Adding Dance Mum to my extensive, ever expanding list of job descriptions is NOT happening and at the risk of being vilified I am gonna say it right here right now, I am not sorry for that at all!
Before you feel the need to defend all dance parents everywhere let me make something VERY, VERY clear, this is not aimed at dance parents who are genuinely there to foster their child’s ability and to support and encourage them because I respect you more than you’ll ever know!!
We’ve all watched dance mums and we know how it goes
– kids compete for top spots
– kids dance their butts off
– mum’s bitch and whinge from the sidelines then they make a beeline straight for the dancing teacher to express their utter disgust in everyone from the teacher, to the other parents, to everyone else’s children and then on to the fucking cleaners who clean the studios at nights! It’s catty fight after fight and ends with kids crying in the corner, the teacher losing her shit at the parents and everyone in an exhausted heap ready to do it all again the next weekend.
That’s not real though, no person in their right mind behaves like that in real life over a kids sport, it’s completely ‘scripted reality’ for ratings right?!
I had my doubts about how competitive it all got off stage because my sister is an amazing dancer she has been dancing since before she could walk and my mum had told me some horror stories about the parents while protesting her ‘dance mum’ label every step of the way (we love you Mummy!) so I had already developed an opinion but was determined to keep my bias out of the experience if my children ever wanted to partake in jazz ballet or whatever.
My girls have done a lot of activities over the years, hockey, AFL, tag footy, Art classes, cooking classes and many years ago they did do hip hop for a year or two but dancing was not on the cards for a long time and I have no guilt over being pleased about that.
This year though that changed and my beautiful, clumsy, trip over invisible sticks tween Layla-Malanna decided to try out for the school dance competition and she made it in.
So the big day came and I went to watch her performance at the local high school camera at the ready, now if you are a dance parent you probably just clicked your tongue and shook your head in anticipation of what you already know is coming but I had absolutely no fuckin idea I wasn’t allowed to film my daughter dancing or take photos.
Blissfully unaware I started filming my daughter dance her usually uncoordinated little butt off and cheering on until 13 seconds into her dance I had a women run up and very sternly inform me ‘you can’t film in here, that’s a violation of the children’s privacy!!!
‘Ok sweet that’s cool I’ll stop filming Of course I never even thought about it’ I say, she responded by pointing my gaze toward the direction of a sign no bigger than a sheet of cardboard that said no filming or photo’s and said to me ‘purchase the video at the end’
‘ahhhhh ummmmm what??!
‘Are you going to be blurring their little faces out before distributing these videos?’
I am perfectly happy to accept that you are raising funds with the videos and I am willing to pay a ridiculous price for that little silver USB to watch my kid dance in knee high socks after paying the ticket price and costumes BUT don’t make me feel like an asshole that had somehow endangered these kids safety. Tell me the truth and just politely let me know that this is how you fund future performances or fuck off!
I’m not the type of person to get embarrassed usually but miss 12 was with me watching her little sister shake what I have her and she was feeling the spotlight shining on us for all the wrong reasons, the people in front of us turned to watch our performance missing their own kid dancing on the stage, the people behind us were laughing and sniggering and even I was feeling a little red faced.
We were able to leave as soon as our kids had finished so we quickly got up to find miss 11 and bootscoot out of there as quick as possible, we saw her and made our move directly for her when I hear a Mum say to her clearly mortified daughter no older than 8 ‘why do the little kids get fucking medals but you don’t? It’s fucking ridiculous!’
The young girl was so clearly embarrassed telling her mum to be quiet with her pleas falling on deaf ears. I was shocked! Not because I don’t swear, I have a mouth like a drunken sailor but because she was so openly angry in front of other parents about 4-5 year olds getting medals and the other parents chiming in to back up her welcomed disgust.
I was living a real life scene of Dance moms and it was not nearly as amusing!
All I can say is to the dance mums and dads out there who are there to support their kids, foster their talents and abilities and really want them to enjoy it, kudos to you!
For those who are living vicariously through your little ones and clearly take it way more seriously than they do, calm the fuck down!
Join your own dance class and let out some of that pent up dancing rage and let those of us who are new to the scene feel as if we can approach without caution. Today I felt like a lamb to the slaughter and all I wanted was to watch my kid dance.
When we left we told Layla how well she done, made her feel like she won a figurative medal because obviously all the real ones were stolen by those evil tiny dancers dressed as Dalmatian pups and she exclaimed excitedly that she had so much fun and can’t wait til next year to try out for school dance again…..
BOOM! Another year before we go through this again!! In saying all of that if my babies decided dancing was their new thing then this mumma bear would throw on her dancing shoes, throw on a sparkly crop top, chuck on a rhinestone saturated skirt and cha-cha all the way to registration with my girls and proudly albeit secretly reluctantly add the title of dance Mum to the list!
Or maybe I wouldn’t, as parents we are constantly shamed about everything. if we do not dedicate every waking hour to our children and their extra curricular activities we are ruining their chances at success, if we do spend 15 hours a week after school and weekends then we are giving them too much and they’ll expect and be spoiled.
We can’t win so just do you, do what you can mentally and physically handle doing and what you can afford to do. Your kids will survive I promise, my girls and I have an amazing relationship and they have a great childhood.
And Truth is I know I am not winning mother of the year here and let’s face it….I wouldn’t even try to be a contender in that catergory but if my weekends are going to be filled with red lipstick, high ponytails, cute outfits and sequins I want them to be mine!!!