I have a confession to make – I am a dance mom. No,.not one those whackadoos on Dance Moms, but I have a daughter who competes in dance and I am her mom. Fortunately, our studio is nothing like the Abby Lee Dance Company, but then again we aren’t on TV either. Some of their behavior definitely has to be scripted for ratings – at least this is what I tell myself so I do not have to worry about the future of civilization. I wanted to explore the different breeds of dance moms I see each day either at our studio or out and about at competition. Again, this is in good natured fun. The women I have the privilege of co-dance momming with are lovely ladies, but each has unique ways of navigating the competition world. I like to think of them as different breeds of animals.
The lioness: She is all about being the leader of the pack and this goes for her child as well. She wants her child to be in the most competitive of groups at all times and will not accept loss. She is the mom who can be heard muttering, “Second place? What is WRONG with her?” Nothing but first place is ever acceptable. Her child practices more than any other and makes sure everyone knows it. She wants to best for her child and thinks the only way for this to happen is for her child to be the best.
The fox: She is clever and devious. She is a master at working behind the scenes. This mom knows all of the secrets everyone else is keeping, but no one knows hers. She is often making side deals with teachers and other parents, but you never know which ones she is going to honor. She is always looking for the best possible arrangement for her child and has no qualms about trading up and breaking her word. She wants the best for her child and will do anything to anyone to make it happen.
The sheep: the follower of the pack. This mom is typically found following behind the lioness. She seeks the protection of a stronger, dominant leader. This mom is concerned her child is “not good enough”, so she wants her to be seen with a child who is “the best” and hopes her child will be viewed as better than she actually is. Riding the coattails of a more advanced child is the way this mom hopes to get her to the top.
The monkey: She sacrifices everything for dance – school, friendships, time with family. Outside interests are not encouraged because there is never enough time. She is not interested in anything that will not support her child’s dance “career”. If this kid doesn’t become a professional dancer, she may be doomed to ask, “Do you want fries with that?” for the rest of her life.
The turtle: She disappears into her shell. This mom is never at the studio. She is either busy with her career or other kids or she is just not interested in dance. She has no idea what is going on in her child’s classes, what the costumes look like, or even where/when the next competition might be. This is often a point of pride for her – she loves that she cares so little.
The poodle: She spends and spends and spends to garner the affection of dance teachers and studio owners alike. She will provide expensive gifts, but it is not only money she spends, it is time, too. She will plan parties, pick up their laundry, run their errands, and pay for endless number of private lessons. She seems to fear her child will not be accepted on her own merits, so this mom tries to buy their way into the inner circle.
The grumpy cat: The mom who is never satisfied. No matter what happens at the studio, she is displeased. If her child does not get a spot on a team, she is upset her child was left out. When she gets a spot, this mom is upset about the expense or whether her child is highlighted enough. Costumes are never nice enough or are too expensive or are too revealing. The choreography is either too easy or too difficult. She never likes anything. Ever.
The bear: This mama is all about protecting her cub. She diligently watches out for any possible slight or transgression. Beware if you harm her little one, this mama’s bite is definitely worse than her bark. Her protection can be overpowering and may stop her young dancer from standing on her own two feet. Ideally this mama bear will allow her cub to leave the den, but will always keep a watchful eye.
You have now explored the wonderful animal kingdom of the dance mom. Most dance moms have bits and pieces of many of these animals. Qualities of these animals are healthy in moderation, it is when they are taken to the extreme they are detrimental. These creatures are not exclusive to the wonderful world of dance, but also exist among a variety of other extracurricular activities – baseball, soccer, gymnastics, swim. Did I miss anyone? Your suggestions are most welcome and additions to the animal kingdom are always possible.