I have friends that have no clue about what I do as a cheer mom.  They all have their lives toting their sons to football, traveling to Little League Baseball tournaments all over the state, and taking their daughters to volleyball and softball tournaments.  Many of them are “Soccer Moms” in the basically understood definition of the term.  I on the other hand am not;  I am a “Cheer Mom”.

What is a “Cheer Mom” exactly?  What is it they do?  hectic schedule

Let me explain.  There is a laundry-list of what I do as a “Cheer Mom”.  Don’t get me wrong; most moms do a lot for their kid.  If you have a kid in sports you do a bit more than just “mom”.  But the “Cheer Mom” is a unique breed.  One that has been given a negative connotation in society, but one I look to change.

A “Cheer Mom” is a “Beautician”.  Do you know how long it takes to do that hair those young ladies compete with?  To get that bump just so and to make sure it stays in for the entire two-minutes and thirty-seconds?  It doesn’t seem like a long time until you throw in the tumbling, dancing, and the stunting those girls are doing out there!  And you have to get that ponytail in high enough to keep that cheer bow perky and facing up!  We make sure there are no fly-aways around the face, make sure the pony stays “high and tight” and looks as good and perky when the music ends as it did when the music started.  We flat-iron, tease, spray, gel, curl-former, brush,beautician comb, twist and do whatever is expected for our athletes’ hair to be exactly what the coach envisioned when they stated the competition hair style at the beginning of the season.  My daughter’s hair was a “competition bump in the front with a straight high pony”.  Since she is 8 she is hardly proficient in the techniques of doing hair.  That meant mom gets up at 5:30 am for a 9 am meet time.  It took a good forty-five minutes to flat-iron my daughter’s hair (she has A LOT of hair), and then another thirty to fight with the competition bump!  By the third competition I am a pro at that hair style and helping other athletes with their hair.

A “Cheer Mom” is a “Cosmetologist”.  An all-star cheerleader competes with hair AND make-up done.  Make-up is flawless, doesn’t run or smudge with sweat, and sparkles in the lights of the mat at competition for the judges to see those amazing facials!  Most think that the make-up serves some other motive – it is actually there for the judges and the crowd so you can see the facials of the athletes as they are on the stage doing their thing!  It is much easier to see the “kissy-face” with bright red glittery lips than nude ones.  The “Cheer Mom” buys make-up for their athlete that they wouldn’t buy for themselves (or do but consider it a “splurge”).  My daughter has Sephora make-up for her eyes.  I don’t have that for mine – I have Maybelline.  The Sephora eye sparkles and stays without creasing – with eye “primer” of course.  I never purchased that for myself, but my 8 year old has it.  And I have mastered the “cat eye” effect with the eye liner.  Something I would have never done to myself.  Again, you get the instruction and then you make sure it happens for competition.

A “Cheer Mom” is a “Wardrobe Assistant”.  Who is responsible for making sure the uniform, competition bow, shoes and all other things that go along with it makes it to the competition location?  That’s right – the “Cheer Mom”.  We are the ones that make sure it fits just right, small alterations for the little athletes (because when you shell out $250 on a uniform you aren’t buying one for your growing athlete year after year!), and we can clean anything out of clothing.  Lip stick?  That is NOTHING for a “Cheer Mom”.  We can get anything out of a cheer uniform, and it will be as amazing next competition as it was the last one. We are fluent in the washing machine symbol pictures. We alter (when needed), tailor, paste, stitch, and make the uniform look as amazing on the mat as it does in the catalog.  We get all the “gadgets” to keep it in place so that our athletes are not pulling on the uniform after that amazing tumbling run they just landed!  We keep all the stones in place, the colors bright, and the sheen of the majestic material flawless so our “cheer princesses” sparkle and shine for everyone there.  We keep track of the competition luggage so that nothing is lost (which would be next to devastating!!).  That is what we do; and we do it well!

