Thursday, March 2, 2017

Finding My Dance Mom Groove

I'm now on year three of being a "dance mom", and I have to admit, I'm finally feeling like I kinda sorta know what I'm doing.

I've gotten quite good at making a bun quickly, and making that bun look stage ready.

I know how to prep for quick changes - unless it's under 10 minutes, it's not worth stressing anymore.

I've gotten good at doing eyeliner on a six year old, despite there being very few tutorials on how to do such a thing.

I know how to organize and pack the Dream Duffel. I know what to put into that Dream Duffel to accommodate most last minute requests. Extra tights? Got them. Forgot your hair net? I have ten more. Can't dig out your hairspray? Use my back up can. Did a costume rip? I have safety pins, fabric tape, fabric glue, and a sewing kit. No, seriously, it's not a problem. It all evens out in the end. If I'm scrabbling for a bobby pin, there are a few moms who will have one in my hand before I can even request it.

I know what food to pack that will get eaten, and what food will be totally ignored in the face of more tempting options.

I know how to effectively wash eyeliner and hairspray off a six year old in the span of one calm shower, rather than multiple hair washings and scrubbing eyes with makeup remover while an overtired dancer wails that you are stinging her eyes. (Seriously, kids clarifying shampoo and a makeup eraser are magic).

I know how to plan out the day, from what time we need to wake up, to what time we need to leave, to what time we need to leave if I want to stop for coffee (always), to whether or not I do hair and make up at home or at the competition, to what time we need to get there so we kind find the dressing room and set up, to how much time we have to pee and change before we are required to be stage ready. I know that my most reliable companion on these trips is my navigation system, and that all of us know that we need to "listen to the lady" when she guides us through a city that I hate driving in to a theater with questionable parking, or to a totally out of the way high school buried in a tiny town. I know when it makes more sense to use Waze, and when my old reliable Google Maps is the way to go.

I finally kind of understand how awards work, and what they mean, and how to explain them to people, from my six year old dancer, to her totally confused grandmother, to the new dance mom who is trying to figure out which of the seventeen varieties of gold is good, and if we should be excited or not.

I know that annoyances flare up when you're stressed, and it's totally tempting to vent and gossip about, but it's totally not worth holding a grudge because someone irritated you on a competition day. It's a long day, a long weekend, a long season, and if your kids end up sticking with it, it's even longer. Sure, you might have one dance BFF who you would totally trust no matter what, and yeah, there will always be that one mean mom who you just can't make yourself like because she forgot that high school ended a long time ago, but generally, the drama is just going to make things worse and having an "us and them" mentality, even if it's in your own head, is just not worth it. And when you see a mom who hasn't figured that out yet, you know that it's best to just be nice and helpful to everyone, and hopefully, she'll figure it out.

I've figured out that the "older" moms aren't as intimidating as they seemed at first, and if you ask for help, they're awesome. Sure they're tight - they've been doing this for a long time and multiple twelve hour days surrounded by hairspray fumes have a way of bonding people. But they're not a closed circle either.

Three years...and I'm kind of getting it.

And I'm realizing that, out of all the activities Madison could have possibly gravitated toward, it's one I'm actually happy to be a part of.
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