that she has to use this newfound equipment to “play against girls.”

Parenting is a thankless job.