As a mum, I love watching my (almost) 10 year old – doing trampoline backflips, riding his scooter, playing with his friends. Any time I can be engaged in his happiness, it makes me happy. Some things I watch because I know I can’t participate in or keep up with (see trampoline backflips for reference), but other times, I get tired of watching. Sometimes “hey mum” starts to hurt my ears and watching another round of whatever other game he’s playing this week makes me cross-eyed.
Mum’s are constantly putting themselves second (or third, or fourth..). A recent study found that mum’s spend around 57 hours per week performing household tasks, not including those mothers that also work full time. Although the 37 tasks listed in the study aren’t something we all complete EVERY day (who vacuums daily – seriously), it’s still a lot of time dedicated to just keeping the family, and household running. Carving out a moment for yourself can seem decadent at best.
When my son was 2 years old, I signed up for my first mountain bike clinic. I had only ever used my bike for utilitarian purposes, but the allure of riding the trails to make the most of my limited recreation time pulled me in. I demo’ed a bike, I borrowed a friend’s shoes, my husband loaned me his oversized helmet – I was a mess. However, spending that time learning something new, with other women just like me, quite honestly changed my life. I fell, I pushed, I got frustrated, I laughed – I felt every emotion I see my kid experience when he’s trying something new. And I loved it. I went so far as to apply for a job with Dirt Series, just so I could continue to share my love for this sport and everything it did for me, with other mums like me.
So I want to share this story with you, because mountain biking is my passion, as much as it’s my son’s. My mindset has always been set to: why watch, when I can TRY IT. Why watch from the sidelines, when I can chase him down a trail. Why watch, when I can engage with him and his friends on what to try next. Why watch, when I can have fun doing something I love as well.
Watching him politely decline the assistance of the lift operator so he can show me that he knows how to load his own bike, makes me proud. Watching him hit a drop that’s taller than him makes me terrified, but also stoked that he is willing to try new things. Watching him nail a tight switchback that I still have to strider bike, kind of annoys me – but still sparks joy in that he can achieve things that I’m still working towards. These are the things that I would miss, if I let myself just observe, instead of participate.
I know I only have a short window where my kid wants me to watch him. I know my days of endless discussion over games, science facts, and fart jokes are probably numbered (although maybe not fart jokes – those seem to endure into adulthood). For now, I’ll enjoy the trails we ride together and feel grateful he doesn’t mind mum tagging along. Keeping up with my son is not going to be an option soon enough, but for now, doing something we both love together, is how I can be the best version of mum/me.
So mum’s everywhere – this is your call to action. Let’s try something new together so we can enjoy these moments with our children. You don’t need to be a strong rider – you just need to be willing to learn something new, and we can help the rest. Join me, and the rest of our amazing Dirt Series coaches at our TRY IT clinic in Bear Valley, or any of our other amazing locations – and stop watching – be part of your child’s fun!
– Emily Kay, Dirt Series Administrative & Customer Service Manager
Dirt Series offers Try It Clinics to first-time and novice riders. Join us in Bear Valley on August 19, Puget Sound on August 22, Boise on September 10 (and more locations / dates coming soon) to Try It for yourself!