Learning to Ride a Bike Is Harder (and Easier) Than You Think
My daughter learned to ride a bike, sans training wheels, this weekend. And it was both easier and harder than you’d think. The easiest part was that my husband taught her. He’s really good at that sort of stuff. I guarantee you that if I had endeavored to teacher her, there would be tears and cuts and scrapes galore. Instead, it was so easy and so quick – just one hour and one small fall – that my daughter hardly saw the need to celebrate what I considered to be the hallmark milestone for a kid her age.
At the same time, riding a two-wheeler was a very long time coming, and harder than I thought it would be. The hard part wasn’t about teaching her to balance or peddle or conquer any fears. It was the two-working parent problem of finding the time. Between school and after-school, we just don’t have the time on weekday afternoons or evenings to ride our bikes around the block. Saturdays are filled with soccer games and skating lessons, and Sundays are so often packed with all the other stuff in life.
I’d look down my street to the right and there are hordes of kids as young as four riding bikes – training wheels long gone – zooming around the block while their stay-at-home mothers gather and chat on their front porches and get home stuff accomplished. One of them is the President of the PTA, another is the treasurer, and a third chairs the major fundraiser for our town’s education foundation. They also taught their kids to ride their bikes on beautiful, sunny Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Those are all things I’ll never do.
And then I turn my head to the left and I see the homes of the moms I know from after-school pick up. The ones whose kids are still on training wheels, not because they can’t learn to ride their bikes, but because Mom and Dad just have a super-hard time finding the time. We are the ones who gather and chat and in after-school parking lot, and pick up each other’s kids when work takes an unexpected turn or the commute turns crazy. One is Vice President of her department at work. Another is her company’s treasurer, and a third manages a major donor program for an ivy league university. Those are the things we do.
I love being a working mom. I don’t fantasize about any other life (well, maybe winning the lottery every now and again). But that bike riding thing has troubled me for a couple of years now. I never doubted my daughter’s ability, I just wasn’t sure that Mom and Dad would ever get it right. And it is the sort of thing that just makes you wonder what else she may not be able to do because both her parents work. But now that we’ve got the bike thing licked, I can focus on all those things she CAN do because both her parents work. And that makes me proud of both of us.