My Son’s Learning to Ride a Bike, but I’m the One Getting the Lesson

My Son’s Learning to Ride a Bike, but I’m the One Getting the Lesson

While trying to keep her son from quitting, one mom made a big realization of her own.

By: Wendy Robinson

“I can’t do this! It is too hard.”

My son sat angrily on the ground as he said these words, arms folded tightly across his chest, while his bike lay in the grass, wheel still spinning.

This was supposed to be the summer of two wheels. Miles got a new big kid bike back in May and we set a goal of getting the training wheels off before the school year started so he could ride his bike to school with some of the other boys.

“I know you can do this, kid. You just need to practice a little more.”

This was also supposed to be the summer that I finally, finally, got back in shape after having another baby (um, two years ago. But let’s not dwell on that). I was even going to train for a sprint triathlon in the fall.

Spoiler alert: I’ve gone on exactly one run this summer. There are no triathlons in my near future.

“Mom, I want to do it, but I’m scared that I am going fall again, and I don’t want anyone to see me fall.”

Our neighborhood has hills and cracked sidewalks. It isn’t the easiest place to learn to ride a bike. Miles is wearing a helmet and pads, and I know that what he is really worried about is feeling embarrassed. He is the last kid his age on the block to have training wheels. He doesn’t yet realize that what he needs isn’t better balance, it is more confidence.


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“Okay, I’m going to try. Hold me, okay? Don’t let go, okay?”

I stand behind him with a hand on his seat. I’ll keep holding and letting go as long as it takes for him to get the hang of this.

As we move unsteadily down the sidewalk, I can’t help but think that I wish I could be as patient with myself as I am with him. I’m not mad that he hasn’t gotten the hang of this yet. I don’t think he lacks self-control because he has to try and fail and try again to reach this goal. The fact that he doesn’t get it right away doesn’t make me think he is doomed to always be on training wheels.

It can be so easy to think about myself that way. I get the ice cream instead of the fat-free sorbet. I read on the couch instead of going to the gym at the end of a long day. I hit the snooze button instead of the swimming pool. I do these things, and I think I’m weak or I lack self-control or I’ll never get to where I want to be.

But maybe I need to think of my “failures” like I do my son’s: A chance to practice. A chance to go further and fail better the next time. A chance to become a little better than I was before.

“Let go! I’m doing it!”

Me too, kid. Me too.

Wendy Robinson is figuring out how to balance work, graduate school, and parenting 2 young children (6 and 2) while finding time to get healthy and fit again.

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This actually kind of makes my day. I needed a pep talk after falling off the diet wagon again.

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Love it! Thanks for sharing!

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