I’m Ilene, creator of The Fierce Diva Guide To Life. My blog is a place where I share my passions, rant about my insecurities, and figure out life, one post at a time. I am a yoga teacher, freelance writer, mother of 3, lover of eyeliner, incense, and skullcaps, and a cheer mom, at least for now…
“You’ll have practices four nights a week. Sometimes more.”
“Yes, Mom, I understand.”
“They start in July. It’s going to change what you’re used to in the summer.”
“We’ll have to leave the pool by four to get you there. Even if your best friend in the world walks in at four, you still have to leave.”
“I get it, Mom,” Miss F. snaps.
None of these warnings deter Miss F. from wanting to join cheer.
The Junior Pee Wee squad is a competitive squad, and they are serious about winning. In addition to the practices and Sunday games, there is choreography clinic, stunt clinic, and a mandatory gymnastics practice every Saturday.
Miss F. takes to cheer right away…except she does not take to leaving the rest of her life behind.
There is a daily fight to leave the town pool, which has been our home away from home for the past several summers. She resents having to leave the diving board contests, the butterfly catching, the Marco Polo games, and the lounge chair fortresses, as I had suspected she would. When Miss F. fights, she fights hard. Every day, there is a scene.
At least once daily, I say, “Maybe cheer wasn’t such a good idea.”
“No, Mommy, no! I love it!”
Yet, the struggles continue. There is a meltdown at the pool, or once we leave the pool, she seems to pick a fight about something. And now, with summer over, we’re still fighting, except it’s about homework and eating dinner, before leaving for practice.
I go back to the option of pulling her off the squad.
“You can’t pull me!” Miss F. protests. “They need me in the formations. They’ll have to re-do the competition routine if I quit!”
I haven’t pulled her yet, but I doubt I will let her cheer next year. I want what we all want for our children. I want my kids to find activities that they love, that teach sportsmanship and help build a healthy self-image. But not at the expense of our peace. The struggles that came with cheer have taught me three important lessons as a parent:
1) Know what’s sacred in your family, and honor it. Our lazy summer days at the pool are sacred. I will think carefully before allowing something to interfere with them again.
2) Theory and practice are two different animals! I tried to explain to Miss F. how cheer would impact her summer, but until she lived it, she had no way of understanding.
3) If something that is potentially good for my kids is not good for me, then it’s not good, period. Because in the end, the constant struggles over getting Miss F. to practice have not been good for any of us.
Have you been in a similar situation with your children and an activity in which they participate?
What was your solution?
What would you do differently next time?
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