The family went out for dinner Friday night in more or less a celebration of hubby getting a new job. He had been looking for a while, and is so looking forward to his new position. This led to a pleasant dining excursion... until Abi dropped the bomb.
"Mommy, my friend at school was talking at school about doing cheer. It's something they do at basketball games and soccer games, and it looks like fun. They are doing something at (a local high school), and I want to go!"
"Abi. Are you telling me you want to be a cheer leader?" I asked.
I stopped myself just short of bursting into tears and screaming. This dinner was, after all, to be a happy occasion.
I asked her if she wouldn't prefer to be the one ON the basketball court playing basketball, or ON the soccer field playing soccer. Do you know what she told me?!?! She said, "no, because only boys do those things." I swear, she's trying to kill me.
I told her that there were many athletic things that she could do, and if she needed me to show her women playing basketball or soccer or softball or volleyball or other sports, then I would make sure she sees that. She was excited about the prospect... but was sure to point out the cheer leading clinic registration form she brought home from school.
Now, in my heart, I know that my daughter has the upbeat spirit of a cheer leader, and I know what I really should be doing is allowing her every opportunity to at least try the healthy things that interest her. But I ask you this... is cheer leading healthy?
I'm thinking kind of no. That's not to say it isn't a strenuous athletic activity that requires a strong bit of talent and fitness. I'm not talking physical health here. I'm talking about the psychology of being a cheer leader. Yes, I'm calling on the stereotypes, but I went through high school. I knew the cheerleaders were not friends for girls like me. I was the flannel shirt wearing, flat hair donning semi-grunge orchestra nerd girl who, mostly ineptly, threw elbows around playing street basketball with the boys. I mean, didn't I at least need a manicure just to talk to a cheer leader? Isn't there an undertone of being 'popular' as a cheer leader? I don't want that pressure on my kid.
Alright, okay, you can say that I'm a grown up now and I should be above basic things like high school-ish stereotypes, but the truth of it is, I AM NOT!!! Now my daughter wants to be a cheer leader!... and I want her to be anything she wants to be! Just... not a cheer leader.
Sometimes parenting can be a bummer... and I'm only at the beginning. :/