When my daughter, Milla, turned three I was eight months pregnant with twins and had recently moved from downtown Toronto to rural Ontario. (To put this into context: our closest neighbour was Farmer Davies, his wife of 50 years and their herd of cows. And their farm was a 10-minute walk from our house.)
Rather than sit around alone all day, I looked for things for Milla and I to do. There weren’t many extracurricular activities for her age, except ballet. This would be perfect for my quiet, reserved little daughter. I signed her up.
After a year or so, Milla excitedly announced she was asked to join the competitive dance team at her studio. OK, I thought. Sounds great!
Little did I know then that what Milla was really saying was that I was about to become a Dance Mom. To be fair, this would have made little difference since, back then, I had no idea what a Dance Mom was. Had I seen some of the reality TV shows depicting the less attractive side of the industry, or even some of the more “enthusiastic” dance moms I’ve since met backstage, I may have thought twice. If you’d told me that I’d be painting Milla’s face with enough makeup to make Lady Gaga proud — watching her shake her tiny little bottom on stage in front of hundreds of cheering parents and peers — and tearing up when she nailed her lyrical solo, I probably would have looked at you like you were speaking a foreign language.
And yet, I am writing this in a dark theatre waiting for my now 10-year-old daughter to take the stage. Because of competitive dance, she has a tight circle of friends outside of her school, a level of responsibility beyond her years, a physically strong body that gets almost double the recommended hour per day of exercise and the confidence to walk out onto a stage and entertain an entire audience. And a smile that tells me I made a great decision.
And that crazy woman whistling louder than all the other moms? That’s me. That’s what I do.
Are you a Dance Mom? What about a Soccer or Hockey Mom? What tips or stories do you have to share?
Photo by Lieven SOETE via Flickr.