A “Cheer Mom” is a “Nutritionist”.  We are continually making sure our athletes are not filling up on garbage at competitions, not eating heavy foods or lots of dairy prior to hitting the mat.  We make sure that the intake of food is beneficial for our athletes the week of the competition, pushing the carbs and the protein so that when they hit the mat for the two-minutes and thirty-seconds they have all of the endurance, energy and strength to get through it without fail.  We are packing snack bags of sausage and cheese for during competition, sports drinks for moments of thirst, and fruit for some sweet nutrients and vitamin C.  We always make sure that the stuff that our athletes like are in the small coolers, bags, or purses.  We also make sure to bring enough for all of the other cheer athletes that come with the group, as every “Cheer Mom” knows that even if you only have one child in the program, you do not have just one child in the program – you have all of them.  We “Cheer Moms” would have it no other way.

trainerA “Cheer Mom” is a “Personal Trainer”.  Who is the one making sure that all of the stretching exercises are done, that there is time working on basic tumbling and getting the athletes in with tumbling and private lessons for progression of skills?  You got it – “Cheer Mom”.  We are the ones that do the “partner stretches” with our athletes.  We make sure to communicate with the coaches so that we know what they need to do and how long they need to do it for.  We are the ones that communicate issues to the coaches if they are complaining of soreness, stiffness or have what could be an injury or illness.  The personal trainer is pushing the athlete to stretch farther, hold it longer, work on the skills and spotting the new skills in the backyard or the living room.  We are getting the needed mats and equipment for them to work on, grow and gain strengths for bigger and better skills.  We endure pulled muscles and kicks to the face from spotting, crying and begging from stretching and the joy of it all paying off in the end.

A “Cheer Mom” is an “Administrative Assistant”.  How else do you describe the person that handles the travel arrangements, books the hotel rooms, schedules practice times, private lesson times, competition times, homework secretarytimes, school times, social calendars, and handles all of the paperwork associated with being in all-star cheerleading?  Some of us even end up on boards of Booster Clubs at our athletes’ gyms, or something bigger (like blogging or being a member of a national board).  We are the “right hand” packing practice bags, making sure the shoes are in the Nfinity bag and getting ready to take them from school to their next event.  We are calling hotels and reserving room blocks for teams, contacting other families to share rooms and split costs, emailing coaches for times, warm-up times, where to meet, and so on.  We are keeping contact with the parents of other athletes on the team so we know what is going on and where the next sleep over is happening.  We are the one that remembers when the practice is moved to and what time we have to be at the parade for the public appearance.  Kind of a Personal Assistant and Administrative Assistant all rolled into one.

A “Cheer Mom” is the “Banker”.  Yeah, who do you think asks the “Cheer Dad” for the money to get those new Nfinity shoes, or the newest practice wear that is issued in all the gym colors?  Who do you think pays the bills, and makes sure there is enough for a trip to Disney for UCA Nationals in March?  Who cuts the tuition checks and makes sure they get to the gym on time?  Who is the one that pays for the private lessons and tumbling instruction?  Not to mention is paying for hotels, transportation, competition and cross-over fees?  That’s right – “Cheer Mom”.  Well, this one we can’t take alone – the “Cheer Dad” also helps out with this, but instead of the “Banker” in our house “Cheer Dad” goes by the abbreviation “A. T. M.”.  Matter of fact, last payday as he handed my his paycheck, he muttered, “Just go take it to the gym.  They will end up with all of it anyways.”  Gotta love those “Cheer Dads”!

chauffer  A “Cheer Mom” is a “Chauffer”.  To practice.  Home from practice.  To the competition venue.  Home from the competition venue.  To the hotel.  Home from the hotel.  To the airport.  Home from the airport.  To privates.  Home from privates.  To cheer camp.  Home from cheer camp.  It is a never-ending travel.  We load our cars with the luggage, gear, other athletes needing rides, and we tote them to and from where they need to be.  We repeat this all time and time again where we honestly feel the vehicle could get to and from the gym without you even driving it.  We feel that there are grooves worn in the road from our tires going so many times to and from.  And then there are the times where we will run home – even when it is fifteen minutes or more away – to retrieve the forgotten shoes.  Every “Cheer Mom” has had to make that trip (even the young ones, the old ones, and all in between) to get the forgotten cheer shoes because everyone knows you are not supposed to stunt without them.  We drive to fundraisers, camps, wherever we are told to go, we go; and we drive back when we are done.  It is a process that ends only when our athletes gain the right to drive, and then we are retired to being locked up at home because our athletes need a vehicle to take themselves everywhere we used to take them.

