When I was growing up I loved watching ballerinas dance around in their tutus and tights. They looked so elegant, so graceful.

Like many little girls, my daughter also fell in love with watching ballerinas. She’s been asking me if she could take classes for about a year. Finally, we caved, and signed her up for lessons. She had her first class last week and throughly enjoyed it.

Biracial ballerinaI had plans to buy her dance ware at a kids consignment store but the last-minute sign-up didn’t give me enough time to run down there. I coughed up $22 for tap shoes, and luckily found tights and leotards at Walmart. I also got ballet slippers there but after checking out the other girls shoes, I realized Lil’ J’s are more bed-slipper-like than dance-slipper-like.

During class all the other moms waited in the hallway and watched from the windows. I sat inside the room and took photographs. Apparently you get a “first class pass” to staying in the room and watching your child perform. I took full advantage and busted out my DSLR.

Balance beam

The other half of the class I stood in the hallway and watched with other moms. A couple told me about their favorite teachers, some mentioned the variety of classes their daughters are enrolled in, one bragged about her older daughter’s special talents. For a brief moment I felt like I had stepped into an episode of Dance Moms.

I was an extremely competitive child growing up. I still have waves of a competitive spirit now and then,and occasionally I can feel a tug of it regarding my kids’ skills. I try to stop myself before it can boil over, but sometimes I worry the older my children get, the worse I’ll get.

Ballet class

As I watched my daughter practice in class I felt a shift in my attitude. Instead of watching how she did in comparison to other dancers, I watched the smile on her face grow brighter. The joy in her expressions, the bounce in her jump, and her studious look while her dance teacher taught her a new move.

I have a feeling this is just the first in a series of lessons I’m going to learn about parenting among other parents. I think so long as I continue to feel repulsed every time I watch Dance Moms I’m probably doing ok. The day those ladies start to seem sensible to me is the day I’ve started down a dark road.
"graceful" ballerina

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7 Responses to “Resisting the urge to become a dance mom”

  1. Camjay says:

    Love it!!!

  2. Lindsey G. says:

    Oh Jenn! She is absolutely beautiful in her little dance clothes. Just like you, I’ve been worried to death about becoming one of those Dance Moms. Sophia has been doing ballet/tap for a year and I had so much fun watching HER FACE rather than her steps – sure, I take pride when it looks like she’s dancing along with the teacher, but those smiles and “thumbs up” between dances let me know that she loves it so much and so do I!
    Lindsey G. recently posted..Summer Infant Swaddlers Top My Newborn Must-Have List #ThirdTimesaCharm Giveaway – USMy Profile

  3. Kiar Shaw says:

    There is definitly a fine line to be walked! Our middle son is extremely gifted at sports, and made his Allstar baseball team this year. I have to really watch my own attitude at practices, reminding myself he is 9 and this isn’t the Major Leagues, when he bobbles a play or drops a catch. We expect our kids to do their best, to play hard, but most of all, to enjoy what they do. If he came to me and said he didn’t want to play anymore, it would be heartbreaking. But we would let him make that choice. Because it’s not about us, it’s about him! (There is one caveat, however! Our kids MUST finish out a season of whatever the sport is, because they have made a commitment to their coach and teammates. It is bad form and terrible sportsmanship to quit halfway through, IMO) we have applied this theory to baseball, football, softball and soccer. So far, we have had two children decide they would never play soccer or baseball again, but found other activities they excell at. (We have 5 kids)
    You have the right mindset, to not become a stereotypical dance mom! Those ladies are scary! (I’m sure they are nice away from the studio, though!)

  4. ajira says:

    Yay for resisting the urge to become a dance mom! My friends (and some family) are always urging me to sign up my kiddo for modeling but I always tell them I’m afraid I’d turn into Joe Jackson- ‘Dance, boy, dance! Don’t you stop singing, now!’ lol. So I completely understand.
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About Jennifer

On the air, I'm a part-time news reporter and anchor. Off the air, I'm a full-time wife and mother documenting my life in extraordinary ways, and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making beautiful memories with my beautiful babies.

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Hand in hand. Just how I like 'em. #latergram #siblings
Enjoying the last few weeks of summer vacation--Or as it's been up until now, every month with my girl before she embarks on elementary school. The fear is fading and it's being replaced with excitement. I'm so excited for what her future holds. And I know she'll rock it... And look cute thanks to talented designers like @maemillercrowns and @heidiofadelaidesbtq ?.
I don’t discourage her sense of imagination. I love how excited she gets dreaming about real princesses, magical powers, and flying horses. Some day–Probably very soon, she’ll grow out of it. Princesses will no longer be as exciting as they once were. Dress-up will be something for “babies” and magic will just be pretend.

Our latest princess photo shoot is up on the blog! We went to @disneyland for these!! Link in bio. #dressupwithj
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For her birthday she got a letter from Aurora inviting us to come and take pictures of Lil' J dressed as Aurora at her castle at Disneyland. The first thing Lil' J said was I get to see Cars! We looked at Cars costumes and outfits but couldn't find any that fit her style (or anything for girls). We worked together to sew this Lightning McQueen dress and she's so in love. She put it on then called herself the Cars Princess. Needless to say we will be taking many pictures at Cars Land too. #girlslovecarstoo #disneyland #pixarcars #sewingforkids #disneycountdown
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