soccer mom


noun

a typical American suburban woman with school-age children.

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Origin of soccer mom

An Americanism dating back to 1970–75; so called from her practice of driving her children to soccer games

Words nearby soccer mom

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What does soccer mom mean?

“Jump in, kids, and don’t forget your juice boxes!”

If you’ve ever said that, you might be a soccer mom, popularly imagined as a white middle-class mother in a minivan dropping her children off at various suburban after-school activities.

Where does soccer mom come from?

The term soccer mom comes from the two most important elements of this social caricature: She’s a mom, and she carts her children around to time-consuming after-school activities, like soccer practice.

The soccer mom made a soft debut in the 1970–80s, but it was the 1996 U.S. presidential election that brought her into primetime. Many members of the Republican party, most notably Republican candidate Bob Dole and Republican strategists Ed Gillespie and Alex Castellanos, used the term to take shots at the incumbent Democrat, President Bill Clinton. Republicans said that Clinton was unfairly targeting the soccer moms of the U.S.—the working, swing-voting, middle-class moms with SUVs said to be “overburdened” by economic and personal stressors. Clinton promised tax breaks for college spending and other policies meant to appeal to the soccer mom.

Well, it worked, apparently. The Democrats were able to win over the soccer moms in the election, sending Bill Clinton to a second term. Political scientists, though, don’t conceptualize soccer moms as their own voting bloc as they do suburban women more generally. NASCAR dads are sometimes used as a rural, working-class, male counterpart to the soccer mom.

How is soccer mom used in real life?

The contemporary soccer mom hasn’t changed much since 1996. She’s still imaged as white, suburban, and overburdened in her middle-class existence. Though a hallmark of the 1996 soccer mom was her ability to work a job or two, still get the kids to practice, and get dinner on the table, contemporary soccer moms are often thought of as stay-at-home.

The soccer mom is also attractive in the popular imagination. Self-help articles about this type of woman tend to lust over her fashion, body, and attitude more than her minivan’s gas mileage.

Users of the term are split in their tone when using soccer mom. Some women admire that a soccer mom loves her family so much that she’ll trudge across town with orange slices and Capri Suns every day after school while still making time to look great and get dinner on the table.

Others see the soccer mom stereotype as unpleasant, though. They see the women who adhere to the type as unfashionable, high-maintenance, or narrow-minded, the kind of woman who would ask to speak to the manager.

More examples of soccer mom:

“When a soccer mom finds herself in need of funds, she robs a bank… in her adorable red minivan, on the series premiere of PINK COLLAR CRIMES, a new true-crime series inspired by a growing crime wave in the country – felonious females – … on the CBS Television Network.”
—TV Scoop, BroadwayWorld, July, 2018

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

Example sentences from the Web for soccer mom

British Dictionary definitions for soccer mom

soccer mom

noun

US a woman who devotes much of her spare time to her children's activities, typically driving them to and from sports events in which they are involved
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012