I’ve Known Plenty of Dance Moms – But I’ve Never Been One Until Now…

If you’d have told me five years ago that I’d be a dance mom, I’d have given you side-eyes with a firm, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” It’s funny how unexpected things end up happening in life.

About a year ago, my daughter’s dance teacher asked if I’d ever given thought to putting Emma on the school’s competition team.

I hadn’t. Not once. To be honest, there were a bunch of reasons why NOT to:  it was a try-out and I didn’t want her to be rejected at such a young age, it was a time-consuming commitment, it can get pretty pricey with classes – and she was just six at the time – a bit young I thought.



Don’t get me wrong: I love the fact that my daughter has a love of dance,  and it’s a prideful moment when an instructor recognizes your child’s potential and wants to nurture it. But I began having visions of hair and makeup, obnoxious stage moms and on and on.

I have two older daughters, but was never a dance mom. My girls were into softball and soccer. They took a dance class once and did NOT like it at all. So I was everything BUT a dance mom.

Emma’s been dancing since she was 2. But, this is completely different. 100%.

My husband and I deliberated quite a bit over this decision. Did we want our free time to be tied up with dance class and competitions? What about Ella? Would I have to drag our then 3-year old to all that stuff?

Though the answer to all of these questions was, “No” we felt that Emma was given this opportunity for a reason. She worked hard at dance, loved it – and deserved this chance. So we basically left it up to her.

She crushed it.

And loved it.

You know the saying – happy wife, happy life… well that may be true – but happy kids, happy life works, too! Dancing makes her happy.

Still, I was nervous. Some of the moms in the group had known each other and done this whole dance thing already. They seemed to have a bond. I think I was more nervous than Emma! lol

Flash-forward one year  – the end of the season. The competitions are over. The recitals are history. The year was wrapped up with a beautiful banquet last night.

And I’m a bit bummed.

Turns out – dance moms ROCK! They’re not obnoxious. They’re not obsessed with the hair and makeup. In fact, they’re kind of a less is more kinda group. They are kind, sweet and hilarious. SO FUNNY.



The competitions are intense and since Emma’s first was held at the incredible Shea’s Performing Arts Theater – we were in the thick of things very quickly. It was so much fun. For Emma and for me.



The kids – a small group of five (6 for ballet)  – were so sweet and really got along incredibly well. They were so supportive of one another and encouraged one another. They’re so little – yet have these big personalities and big hearts, too.

But, it’s more than that. The lessons they are learning on that dance team are life long – no doubt about it. The discipline – the way they’re taught to carry themselves – the good sportsmanship  – all lessons they should – and I hope will – use throughout life.

At dance school – it’s about your character just as much as your ball change. It’s not just about your plie` – it’s about being polite, pleasant and positive. It’s about your focus as much as your footwork.



They’re learning that everything good in life – takes work.


Think about how important that is. If you work hard, you will be rewarded. Not necessarily with a trophy or ribbon – but with self-esteem and confidence.

It’s about not giving up.

It’s more than just dance. It’s a philosophy; a way to think about how the world works and why. A way to live your life – with grace, dignity and hard work!



Let’s face it, the road to success is not easy to navigate – especially for little ones –  but with hard work, drive and passion, anything is possible.

THAT is what they’re learning.

There is no substitute for hard work.

Of course, it doesn’t take dance to learn these lessons – but it is a wonderful thing to witness.

I wasn’t sure about the dance mom thing. I can tell you this – being around these moms (dads, too) and children – is NOTHING like those crazy reality shows.  All the yelling, the crying, the craziness of competitions, the break downs, the catty moms.   NOPE, I haven’t seen any of that. NONE.

Sure, I still have to watch the Youtube video 20 times before I get Emma’s hair and makeup even remotely correct. I strive to keep flyaways at bay a bit better. I am still trying to figure out the exact difference between a high bun and a middle bun. I’m not exactly sure how low the low ponytail goes. We get stressed-out finding all of the accessories and can’t for the life of us figure out what happens to all of our bobby pins.

But – none of that matters when I see the joy exuding from my sweet Emma.



Last night at the banquet all of the kids received certificates. It was absolutely wonderful. You could tell the teachers gave it an awful lot of thought – with each dancer’s award really all about them – their style, their attitude, their motivation, their quirks. It was so fun to see the girls (and boy) light up as they were called up. It’s a family. A dance family.


Who knew, right!? Emma received – The Future Leader, Run for Office Award.

I am beyond proud.

But we are taking a day off – tomorrow we have tryouts for next year.

Here we go again!!!

We can’t wait!


Mary Friona

Mary Friona

Following my heart with my husband and four daughters. An Emmy Award winning journalist lucky enough to work in television & radio for 20 years - seeing wonderful places, meeting great people and telling their stories.

Leave a comment