A “Cheer Mom” is a “Cheerleader”.  Hey – we know an amazing round-off-back-handspring when we see one!  We can’t throw one to save our lives, but we know how one is done and when it is done well!  We yell loud, wear all of the gym gear, and we are right at the edge of the mat cheering on the teams from our gym and yelling “Woo-hoo!” as that pyramid hits!  We know that a “cupie” is not just a doll, and that our athletes do NOT do “flips”; they do handsprings, tucks, lay-outs, fulls, double-fulls. . .  We are familiar with all of the positions, know the music well enough to sing along with each voice-over and vocals in it.  We know when the “ding” happens and what is supposed to be done at that point.  And we clap, make facials and do the hand motions as our athletes do them on the mat.  We clap along to the beat when they hit the dance, and we are always yelling “HIT!” to each toe-touch jump and then “PULL!” on the tuck.  We support our team like no other, and we would have it no other way!

A “Cheer Mom” is a “Physician”.  We know more about what to do about strains, sprains, contusions, and concussions thandoctor a lot of first-year residents.  We take ibuprofen, ice packs, bandages, neoprene and Active Ankles to every event our athletes are performing at.  We can see the look when that freak injury happens.  We know when they come down wrong and tweaked a knee or bruised a heel.  We know when our bases have sore shoulders or strained wrists.  We have the athletic tape in our bags for the second day of the competition to help with that.  We have “Web MD” on our phones so we can check out for symptoms of illnesses such as flu, strep, mono, pneumonia and croup.  We know that with strep they are no longer contagious after 24 hours on antibiotics.  We have our physicians on speed dial for things because “She needs to get through the competition this weekend.”  We will get the over the counter cold medicine and give it to our children at the best time so that they can get through their routine.  Every “Cheer Mom” (as horrible as this sounds) has sent their athlete onto the mat to compete with a fever when you would have kept them home from school in the same situation because we know.  Only a “Cheer Mom” knows why and understands it.

social media director A “Cheer Mom” is a “Social Media Director”.  We are sharing out about anything and everything having to do with our athletes’ gym.  We share out competition photos, videos of our athlete pulling that back walkover for the first time.  We share out the meme’s with the “I don’t sweat; I sparkle” words on the glittery background or the “You can’t scare me; I’m a Cheer Mom” one.  And we like them when the other “Cheer Moms” share them.  We have over 1,000 Facebook Friends, and over 70% of them have to do with cheerleading.  We are in groups specifically for “Cheer Moms”, getting tips for the perfect hair bump, learning the latest trends in practice wear and looking at the shared pictures from friends that have athletes competing at Worlds or The Summit and think, “Someday. . .”  We are connected with industry people, non-industry people, and “Cheer Moms” from other gyms from all over the nation.  We use Facebook and Twitter as a method of communication with other “Cheer Moms” in the gym when at competitions.  We are also stalking other pages (including our child’s) to be sure that there isn’t anything going on that is wrong or improper on the Facebook “Wall”.  We watch our newsfeed for anything inappropriate for our athletes.  We have one rule and one rule only for having a Facebook account – that our athlete has to have us as an “unrestricted” friend.  We are familiar with “hashtags”, “WCW”(Women-Crush-Wednesday), “MCM”(Man-Crush-Monday), and “TBT”(Throw-Back-Thursday).  We are “Cheer Moms” and we can promote anything on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat!

