I didn’t set out to be a dance mom.
I simply signed up my oldest for tap and ballet when she was 3 because I thought she would enjoy it. And she did!
And then, at the end of the year, the dance teacher started talking about moving the kids up to the next class. And so I moved my daughter up to the next class. The same thing happened the year after that. And the year after that. And it just continued.
And now here we are, six years in, with two daughters on their way to becoming real dancers.
See how that happened? Now, teachers are starting to talk about tryouts for the “big girl” dance classes, and I’m starting to understand what jazz shoes are. (Actually, no I’m not. I still don’t know why they’re necessary.)
I didn’t think about the future when I began this little dancing charade. But now, both girls are hooked.
And I’m finally realizing we’re in this for the long haul, so I better get on board and figure things out.
As an accidental dance mom, these are the things I did not know.
1. I’m expected to volunteer to help at recitals… EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.
2. Recitals require tickets. Ticket distribution is complicated. I don’t do complicated. Instead, I forget about ticket distribution, and my husband has to stand in line to wait for tickets on the day of the recital. I can’t stand in line because I’m volunteering… AGAIN.
3. Costumes must be floofy. It is my responsibility to keep the costumes hung upside down in my closet so they can floof to a satisfactory level. I then must floof them up even more on recital day. I am expected to just understand the proper amount of floof.
In addition, there are accessories that are crucial for the performance. I must keep these all together in a bag, and I must account for them during bathroom breaks. If my little dancer is missing an accessory, she isn’t allowed to dance, and we will all die inside.
4. Costume measurements are taken at the beginning of the year, which means it’s all just a wild estimate as to how the costume will fit by the last recital. This means I can almost always be counted on to select a size that is far too big. This also means somebody needs to figure out how to alter said gigantic costume. That somebody is typically my MacGyver husband.
(Thank goodness somebody knows what he’s doing.)
5. I have to paint my daughters’ faces to resemble women of the night. Apparently, this is important so their faces can be seen from the audience. But my eyesight is so bad, their beautiful features are lost on me no matter how much mascara is coated on their eyelashes. And who else cares? Nobody else is looking at my daughters. They’re watching their own.
But… evidently, this line of thinking is wrong. I know this because, as a volunteer, I was instructed to whip out my lipstick and apply it on a fresh-faced 5-year-old sitting next to me because her mom apparently doesn’t understand the face painting thing either. I felt very wrong applying makeup to a child I don’t know, but if the wide eyes and worried look of her teacher were any indication, my lipstick application was critical to the success of the show.
For someone who still doesn’t know how to wear lipstick, this whole thing is a challenge.
6. I don’t do eyes. Eyes are grosser than blood to me; more frightening than needles, clowns, or the giant marshmallow man from Ghostbusters. I can manage to put makeup on my own eyes, but just barely. When I’m tasked with jazzing up my precious daughters’ faces with eyeliner and *gulp* mascara, I just about die.My poor daughters will soon be developing complexes from watching me literally gag as I try to hold the mascara wand near their eyes. I have to constantly reassure them: “Your eyes are beautiful. This is just not Mommy’s talent.”
During our most recent recital prep, I broke out in actual sweats while trying to apply eyeliner to my 5-year-old, and my husband stepped in to do the job. While his hand was steady, he knows even less than me about makeup application. The end result was satisfactory.
But remember, I couldn’t see their faces anyway, so it doesn’t matter. Only, it does. (See above.)
7. I can learn how to do hair. Dance teachers have specific rules for hairstyles on recital day. I have learned how to insert an extra hair piece when my daughter’s hair is too short for the hairstyle, how to do a killer bun, and how to use hair products appropriately. I cannot, however, properly curl hair. Baby steps. But there is nothing in life that makes me more proud than my successful hair accomplishments. Nothing.
8. This means there may be hope for eyeliner. Maybe.