To whom it may concern, this is my formal resignation from my title as a dance mom. I would like to say that there were many factors that went into this decision, but truth be told there was only one. One thing ended it all. One thing pushed me to a breaking point that I didn’t know was possible over something so relatively unimportant. The recital. It’s hard for me to even type out the word “recital” right now because I am still recovering from the anxiety attack I experienced. I realize that I am not cut out for this kind of pressure. But let me explain all that led me to my ultimate decision that this is the end of dancing for my girls, at least until my memory forgets how bad it was. Let me give you what I can remember of the recital prep checklist:
- pay for the recital fee
- pay second child’s recital fee
- pay for the recital costume
- pay for second child’s recital costume
- attend presentation in class over hair, makeup, and costume details
- attend presentation in class over hair, makeup and costume details for second child
- receive recital packet
- read packet
- forget to pre-order recital video at discounted price
- buy short Bobby pins
- buy long bobby pins
- buy clips
- buy spray gel
- buy hairnet
- buy red lip liner (not lipstick, it will smudge) (this is not their first rodeo, I mean recital)
- find/buy tights without holes in them then hide from children so they don’t put holes in them
- start a recital make-up bag
- sew extra pieces on Morgan’s costume
- thread corset on Sadie’s costume
- hang costumes upside down to keep the poof in the tutu
- practice buns
- pack outfits and accessories (almost lost a coordinating hair flower)
- pack snacks
- opt out of expensive professional pictures on recital day
Now let’s get to the day of the recital. There is a dress rehearsal first, around noon. Girls are to be in full costume and makeup and BUN! The dress rehearsal is where you are allowed to take video and pictures. You are not allowed to during the actual recital. So I ran into a small problem that I didn’t bring a real camera to the dress rehearsal. But it was fine, the iPhone to the rescue! Then there is an awkward break, get the girls out of costume, while still preserving the hair and makeup effort, and wait about an hour and a half, then head back to be there early, get them to there groups . . .
Than, wait for it. . . you have to get your seats. Us Texans, we are generally nice and smile big, and wave to strangers, etc. But at a dance recital, when your sweet daughter is about to have her debut stage moment, there are no niceties when the doors open to find seats. Running, throwing personal items on seats to reserve, I heard there was pushing, I did not see it.
Now we begin the actual recital. We smile at the other performances because they are certainly cute. Three year old’s trying to dance to a choreographed routine is hilarious for sure. I think many things can be told about their futures by the ones who watch the teacher to do it right, the ones who tell the other girls where to stand on stage, and the ones who break free and have their own personal twirling stage dream come true. This makes it worth it, literally each sweet little group has one dancing angel who gets distracted from the routine and just free dances until someone brings them back to reality. I personally think these girls have great lives ahead of them.
Then it’s one of our girls turns. My brother-in-law calls it 90 seconds of awesome when it’s your kid up there. I agree. I love every second of the entire 90 seconds. Deep deep joy, happiness, contentment fill each second. And then they prance, skip, and twirl off stage and their work is done.
JUST SPLENDID! IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!
At least for some people. Let’s just say it’s not my cup of tea. Are you thinking, “but it’s not about you, it’s about your precious little girl and her dreams of being a ballerina!” I will tell you that I told them to enjoy every second, to live it up, to dance their little hearts out. I will tell you that I have a low threshold for stress, and my kids are happiest when our lives do not involve recitals, or anything that puts me on edge. (On edge is not really being truthful, it puts me over the edge.) They were blissfully happy when I told them ballet was over for awhile and they would get to start gymnastics in the Fall.
Now for anyone who is still reading, I’m guessing just about 12% of those who started at the beginning, let me say that I fully understand that this is a privilege. And being a privilege to put my kids in any extracurricular, it is one that I can deny at any point. That is what make it a privilege, the freedom of choosing. My girls are adorable ballerinas, and they are adorable when we sit around and play UNO, or when they are riding their bikes. So for awhile, I am turning down the choice of Ballet, but my deep respect to the dance moms who pull it all off un-phased. Bless you!