A “Cheer Mom” is a “Teacher”.  Homework has to get done, and it is up to us to be able to do crash-courses in math, teacherEnglish, history, and whatever other subject our athlete needs to get things done on.  You are well versed in the art of creating the diorama, the solar system, and visuals for many different topics.  You have on hand your family tree in case the assignment ever comes up.  We have a vast collection of magazines for collages, and access to computers for reports and papers.   A “Cheer Mom” has been known to get her athlete up an hour earlier before school so they can get their homework done that they couldn’t do the night before due to practice.  You work hard to assure that your child gets their assignments done over competition weekend when they have to miss school due to cheer, and you bring all of the necessary utensils and hardware so this can be done efficiently.  You dangle “pool time” over your athlete’s head in order to get them to get the work done without complaining and do it as fast as possible (which works except when tired).  We have a Cricut to make those amazing posters for our athlete because they are going to have the best report display ever (we use those same Cricuts to make amazing hotel door signs for the athletes in the gym).

boosterA “Cheer Mom” is a “Booster”.  Let’s face it – we are shelling out money hand over fist to pay for things for our athlete.  In the NCAA they call them “Boosters”.  In cheerleading, we are “Cheer Moms”.  We are the master fundraisers.  We create and host events for our athletes and their gym.  We are having “Tacky Proms”, “Car Washes”, “Spirit Days”, “Hot Dog Stands”, and selling anything and everything under the sun!  If there is an event in town, we are there with a booth finding a way to sell either an item or do some face painting.  We will work hard to create opportunities for our athletes to be involved with their community and we will go nights without sleep so that it is successful!  We will go to the ends of the earth to raise that last dollar for the new Tumbl Trak for the gym.  We do it all because we love our gym and our athletes, and we want them to be successful.  We are “Cheer Moms” and that is why we do what we do.

A “Cheer Mom” is a “Photographer”.  We capture every routine of the season, from every team, every time they go full-out.  We are there after awards, when the athletes are sick of smiling and posing with the trophies and start their photographercountdown for the end of the “mommarazzi” and their picture taking, we take three more pictures.  We put all of our pictures on our Facebook pages, share them with friends, relatives and other “Cheer Moms”.  We use our smart phones, our pocket cameras, or our cameras with the huge high-speed shutters and high-action lenses!  We are masters at getting the “perfect shot” of our athlete in routine, usually with a facial that is “to die for”.  We catch them in their dance doing a facial that in itself brings a chuckle to most.  We always want a picture of our athletes with their team mates, with their “big cheer sister”, their coaches. . .  They get their pictures taken so often that they find it natural and can strike a pose that is perfect anywhere at any time.  They know the perfect angle to hold their head, the look that everyone adores, and the best way to position their hand on their hip, turn the shoulders slightly and bend the front knee just so. . .  And everyone is mystified how your 8 year old knows that so well.

shrink   A “Cheer Mom” is a “Psychiatrist”.  We are the ones that get to hear about the frustrations about how the coach is doing something they don’t like, or how another athlete is bothering them.  We get to hear if they have a “tumbling block” or if they have a fear of not being able to do the routine when they hit the mat.  We see them “get into their own heads” when they are on the mat and not pulling their flying that they can do in their sleep otherwise.  The subtle changes and facial expressions tell us things that no one else can notice or see.  Everyone says how amazing they look; you know that there is something wrong.  You notice it, and you find out about it.  You are the one that gives them the tools to speak to their coach when they don’t agree with something, even though you want to swoop in and fix all of the issues so your athlete isn’t hurt emotionally.  You want to take on the cheer bully that is being mean to your athlete because they are jealous of the ability that your athlete has.  You know that can’t happen, but the issue is that you can’t shut off being “Cheer Mom” for anything.

Note that of all the “occupations” that I have listed make up a “Cheer Mom” there is one thing I did not list – a “Coach”.  Why not?  It is rather simple; because there is no way that a mom can be a coach of their athlete’s team.  Ask any coach that has had to coach their own child and they will tell you how hard it is.  You either favor them or you are overly-harsh on them and end up singling them out and hurting their feelings.  There is very little area of “happy medium” in that.  For that reason coaches will tell you that “Cheer Moms” should stick to their jobs – offering the love and support to the athletes.  That is far more important to things than anything that a coach could ever give your athlete.  Because without the love and support, there is no desire to continue, and that is the hardest thing to ever experience – losing the desire to do something that you used to have a passion for.  Our job as “Cheer Moms” is to make sure that never happens.                     parent

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I have friends that have no clue about what I do as a cheer mom.  They all have their lives toting their sons to football, traveling to Little League Baseball tournaments all over the state, and taking their daughters to volleyball and softball tournaments.  Many of them are “Soccer...