Confessions of a Rookie Dance Mom

I’ve heard the nightmares; I’ve seen the reality shows; I’ve dreaded the time-consuming role, dance mom. But, with a little girl who’s into all things girly, I couldn’t deny her the opportunity of a dance class, especially since the dance school held class at her daycare during the day each week – mom win! She had her dance class every week and would “perform” for us at home every now and then. It was cute, but as spring time crept up, the intimidation set in. The detailed emails, the finances, the rhinestones, the costume maintenance, the program ads, the pictures, the hair and make-up – it was overwhelming. What seemed to really kick my anxiety into high gear was being around all the “veteran” dance moms. They moved fast and were stern. They scared me a little bit. I felt so out of my league here. I knew nothing, they knew everything. I wanted my little girl to have the best experience as possible. I wanted her to have the same opportunities as all of the other little girls. What if I don’t do something right? What if I didn’t pay for something I should have? I had so many uncertainties.

Fast forward to the day of the dance revue.

Waiting outside in line with experienced dance moms really had my head spinning. Everyone had clothes racks filled with costumes; they had duffel bags busting at the seams. They were talking, talking SO fast about dance routines, the teachers, the guests they have coming, the teacher gifts, the snacks they packed (oh snap! I forgot to pack snacks). I stood behind them with my two tiny costumes on hangers and my backpack, feeling … inadequate. I am not on their level, and I had no desire to be – they looked stressed. It seemed as if their whole world revolved around dance -and maybe it does for their one and only little girl, but I can’t let that be me. What have I gotten myself into? It was all too much.

The recital had begun. I saved an entire row of seats; I ran to and from the dressing room between numbers; I brushed, teased, pulled, pinned, and sprayed my daughter’s hair, several times; I sprinted back stage to drop off and collect my tiny little dancer multiple times. I had so much junk spilled out all over the floor under my seat from the rush of coordinating a 2 year old’s dance numbers. I was sweaty and exhausted – a hot mess if you will. But, as soon as those big lights came on, and my little ballerina entered the stage on her tippy toes, my eyes filled with tears of joy.

Watching her was one of the most satisfying moments I’ve had as her mom so far.

Seeing her attempt this new skill she’s learned, and have fun while doing so, made everything worth it. At that moment, all of my worries seemed laughable. I did everything right because there she was, my shining star, doing what she loved. My rookie year as a dance mom had its concerns, but I just had to get through it to see this amazing light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve never been prouder of her, and when it was all over, all I kept thinking about was how I couldn’t wait to watch her again next year. I even thought to myself, I will do whatever I need to do so that she can have this moment over and over again!

And, just like that, I suddenly transformed from rookie dance mom status to veteran in what seemed like a very Cinderella-esque moment. What started out as just an extracurricular for my little girl to have fun, turned into a learning experience about myself as her mother to boot. Dance moms get a bad rap, but you know what?! That’s a small price to pay for that proud moment on stage. So, keep calm, and dance on, mamas!

 

 

Jennifer Gonzales
Wife to my high school sweetheart, Ross, and mother to 4 children: Trip, Conner, McKenzie, and Piper, I am a born and raised Southern Louisiana Lady. I am a graduate of Mt. Carmel Academy, received my Bachelor’s in English with a concentration in Secondary Ed. from LSU followed by my Master’s of Education from UNO, and for the past 11 years, I have been outwitting high school boys as an English teacher at Holy Cross School. When I’m not grading papers, driving to baseball practices, or making grocery runs, I can be found cheering on my LSU Tigers, cutting up with my girlfriends, and crafting (I love a good project!). I’m all about sippin’ some wine during the sunset while the kiddos play in the yard and the hubby works the grill. I’m living my best mommy life these days and am always happy to share the journey with others!

2 COMMENTS

  1. I was in your shoe 8 years ago and it all paid off. My little one started and fell in love Rhythmic Gymnastics and Ballet at age 8. She won many Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships (invitational, state, regionals and National) and was awarded merit scholarships to many prestigious Ballet Summer Intensives. It was very expensive and difficult juggling both sport that she loved. A few years ago relocation forced her to focus more on ballet because louisiana did not have Rhythmic Gymnastics School. But I believe when one door closes another opens. Her transition led her to attended School Of American Ballet Summer intensive for the past three years on full merit scholarships and this summer she was invited to attend The School Of American Ballet Winter Term in NYC 2019/2020 school year, in addition to being selected for a docu series about her life and journey to The School Of American Ballet, directed by Ron Howard with Imagine Entertainment. So if your daughter loves dance and performing the sacrifices will be worth it! Dance gives children self confidence, it teaches them how to work hard and not give up, how to work as a team, respect and support each other, it builds a bond of friends that is different than her school friends, these are great life lessons for our children. I love your story because it reminded me of myself, I was lost in the beginning. My daughter is now 15yrs old and about to embark on a new journey and follow her dreams.

  2. Wow, Martha! I know you must be SO proud. Congratulations on raising such an accomplished young lady! I can’t even begin to think of all the things my little girl will grow up to do, but I hope and pray this foot inside of the dancing door will be one step closer to her figuring it out. Thank you for the comment and the support! Knowing that it was a relatable piece puts a smile on my face. 🙂

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