Sunday, February 6, 2011

Nightmares can come true.

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. :/


  1. I heard about something similar on a recent OPP on the radio. I can see this being me, and I'm right with you on the nightmare of it all. How bizarre would it be for my daughter to become one of the people I hated the most in high school??? On the bright side, perhaps it will give you an insight into the whole cheer leading life that you never appreciated before? That's as close as I can get to a bright side. :-)

  2. I like what Niffer said. Also, maybe she won't like it once she gets into it? My view of cheerleading isn't as bad because a good friend got into it (not at my high school, since I didn't associate with those cheerleaders for the same reason you didn't) but it didn't seem to affect who she was. Today she is a vet and still the same funny & sweet girl I always knew. I don't know. I like it that you are offering myriad options though.

  3. Oh my. You know, this was my greatest fear. That I would have a girl, and she would be the girliest girl ever. It would be because I was a Tom Boy and drove my mom (who already had three sons) crazy being that way. Good luck, Melissa! I'm sure Abi will be amazing at whatever she does. Just don't let her get all full of herself. That was my experience with cheerleaders in school.

  4. I totally get it. I feel the same way-- I go back and forth between worrying my daughter will be as socially awkward as her geeky parents vs. worrying that she will be way popular and do things like cheerleading. Ack- what if boys actually *like* her and think she's pretty-- gasp! That sounds like trouble. What if they don't! My brain ping-pongs back and forth and then I blow a fuse.

    Then I decide I'll try not to worry about it for another year. No idea how to handle either prospect but just wanted to let you know we're all in the same boat. I'm actually praying she's the funny girl somewhere in between. Good luck. Dork parents unite! ;)

  5. Melissa, I fight with this in my mind on a daily basis and my baby girl is 14 months. I can't even relate to the "bringing home a cheerleader form" yet. I buy books, I read books, I bookmark sally ride space camp. Most people would think I've lost my mind. However, I keep coming back to one idea...she's gonna be who's she's gonna be. And I'm going to try damn hard to support her whomever she chooses to be. Even if it means biting my tongue and silently weeping to myself under the covers. And then back to reality...she bites her much larger brother after he's pulled the umpteenth toy out of her hand, causing him to burst into tears. I think she going to be OK. And so will your daughter. After all, look at how cool and smart her momma is?! But I'm still not buying pink, so there!

  6. Compromise... sign her up for twirling classes. They still wear cute uniforms and entertain at games but are more considered band geeks than popular!! :) Samantha loves cheerleading as well but she is not athletic enough to do all of the gymnastics that are now required.