Resisting the urge to become a dance mom
When I was growing up I loved watching ballerinas dance around in their tutus and tights. They looked so elegant, so graceful.
Like many little girls, my daughter also fell in love with watching ballerinas. She’s been asking me if she could take classes for about a year. Finally, we caved, and signed her up for lessons. She had her first class last week and throughly enjoyed it.
I had plans to buy her dance ware at a kids consignment store but the last-minute sign-up didn’t give me enough time to run down there. I coughed up $22 for tap shoes, and luckily found tights and leotards at Walmart. I also got ballet slippers there but after checking out the other girls shoes, I realized Lil’ J’s are more bed-slipper-like than dance-slipper-like.
During class all the other moms waited in the hallway and watched from the windows. I sat inside the room and took photographs. Apparently you get a “first class pass” to staying in the room and watching your child perform. I took full advantage and busted out my DSLR.
The other half of the class I stood in the hallway and watched with other moms. A couple told me about their favorite teachers, some mentioned the variety of classes their daughters are enrolled in, one bragged about her older daughter’s special talents. For a brief moment I felt like I had stepped into an episode of Dance Moms.
I was an extremely competitive child growing up. I still have waves of a competitive spirit now and then,and occasionally I can feel a tug of it regarding my kids’ skills. I try to stop myself before it can boil over, but sometimes I worry the older my children get, the worse I’ll get.
As I watched my daughter practice in class I felt a shift in my attitude. Instead of watching how she did in comparison to other dancers, I watched the smile on her face grow brighter. The joy in her expressions, the bounce in her jump, and her studious look while her dance teacher taught her a new move.
I have a feeling this is just the first in a series of lessons I’m going to learn about parenting among other parents. I think so long as I continue to feel repulsed every time I watch Dance Moms I’m probably doing ok. The day those ladies start to seem sensible to me is the day I’ve started down a dark road.
Tags: dance mom, lil j, motherhood, parenting
Oh Jenn! She is absolutely beautiful in her little dance clothes. Just like you, I’ve been worried to death about becoming one of those Dance Moms. Sophia has been doing ballet/tap for a year and I had so much fun watching HER FACE rather than her steps – sure, I take pride when it looks like she’s dancing along with the teacher, but those smiles and “thumbs up” between dances let me know that she loves it so much and so do I!
There is definitly a fine line to be walked! Our middle son is extremely gifted at sports, and made his Allstar baseball team this year. I have to really watch my own attitude at practices, reminding myself he is 9 and this isn’t the Major Leagues, when he bobbles a play or drops a catch. We expect our kids to do their best, to play hard, but most of all, to enjoy what they do. If he came to me and said he didn’t want to play anymore, it would be heartbreaking. But we would let him make that choice. Because it’s not about us, it’s about him! (There is one caveat, however! Our kids MUST finish out a season of whatever the sport is, because they have made a commitment to their coach and teammates. It is bad form and terrible sportsmanship to quit halfway through, IMO) we have applied this theory to baseball, football, softball and soccer. So far, we have had two children decide they would never play soccer or baseball again, but found other activities they excell at. (We have 5 kids)
You have the right mindset, to not become a stereotypical dance mom! Those ladies are scary! (I’m sure they are nice away from the studio, though!)
Yay for resisting the urge to become a dance mom! My friends (and some family) are always urging me to sign up my kiddo for modeling but I always tell them I’m afraid I’d turn into Joe Jackson- ‘Dance, boy, dance! Don’t you stop singing, now!’ lol. So I completely understand.
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