I was in tears bawling this morning in a parent meeting with a dance pro about how to be a parent of a dancer and not stifle their dance passion, don’t critique them and make it not fun (this will apply to the boy sport’s as well). When she was a 2-year-old in a mom and me class and performed for the first time on stage I never expected to be here, the place where I am dedicating my whole life on a The Hubs’ Birthday weekend to her dance. She was so in love with the stage and the audience that first performance. She had done her little routine bowed and when the audience clapped and applauded she turned and looked at the audience and clapped with them! She was like “Yeah that was good!” No one told me I would be here! Where the fuck is the parent manual for this?!
In the parent meeting today the instructor talked about being the parent, not critiquing your child, hugging you child when they need to be hugged, making them take and extra class when they need. Her (the presenter’s) mom made her dance with the strictest teachers. If she had a rough class her mom made her take another class when the teacher said she didn’t focus too well. This is relevant today because I sit here watching the Girl is having a rough day. She keeps looking at me to relive her of her task. She is not feeling good today. Every time I catch her doing well she slouches and gives me the “I can’t do this because I am sick” look. I am one who doesn’t accept the word I can’t from my kids. She has been getting sick as the weekend has progressed. Tight now it is hour 6 of Day 3 of convention that started at 10am on Friday for her (most of the time conventions start late afternoon so this is an extra-long). She was up all night last night coughing. I know she is struggling. I want her to work through it. Dance has always been easy for her. She has a natural talent and ability and is very good. She won First place overall at one competition this year, for goodness sake. At the last convention we were at the owner of the convention said to her “you have so much potential, just don’t get lazy in classes.” I want her to work through it. I know she is sick I still want her to work through it! I want to be a good mom and I don’t know what I should be doing right now. I don’t want to over push her, but I can’t lower my standards to appease her.
In this parent class this morning I was trying to figure out what I needed to do to get her to work when she needs to. She has to make that decision. But like the mom of the presenter of the parent meeting, I don’t have to let her out of it easy. She is here because she wants to dance. Dance is not always easy and I want her to not quit and always get better. I also need to accept her for who she is too! The presenter said she made her mom the bad guy because she made her work so hard but now she thanks her mom for being that way. Do I have to wait until The Girl is a presenter at a National Dance Convention Company for my efforts to pay off?
It is similar in sports with The Boy. He had a rough end of the Wrestling season and would lose his first match and decide he was going lose them all. I was so frustrated watching him do that too, the same way. Why can’t they get the ‘I will work harder and learn from this’ lesson. I feel like every time the Girl catches me watching her she makes sure I know how much pain she is dealing with. I know this is just a weekend. This is not how it is for her all the time. I love watching her dance she is good. I love her. I want her and the Boy to see their passion and work for it because they want to. Not because they are scared I will be mad at them or take away their activities. I really do mean well. I know the kids will find their passion. I know one day they will thank me for pushing them just enough to keep them going. But that is a very fine line!
On a side note The Boy wants to take Ballet! Our ballet teacher is so excited to hear that. I vow to work better at doing things for the kids being there to push them to follow through and work through the rough times and leave my ego behind when I, I mean, they don’t get the results I, I mean, they want. She is here to have fun! She may not be having fun so much because she doesn’t feel good but she is doing what she loves, I will express that I am proud of her for pushing through and give her that credit. I will try to highlight the good that she did it and maybe I will highlight how much she will have to do that as she gets to be an adult and it is worth learning how to tough through things as a child too. I want to be the parent who loves my kids enough to keep them going. Not in a way to spoil them to never have to work hard, but know how to keep going when it gets tough. It is my job to teach them to be successful humans, not to give them a life without pain or without hard work! I have shed tears here in the parent meeting when I realized I do a lot of what the famous presenter’s mom did to keep her going so it was a little affirmation I might be doing a good job, even though she wasn’t as happy with her mom as I would want my daughter to be happy with me. That is not what I always will feel I am getting from her so I need to just get over it, I am doing what I think is good and right, I don’t need her to know or acknowledge that. I am working hard at being a good mom, I will probably, like most moms never be told that by my kids until they are 35 like me. When they are in the same boat, I will be able to say “this is what I did with you and you turned out pretty good so you can try the same or do your own way.” One day I will accept myself and my kids for who we are. Until then I will struggle with figuring out do I push harder or do hug. Just never critique. I love my kids and love the people they are becoming. They have a lot of growing and molding to do I just don’t want to break them!
For the record I just looked up and she is up front (which if you have never been to a competition that is prime real-estate in the front row right in front of the stage). She is smiling and doing really well right now! And she is in tap class, which is not her favorite but I saw the instructor look at her and smile. That was good enough for me to affirm pushing her out there to just dance was the right decision!