Dear New Dance Mom

advice, blog, choreography, class, costume, creative movement, dance, dance junkie, dance lessons, dance teacher, first recital, mom, monster, performance, recital, stage, stage mom, state fright, studio, toddler -

Dear New Dance Mom

The sight of your precious 3-year-old toddler, dressed in pink, rosy cheeks and looking like a princess on the recital stage. Camera ready and all of the relatives are here to watch!

 All year long, she has been learning a dance routine to display in front of hundreds of people…YES, hundreds of people. GULP

 All year long, your toddler has been entering into a big space to learn the creative movement of dance, but is she really learning how to dance?  Because according to what you just witnessed on stage, your daughter didn’t learn a damn thing. She just stood there in her beautiful, (expensive) costume, with her finger in her mouth and not one dance movement to show!  GRRR!!!

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 I can only imagine what you as a dance mom could be thinking and wanting to shout from your audience seat,  “Oh, please move!" 

"Do at least ONE step!”

 "OMG, you know this routine!" 

"I’ve seen you do it at the studio!”

 "I’m so embarrassed, Why are you just STANDING there!!!" 

Enter The Shop!

 Your daughter steps off the stage, and to you’re completely let down. You can’t contain yourself and pull her in firmly into your face, by her arm. You glare at her with a grimace on your face and through pierced lips, you say, “YOU JUST STOOD THERE! What’s WRONG with YOU! I’m angry with you!”

 Your daughter, burst into tears.

 Good job momma, you just missed out on an incredible opportunity to bond with you child, by turning into a Monster Stage Mom.  Your daughter, stood in front of 300 audience members for the 1st time!….she didn’t cry or pee on herself, (luckily for her, could only imagine what YOU would have done if that happened) because since this day is all about her….or shall we say all about MOM, her courage to go on stage in front of hundreds of people is going unnoticed  and overlooked, because you as “mom" set an expectation of a seasoned experienced dancer. Yes, you had an attachment to an expectation of your 3 year old child.  I suppose, you now have good reason to send her off to her room for just standing on stage during the recital.

 So let's get this straight Momma, you will need a time out. This recital isn’t what you need to concern yourself with, you need to check yourself quickly. This event isn’t about YOU. What you fail to see, is if you keep up this type of expectation, you will not be a very happy camper. Save yourself from years of disappointment and look at it in a different light. 

 So BIG deal, she just stood there. You are overlooking the fact that she participated in dance class all year long. She learned about her body, she tried her best stay in line and follow directions. Through her imagination she allowed herself to transform into a butterfly, leap like a frog, twirl, and flutter like a fairy. She learned how to point her feet, walk on her toes, attempt to stand in 1st position and stomp her foot to make sounds with her awesome black shiny tap shoes. She giggled with her dance mates and feel in love with her dance teacher. She felt beautiful in her dance clothes and special in her new costume. She gave a shot at learning how to skip, gallop and clap her hands. She had a wonderful memory of going to the dance studio.  But now, with the big debut stage appearance and (let down)…will you ever allow her to go back? Is this ONE event the determining factor of the rest of her dancing days?  

 Did YOU, momma, ever fall short of your parent's expectations? In those times, didn’t you wish they were a little more….what’s the word…compassionate?

 Listen, Momma, this stage fright, it’s a real thing, even grow ups choke, at the thought of going on stage. In an atmosphere that can even make the strongest adult buckle and puke, how could you honestly be pissed as hell that your 3-year-old won’t perform perfectly? The only problem here is, YOU, momma. 

 So, before you place blame, point fingers and bad mouth your daughter (and the studio) take a look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself. “How can I show up for my daughter? Who is it that she really needs for me to be? What would I want my mother, to do for me if I feel short of her expectation?”

 As Wayne Dwyer said “When you change the way you look at things, The things you look at will Change"

 Changing your perspective can make all the difference in the world.  I suggest loving her and laughing with her and allow her to try again and again. Going on stage in front of people takes practice. There are days when we are “on” and there are days when we are “off”.  So please go easy and drop the grandiose expectation. 

 This event wasn't about you, momma. With your disappointing reaction for her attempt to dance on stage for the 1st time, you have single handily destroyed the experience, placed shame on your daughter who was just…scared. And quite frankly, all she probably wanted from you, was a hug her and a loving word.

 Lighten up momma, it’s all in the experience and the memory you create for your daughter. You have one responsibility and that is to be loving, nurturing and compassionate when your daughter doesn't do her best. 

 Pull her close, tell her you love her and you are proud of her no matter what ….and encourage her to try again!  

It's not too late, to hit the reset button and pick up at compassion. This is going to be a "practice" for you too, momma. An awareness that you will need to master. 

 Momma, you don’t need to be the monster.  Your daughter may feel the audience and stage are where the monster lives.

It's up to you to slay the dragon…Not to become one. 

 

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4 comments

  • Diane

    Thank you for this blog post! I’ve witnessed some dance mums who go a bit galactic on their kiddos. If some mums would enjoy the process and let the kids learn, everyone will be happy. I even see mums get upset with the other dancers too.

  • Teresa

    This is EXCELLENT! I’m going to share this with all my friends. I want ALL parents to read this for ALL sports. They need to insert their child in what ever it is that they do & really think about it. For all the little ones that always hit or catch the ball at practice when it is only their team mates. But what about the game? There are twice as many strangers there & every one of them cheering & screaming. So the little one just stands there & strikes out. Everyone needs this lesson!

  • Angela

    Omg… I think it’s perfect ? ?… Needs to be said… If you save 1 mumma from destroying her little girls… What, dreams? Confidence? Pride? Glory? Moment?.. So what if she missed the dance… It’s an incredible feeling to be in the company of hundreds and have them ALL be watching you… Thankyou for writing this.. like I say even if you help one mum from doing the dragon thing… This blog post will have done its job!

  • Teresa

    When my daughter was 3, I was sitting patiently waiting for her dance to go on stage….when she didn’t go out with her group my heart sank….she had gotten scared and refused to go on stage. 12 years later she is dancing in front of Broadway talent agents and has received numerous awards. Remember dance moms, be supportive of your dancer and you will watch her grow into a dedicated young person with passion for life.

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