There are a lot of untrue stereotypes out there concerning cheer moms, so it’s time someone got to the bottom of things! Here my thoughts behind the three most popular cheer mom cliches. 1. You live vicariously though your cheerleader. [Source: Giphy] A horrible stereotype about cheer moms is that they are trying to relive the “glory days’ through their child. A lot of moms who cheered in the past push their children to join cheer because it was something they liked doing when they were growing up. I got my child into soccer because that was something I did. However, it is another thing to force your kid to play or stay in a sport when they hate it. Playing sports was one of the best times of my life; by being part of a team, I won championships and made lifelong friendships. I am not going to lie: every now and then, I get nostalgic about my time playing sports when I see my child playing. Playing a sport was a major part of my life, and I love that that is something I can share with my child now. BUT, nostalgia is one thing‚ forcing your child to participate because you miss cheering is another. When going to competitions, there are those parents out there who act like they are part of the team, or push their kid a little harder than what they are capable of. I take the parenting style of “if you want to play, play’: have fun with it, and if it stops being fun, then we should talk about it and see what you want to do from there. However, on the other side of the coin, my husband played semi-pro sports, and knows what it takes to compete at certain levels, as well as what it takes to get to that level. If your child shows potential and wants to cheer at a higher level, like trying out for a college, for a professional cheer team, or even make the Olympic team (cheer in the Olympics‚ can you even believe it?! FINALLY!) then you should be supportive of their ambitions. Cheering at that level does require a lot of hard work, and sometimes, it requires additional coaching and added conditioning time in the gym. But, there is a difference between doing this for yourself, and doing this for your kid. For the most part, parents are just trying their best to be there for their kids, having a good time on the sidelines watching their child have fun, and doing what they want to do. However, there are parents out there, like my husband, who devote that time and effort into training their kid to get to that higher level‚ which there is nothing wrong with, unless the parents are forcing their child to do it! Are there those types of parents out there? HECK YES! So, listen to your child and gauge how they feel. Bottom line, the vast majority of parents out there are just going along with their child’s passion and trying to make it to every cheer event. 2. You are rich. [Source: Giphy.com] Cheerleading can be expensive, but so are a lot of other sports! Really, any traveling team can get expensive. That does not mean you are rich. There are tons of fundraiser and scholarship options out there for cheer teams to help cut down on costs. Like many other parents, you make it work. Maybe you work an extra shift or take up a part time job during the “off-season’ to help pay for next season’s travel expenses. I know personally we don’t spend money of frivolous things, like new televisions or buying a brand new car because our money goes towards our kids. Also, not all cheerleaders are on competitive traveling teams. Sideline cheerleaders usually don’t take part in competitions, which is where most of the cost of cheer goes to. Now that cheerleading is classified as a sport in most schools, there is also a budget available that may have not been available before! Uniform cost is usually out-of-pocket, but depending on the type of team your cheerleader is on, the cost of cheering can vary. Again, the price tag is based on your child’s level of commitment and skill. If your child just wants to cheer and have fun, then devoting your time and money on an All Star competitive team is not worth the additional cost. However, if your child does show promise and they want to compete, there are ways to afford it. I have said this in other blogs, and will say it again, money should never hold you back from what you want to do! You may have to work harder and “shop around’ more to find a gym that offers scholarships, but if you look for it, you can find it! 3. Your life is like how “cool moms’ are portrayed in the movies. [Source: Giphy] If I were to close my eyes and think of a stereotypical cheer mom, I see a tall, skinny, blonde woman who is always put together, has that “Becky with the perfect hair’ hairstyle, does palates for three hours a day, and is always drinking green drinks. For some random reason, she has a southern accent, and of course, has that “it girl’ quality about her. If you have seen any cheer movie, this is the cheer mom. I do not know why cheer moms always have to be southern? Cheerleading is really big in Texas, but cheerleading is also really big in a lot of states‚ with or without the southern accent. Movies take that once-I-was-popular cheer mom character, and make her to be this perfect-looking villain most of the time. Women are already hard on themselves, and then you have this stereotypical “mean girl’ who transitioned into being the “mean mom’ who is now a cheer team bully. So, first off, let’s be real: some moms might be that tall, skinny, blonde woman with the perfect outfit, but other cheer moms might be curvy with brown hair, or like me‚ short with crazy red hair that does whatever it feels like. Cheer moms come in all different shapes and sizes, just like everyone else. Are there mom cliques? Sometimes. For the most part, it doesn’t matter your shape, ethnicity or personality. Cheer teams stick together for a long time, so cheer moms can become great friends or even family! Movies have these unrealistic stereotypes that women are so mean to each other, and have to be these stereotypical “perfect-looking’ people. I can tell you when waking up for a competition at 4 AM to travel three hours away to spend an entire day at a tournament, you are lucky to even run a brush through your hair. Because, ultimately, these events are not about you; they are about your kids and you supporting your kids. So, maybe we should not be so hard on ourselves, and the other moms. Reach out to the person who seems like the “perfect mean girl mom’, because might not be so mean, after all! Stereotypes suck, no matter what age you are. There are a lot of cheerleading stereotypes out there, and sadly, some affect cheer moms. Being a mom is hard enough, and people always have unsolicited advice on how you should be a parent. As parents and women, we need to give ourselves a break, and remember that we are just doing are best to raise our kids to be successful in this uncertain world! So, maybe just for today, try not to hold yourself to such high standards‚ you’ve got this! What are other stereotypes that you’ve been subjected to as a cheer mom? How have you overcome bias? Share your stories in the comments!