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!