SHE SAID WHAT?!
Posted By Alyssa Benefit
The “Dance Mom” reality revolution has begun thanks to the show on TLC. However, mine began some 23 years ago and the two scenarios are not all that different.
My mother has always been my number one fan, and I could not be more thankful for that. And, I must say, she was mild compared to some of my friends’ mothers. However, it is easy for me to classify her as a “Dance Mom” because…well…she was. She would never think of walking in to my third grade class and telling my teacher how to teach me math. Nor would she question how I was figuring out the latest algebra problem in high school. But, when it came to my placement in a competition dance, or how my costume made my body look, or even how my dance teacher was speaking to me, my mom was all over it like white on rice!
The dance world is extremely competitive and not all that different from how it is portrayed on the reality show. My sister and I danced 5 days a week for numerous hours per day. I LOVED to dance and was good at it, but never good enough to make it a career. I knew this and still enjoyed it as my only after-school activity. My mother, on the other hand, was very wrapped up in the “world” and always wanted me to strive to be the best of the best, as any mother should. However, when she spoke to the teachers about how I was feeling about a certain costume, or complained to the studio director when I went home crying, I would cringe. I never needed my mom to fight my battles in life, and for everything else, she wouldn’t. For some reason, the competitive world of dance made things different.
I don’t agree with the whole idea of a “dance mom” and have promised myself that when my children get older I won’t do that with sports or dance. I understand that parents want the best for their kids, but I also believe that kids need to be able to express themselves when something is wrong or be able to speak to their parents in confidence about how they are feeling without the fear of a parent/teacher conference coming out of it.
SHE SAID WHAT?!
Posted By Jean Lemenager
In my defense of being a so-called “Dance Mom,” I have to say that it might have come across that way to some but I saw it as protecting my kids. No one wants to see their children hurt in any capacity.
I always told my girls to pick one after-school activity and go for it. When dance became a way of life for them, that’s when I decided I would become their biggest advocate. Yes, there were plenty of tears and nerves, and that’s when the dance mom or just the mom in me came out—especially when I was told “well, we know who the natural is in your family.” It’s funny, but who wants to hear anything like that when you’re dishing out thousands of dollars a year just so your children can have fun?
When I watch the “Dance Moms” show on TV, I think, “Wow, what people will do to get thier children ahead.” But when I look at those kids, they just don’t seem happy at all. I hope and pray that’s not the case because dancing is such a great way to express yourself and really just let loose. Believe me, moms. You know you’re becoming a dance mom when you start choreographing for your own kids. Now that’s a scary thing. I didn’t get to that point. I did leave that up to the teachers—with a few comments from the side lines! Well, after all, those are my kids you’re teaching!
Call me a dance mom or soccer mom or any athlete’s mom. In the end, it’s what we mothers do for our children. Don’t ever tell us not to interfere, we so will!