The Girl and I love watching that silly “Dance Moms” show. It’s nothing more than mindless drama, with some good dance competitions thrown in. She danced for a few years. Not only that, as a tween girl, the dancers on “Dance Moms” have some celebrity status. We’ve binge watched up to five episodes at a time on a rainy Saturday and seen almost all of them. While it might not be sad for her to admit watching, I’m surprising even myself by saying it out loud.
If you haven’t seen it, here goes: The show is set at the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) in Pittsburgh, when the show begins. Its cast consists of less than a dozen elite status young dancers and their mothers. As the title implies, there’s very little to do with the dancers. It’s all about the moms.
They bicker over the stupidest things, like who will be dancing with whom, who gets a solo at this week’s competition, or which girl has the cutest costume. Sometimes it’s easy to empathize with the angry mom. After all, she’s just looking out for her kid, right? In most instances, the mom is mad, and the kid’s over there minding her own business.
You read about those parents getting involved at the baseball field, yelling at the umps and whatnot. I’ve seen it, having two kids who do theater. Parents, uh, mostly moms, bickering over the silliest things. What gives, y’all?
Newsflash: Most kids aren’t out to take something from another kid. They’re doing whatever it takes to get something for themselves. Do you see the difference? It doesn’t mean they’re not in competition with the other kids; that’s the nature of the beast. Teams beat other teams. Someone gets the role, and someone does not.
I’m interrupting my own soapbox to let y’all know I’m not totally clueless. There are exceptions to every scenario. All of them. I know. Thanks.
In our experience as parents — which is limited to a brief 13 years — kids, while sad when things don’t go their way, don’t tend to hate on their peers in the meantime. That’s where the parents come in.
My kids do what they do because they want to do what they do. It’s their passion, and it brings them joy. It comes with a great deal of hard work, but they love it. What about yours? Are they doing what they want? Or are they doing what you want? When my kids’ things become my things, I quit. It’s not any fun watching them do anything that doesn’t make them happy.
OK, I lied. I love watching them empty and load the dishwasher. It doesn’t ever make them happy, but I’m satisfied as all get out when I get to watch them do chores I don’t wanna do. I have home videos, and I’m thinking of investing in uniforms and a hefty practice schedule. No trophies for participation, though. I have my limits.
My point? If you’re having to constantly step in and go to bat for them, getting mad at other little kids and moms along the way, shouldn’t you quit? Their talents, along with their effort and your support, will get them exactly where they need to be. Getting mad at all the other moms (and kids) not only embarrasses your kids, but it doesn’t look all that good on you. I don’t know about you, but there’s not much better than watching my kids succeed at something they’ve earned. Otherwise, I’d still be sitting on the soccer field, watching my boy chase his shadow, while the rest of the team ran the other way to score a goal.
I’ve been fortunate to have met really great parents on the field, at school, and in the theatre. Sure, there have been a few Dance Moms, too, but they are obvious from a mile away. And that’s where I’ll be. A mile away. I’ll have wine if you want to join me. Cheers!