The longer you are in the world of All Star cheerleading, you realize there are different types of All Star parents. There are the parents that stay at the gym during every minute of the 3-5 days of practice (moving forward this parent will be referred to as the “super-parent”), the somewhat involved parent that is at practice sometimes (moving forward this parent will be referred to as the “just-enough parent”), and then you have the parent that you barely see (moving forward this parent will be referred to as the “drop-off parent”). Where do you think you would fall in these categories? Your answer might or might not change between year 1-2 of being involved in All Star cheerleading, but one thing that’s for certain is that there are pros and cons of being any of these types of parents. In the end, it’s up to you to decide, which parent you want to be.
Depending on how your child’s gym is set up, most parents have the opportunity to sit down for the 2-3 hours of practice and see their child progress from start to finish of the cheer season. At the very beginning of your All Star parenthood, most parents don’t mind passing the time by watching their child practice, talking to other parents, or reading a book. At some point though, that “restless” feeling of wanting to spend your time elsewhere might start to kick in. The laundry that needs to be done, the dinner you need to start cooking, the homework your other children have to complete and the nap you would love to take (although not many of us are that lucky); It all seems to be calling your name. You might say to yourself, “just for today, I’ll drop off your child’s name here, and run some errands”, but as the weeks go by, the taste of productivity continues to pull you in. One day of drop-off, turns into two days. Then you start to question why you spent so many hours at the gym at all. Don’t fret! You’re not the only parent that feels this way. Unfortunately, that same feeling of relief of “getting things done” during your child’s practice, also comes with a void when your child’s coach comes to you at the end of practice and says, “You should have seen your child’s name here doing her back-handspring. Your child’s name here was awesome!” Of course the day you decide to drop-off, you miss out on such a great accomplishment. No need to worry! Your child will not only be doing her back-handspring that day, but also for the rest of the season.
As an All Star parent, you deserve time away from the gym because sitting at a gym for at least 6 hrs a week can start to feel like another job. Everyone doesn’t have to be a “super-parent”. The key thing to understand is everything in life deserves balance. In essence, being the “just-enough parent” might be a great option, as long as you ensure that the lack of presence at the gym doesn’t interfere with the communication between you, the coaches and other parents. Yes, having a relationship with the other parents is just as important as having a relationship with the coaches. The other parents will be the go-to people when you’re away at a competition, since the coaches will be extremely busy. Don’t forget that when it’s time to book your hotel for the next competition, rooming with other families cut down on the travel cost. In an emergency, when you’re not able to attend a competition, you want to be able to trust the people that you’re sending your child with. Forming a relationship with other parents is key and these bonds are usually formed during practice.
A great way to have a balance is to attend at least one of the practices during the week or attend a portion of each practice. If you’re not a person that enjoys idle time, the time between the beginning and end of practice can be easily enjoyed by playing board games (Scrabble, Scattegories, Pictionary, etc.). Group games are great ice-breakers when meeting new parents. Also, you can bring the book you’ve been meaning to finish reading but never got a chance to. You can also use the time to work out. Why should your child be the only active person in your family? I’ve gone so far as joining the parent team. I get to work out and see my child practice at the same time. Even though my daughter might not admit it, she loves seeing her mommy do handstands and round-offs.
Each parent is different and by no means is there only one category of All Star parenthood that every parent should live by because you have to do what works for your family. Other than financially, time is one of the biggest investments, but not only by the child but also by the parent(s). So, remember, too much or too little of anything isn’t always a good thing.