When you first find out you are going to become a parent, you are told a landslide of unsolicited advice on how to be a good one and what ‘being a parent’ means. Then, you actually become a parent and 90% of what people told you is total crap! You want to slowly go insane? Become a parent! It can be the worst thing in the world when you are going through it, because you are exhausted all the time. But, at the same time, it is the most amazing thing you can ever go through in your life. As a new parent, you sometimes get nervous and actually listen to the advice people give you, and one of the worst pieces of advice I ever received was, “Once you become a parent, it is no longer about you.”

Being a parent is a huge responsibility. Truth be told, as parents, all we are really hoping for is that we do not completely screw up our kids. Parents do the best they can with what they have, and most of time, we are just winging it. Yes, once you become a parent, you become less self-involved because you have this person who cannot take care of themself. However, that does not mean you no longer are a person. You are someone who has a kid or kids, but you are also someone, period, and that someone needs to take care of themself, too. Just because you have a child does not mean your dreams, goals, or social circles cease to exist.

So, how does this apply to your cheerleader? We all know cheerleading is a big commitment. Of course, you want to go to every game, every competition, and be at your cheerleader’s practices. However, for most of us, that it is not ideal or even something we can attempt to do. Parents are busy–things happen and we cannot always be there for our kids! But, beyond that, we need to take care of ourselves, too. So, how do we balance cheerleading, our family, and our social life? I am going to blow your mind right now: super parents out there, you cannot do it all. No one can, and that is okay! Your child is not going to hate you for missing one or two games. Believe me, your kids care less if you did not pick them up from practice, and they had to carpool with friends home just once or twice a week.

If your kids have a game every Friday this month, let them know you cannot make it to all of them. Decide which games you might need them to carpool to, or let them know you’re going to miss the away games. If you have a kid like mine, they probably will say something like, “MOM! Don’t come to any games, you’re so embarrassing!” Figure out which games are must-go-to games. You cannot miss Homecoming or the big rivalry game, but that one game a month that is just another run-of-the-mill game, let your kid know up front you cannot make it. You need to stay home, and get some work done so you can relax over the weekend. Your kid will understand, and when you do make it to games, it will make them special.

As a parent, we feel like we have to be there for everything our kids do–and we honestly want to be! But, that is just too unrealistic. It isn’t about the amount of time we spend with our kids; it is about the quality of time we spend together. If you are not talking care of yourself, you are not going to be able to take care of anyone else. It is not selfish or being a bad parent when you miss one game. Don’t feel like you need to be super parent all the time–it is okay to take a break. A break only makes you happier, more energized and a better parent for your family. So, give yourself a break!

What are your tips for cheer parents to balance cheerleading with their family and social life? Let us know in the comments!