I was miserable.
The windowless changing room at the local community theatre was crowded and hot, and my hair’s twist out was quickly becoming a thing of the past. The air was thick with humidity and excitement. Fifty girls scurried about, changing into multicolored sequins leotards and tutus. Stray green feathers and purple fringe littered the linoleum. Tap shoes clacked to various beats at a painful decibel. A group of ballerinas sang “Little Sally Walker” repeatedly for 10 minutes straight.
Whenever recital season comes around, I feel like Danny Glover’s character from Lethal Weapon – too old for this. The other moms in the room looked shell shocked. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe they felt just like I did.
Being a dance parent is a J-O-B, and it takes a level of commitment and God-given patience that I do not possess. There are five good reasons the Dance Mom Life is not for me.
1. I already have a job. Making it to a 4:30 p.m. dress rehearsal is no easy feat when I work until 5:30. Mini Me expressed an interest in competition dance, and there was no way we could swing it. Travel, extra classes, and additional performances don’t fit into our current schedule.
2. I have a toddler. Lil Ma is too young for dance class and too impatient to sit through a three-hour rehearsal, two-hour recital, or even a 15-minute parents’ meeting. I have to arrange for her to be elsewhere, and that adds more complexity and stress to dance events.
3. Hubby travels. A lot. We divide and conquer when we can, but Hubby’s job sends him out of town frequently.
4. Chaos makes me nervous. No matter how organized the dance school, there is bound to be chaos when you combine girls, glitter, sequins, and songs from the Frozen soundtrack. I can’t deal.
5. Recitals are long. Too long. This year’s recital has 52 dance numbers. I wish I were kidding. Mini Me’s in three performances, and the last one is about halfway through. When the recital is over, I’ll be running for the nearest bottle of Merlot.
But it’s not about me.
I accept the title of Dance Mom because of Mini Me. She loves dance. And as much as I grumble about how much dance parenting stinks, I wouldn’t change it. (Well, that’s not totally true. I would shorten the recitals by about 35 dance numbers.)