I am a Dance Mom.
Why when I say this do I feel like I am standing up at a self-help meeting? Maybe it’s because Dance Moms are a lot like attorneys – they both have heavily stereotyped reputations.
Of course it doesn’t help that the extreme ones always get the attention. The crazy greedy attorneys are featured in newspapers or on Court TV, and of course the crazy dance moms get the reality shows. So it's no surprise that people naturally assume what they see is what they get. So normally when I talk about being a Dance Mom, I get “REALLY?” or “Like the ones on TV?”.
Yesterday, I had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to get my daughter ready for a dance competition. Somewhere between the eyeliner that makes her look 30 and the dark reddish brown lipstick I can never manage to get cleanly on her small lips…I smiled completely loving the fact that we are on this journey together. Then several hours later when my daughter and her team took 1st AND 2nd place for their junior small group division, the excitement I felt sealed the deal for me.
Yep, I’m a Dance Mom.
My daughter J started dance just before she turned 2. That was the year I started looking for a variety of activities for J to do. Picture if you will a person throwing 100 darts and seeing what sticks. That was J’s life from 2-3. J tried everything under the sun: ice skating, soccer, gymnastics, tumbling, I even enrolled her in a one time pottery class. But after she cried hysterically on the sidelines of the soccer field begging her Dad to get her off the field and announcing to us that “I just wanna dance”… I think we knew what dart stuck with our daughter.
Yep, She’s a Dancer.
Of course this meant that I was recruited to be a Dance Mom. And I have to admit I didn’t think the role would suit me initially. I mean, I can’t dance to save my life, I know nothing about the sport. Second, I can’t do hair to save my life, I can’t sew and I am way too dramatic to deal with disappointment if J doesn’t succeed at something she was passionate about.
But the years passed and J continued to love dance…the 1 half hour class a week grew to 3 classes and hours at the dance studio. So, to quote one of my closest and wisest friend…I had two options with my diva daughter: I could “Jump on the Diva Train or get rolled over by it”.
All aboard the Diva Train!
My daughter is a competitive dancer. So at the start of the year she became a member of Youth Group Green at her studio. I knew J was ready (I know, I know, I’m biased)…she knows the steps, she is good at remembering dances. I knew she’d be okay. But then there was me. When she started I knew nothing, had no dance Mom friends, knew nothing about how to do anything, and almost had a heart attack to think that I had to put fake eyelashes on my daughter.
But it’s through the course of living the life of a Dance Mom that I have learned why Dance Moms get so involved and crazy about dance...they actually participate in it along with their daughters!
Now, I don’t mean literally…although me in ballet shoes would be hilarious. What I mean is that Dance is a sport where the mothers have to be extremely involved because they participate in getting their dancer ready to go. It’s here where dance differs from other sports. I mean when my son plays baseball for example, my role is simple…I am the cheerleader. I stand on the sidelines and cheer (probably a little too loud) for my #2. I have no responsibilities, I have no jobs. I just get to sit and watch…they don’t need or want me to do anything.
Dance is not like that. When J signed on to dance, I signed on to not only pay for everything that goes with dance, but to become a makeup artist, hair stylist, and yes even a manager. In between my emails with clients and judges, I find myself sending emails on behalf of my daughter “Yes, she can practice at 11:00 a.m.”, “Let’s get the team cookie bouquets”, “Yes she will take Lyrical, jazz, and tap”.
So I think that is where Dance Moms get their crazy reputation, because anyone who is so involved in something is going to get passionate about it. And passion often appears as craziness for those outside of the “circle”.
So now I’m hooked. The fact that J has 2 hours of dance on Mondays, 3 hours of dance on Wednesday, plus often Saturday and Sunday practices never bothers me because it’s my social time. I get to go and sit and vent, laugh, and talk with my fellow Dance Moms who have become my “crew” and are part of the crazy world. I truly feel like J has her team and I have mine.
I'm a Dance Mom
I now can manage a poof pony and low bun with semi-ease, I have yet to glue my daughter’s eyes shut with the lashes and we are both having a great time.
Yes, I am becoming a functioning Dance Mom.
So, I’m going to proudly announce my member of the Dance Mom club, even with the stereotypes. After being an attorney for almost 10 years I’m used to stereotypes. I’m not the typical attorney, I’m not a typical Dance Mom. I’m just….me!