My Year as a First-Time Dance Mom

It was epic.

Not the teacher. Not the weekly class. Not the recital.

The tantrum.

The tantrum before her second to last dance classes was epic. Her yelling in a room with walls as thick as a tissue because she didn’t want to get dressed. Tears from both of us. And a final exit out of the studio that was viewed by all the moms, who were trying not to look, but couldn’t resist seeing what all the commotion had been about.

This weekly dance class was our first introduction into the dance world. Growing up playing sports, I was in a totally foreign environment and I was struggling to find my comfort zone. It was trying from the very beginning.

Picking her up after a day at school and work, only to go to another class where she had to focus for one more hour, was harder than anticipated. Often, there were big fights in the parking lot while trying to change her in to her dance clothes. Sometimes we were really late for dance because I couldn’t get out of work, or bad weather, or too much traffic. And there was the night I had to interrupt the whole class to tell her to listen to the teacher.

Watching the big girls practice

Watching the big girls practice

She is not a bad kid – at all. And our weekly experiences very much improved half way through the season. I don’t know why this resulted in so many struggles at the very beginning and again near the end, but I can guess.

Now that it’s over, I realize that this was the best parenting lesson I’ve had thus far. If I am nervous about being in a new place with all new people, it shows, and it makes her nervous. If I feel rushed, she picks up on it and it has a negative impact on her attitude. And guess when I was most rushed and nervous? At the very beginning of the season when I had no idea what she should wear, how early we should be there, or how to interact with other dance moms and instructors. And again, at the very end of the season, when I had no clue what it meant to be in a recital, where to go to practice or what her makeup should look like. What a coincidence that her meltdowns coincided with my nerves.

Trying on her ladybug costume for the first time

Trying on her ladybug costume for the first time

But we stuck it out, and I am so, so glad we did. She always asked if it was time to go dance again, and she loved teaching everyone the moves she learned in class. As the excitement built for her recital, she could barely contain herself. On the recital practice days, she was waiting for me in the school office because she didn’t want to be late (go figure). She couldn’t wait to wear her costume, specifically, the bright red lipstick (Lord, help us). And on the day of the performance, she absolutely rocked it. She loved performing on the stage, and it showed. Somehow, she had actually been listening, paying attention and learning how to dance…and how to dance very well.

Posing before her first dance recital practice

Posing before her first dance recital practice

I’ve tried to suggest other sports-related activities for the upcoming year, pointedly making no mention of dance options. Of course, she keeps asking when dance starts again. And so, here I am, two weeks before dance classes commence, reviewing dance options and trying to pick the one that will fit best with our schedules. It’s not my first choice of extra-curricular activity, but it doesn’t matter. She loves it, and I absolutely love seeing her doing something that she enjoys so much. So we’re going to dance another season, but this time, we’re going to make this season unforgettable, and for all the right reasons.


5 Responses to My Year as a First-Time Dance Mom

  1. Aicia J August 16, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    Nice perspective and reflections, Felicia! I have difficulties myself trying to navigate sports for the boys, equally as foreign as dance would be if I had girls.
    The struggle is real! But, so are the lessons 😉

    • Felicia
      Felicia August 16, 2016 at 11:38 am #

      Thank you! You are spot on about the lessons, too!! If nothing else, it was a great learning experience for us both!!!

  2. Sarah August 19, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    Excellent insight into what may have been driving her behavior!!

  3. Ali August 25, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

    Stick with it! I was just like her my first year, and after 17 years (all the way through a dance degree) the most valuable life shaping and character building lessons came from my time in the studio. I am so thankful my mom stuck with it (and spent a fortune that I didn’t realize she was spending as a kid!!) so that I could be who I am today due to dance. The qualities she will gain from the dance studio with be applicable to all parts of her adult life.

    • Felicia
      Felicia August 26, 2016 at 10:10 am #

      Thank you for the comment and for the positive advice..we’re starting again in a week or so!

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