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 freelance news reporter and anchor. Off the air, I'm a 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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Can you believe less than 50 years ago our interracial marriage would have been illegal in 16 states? New on the blog I'm discussing Loving Day and teaching our children to not let fear and hatred hold them back. #LovingDay #makingstrongroots direct link in bio.
LOVE the Disney traditions my daughter and I are forming. They are moments I know I'll always cherish. New photos in our Disney Princess photo series on the blog. This week its our take on Rapunzel. Direct link in bio. #dressupwithj
Tip for capturing big events: If there's a practice/ dress rehearsal get all your photos and videos in then so you can sit back and enjoy the show on the big day. I was a 2-camera wielding mama today going crazy behind the scenes. I'm leaving them at home this weekend and just getting a good seat. #photography #phototip #makingmomentslast
A blog reader told me as she read my latest post, her 4-year-old son came over her shoulder and asked what we were doing. She said Lil' J was just hanging out with her mommy then said look, they have matching headbands! And he said yea, and they have matching faces too. So sweet! And my daughter would agree. Direct link to how she's currently self-identifying as a biracial child in my bio. #biracial #multiracial #family - Cute matching headbands from @stitchedontheave.
My biracial daughter proudly explained to me how she's a little pink like daddy and a little brown like mommy. I hope that it doesn’t come to this but if/when there are days she’s called too light or too dark, I want her to remember who she is and this conversation. The full story is new #ontheblog today. Direct link in bio. #makingstrongroots #makingstrongchildren. And her super cute shorts and headband are from @stitchedontheave! #brandrep
So FREAKING excited to be partnering with @canonusa  To share some of my photography tips. I'm also giving the scoop on the benefits of having a DSLR and sharing some of my favorite photos that happen to be moments I wouldn't have been able to capture the same without it. All new on the blog today. Link in bio. #BringIt
This little guy was my assistant photographer this week. We got some creative angles on video while he held the GoPro. And THEN the poor guy came down with his first stomach bug the next day. I was pretty dramatic, but we survived. Then I journaled it all so we won't forget the hilarity. Just shared on the blog. Link in bio. #makingmemories
I am now the proud owner of a selfie stick. And not even a little bit ashamed. I mean, how else can you get random family portraits in 2 seconds? Tiny, portable, and it's great for video too! Currently trying to rig my camcorder to it. I'll let you know how that goes. #selfiesunday #selfiestick #makingmemoriesbeautiful
The sun finally came out today so I'm capitalizing and starting a project that's been on my mind for a long long time. The grass is still wet and we all slipped in the mud but we had a good time together. Can't wait to get this show on the road! #4CanonsAndAGoPro #makingmemoriesbeautiful
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