Lessons From a Drive-By Dance Mom


Sunday’s recital marked the end of recital season. And other than a couple of hours spent in an overheated dressing room, it really wasn’t that bad.

After a trying two seasons at another dance studio, I vowed this year would be better. The old studio was too far away; the class started early on Saturday mornings, and we were always late. The computer system was often down, so there was usually a discrepancy on my account balance. It never failed that we received our newsletter the night before any major deadline, so I made several last-minute runs for tights, ribbon, or glitzy hair clips. I hated it.

The new studio is less than 10 minutes from home, and classes start later in the day. E-mail updates arrive no later than a week in advance, and there is a lovely online payment system.

I didn’t use these perks to my advantage. I allowed my frustration with the last school stunt my relationship with the new one. I checked out and literally became a drive-by dance mom. I drove past the front door for weekly drop offs and pick ups. I sent Hubby in my place whenever possible.

I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. There must be a middle ground between the all-in dance mom and the drive-by model that I employ. Perhaps these things will help me the next time around.

Read. Read. Read. I’m so thankful the studio provides regular electronic updates, but they are useless if I don’t read (and heed) them. In some cases, I need to read them twice and set reminders for important deadlines (costume payment dates, dress rehearsals, etc.)

Check costumes and shoes right away. I picked up costumes nearly a month ago, then I put them in the closet. I found out during dress rehearsal that one of the them needed adjustments. We had to jerryrig it with safety pins.

Volunteer. I don’t have work at the studio every weekend, but it’s important for me to get involved. Mini Me loves dance; she’s warmed up to the school (finally) and has made a few friends. I don’t want to miss it.

Divide and conquer. This school does four performances. Mini Me danced in two of them. Hubs and I each went to one show so that Lil Ma could stay at home. Bringing a toddler to a two-hour dance performance is a really bad idea. Plus, it kept us from getting burned out.

Buy flowers. Shouldn’t every prima donna get flowers on opening night?

We have a few weeks off before the summer session begins. That’s plenty of time for us (me) to gear up for a good year. I think I should buy one of the studio’s dance mom t-shirts or a bumper sticker.

Ok. I probably won’t do that. But, I will do a better job of being engaged.

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