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To the Dance Mom Who Is Embarrassed by Her Daughter

04/14/2015 03:02 pm ET | Updated Jun 14, 2015
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Okay I admit it. When I see your child chewing with her mouth open, or sitting on her cell phone every spare second she's not in class, maybe I judge you a little bit. Maybe I have a moment, before the moment where I ask myself who I am to judge a mom, of judgement about your rules and your daughter's lack of manners.

It's not so much that I judge you, I suppose. I think it's more that I see your daughter as a reflection of you and your manners. And even though I know that this isn't always the case, I still can admit that at times, the thought crosses my mind.

However.

Never, in all my years, and by that I mean the past decade of teaching, choreographing, and performing with children, have I ever judged YOU by your child's abilities.

Your child's manners? Maybe. Your child's level of discipline? Most definitely.

But her abilities? Her talents, her flexibility, her memory?

That is not a reflection of you, nor should it matter if it is.

Your child is learning. Your child is in a stage of constant growth. Her bones are changing, her skin is morphing, her hormones are throwing her for a loop every other week. Her brain won't stop developing until she's at least 25, and she's going to forget choreography pretty regularly. One week she understands, the next week she's in tears.

I get that. I accept that. I was trained to work with that.

There is nothing for you to feel embarrassed about.

There is nothing about this scenario that should keep you home during a parent watch week. There is nothing about this scenario that should make you joke about your daughter's abilities in front of teachers or parents. There is nothing about this scenario that is about you.

It's not about you.

It's about your daughter's opportunity to socialize. To giggle when she trips over her own two feet. To be inspired by something other than Minecraft. To play a character. To sing along, wonderfully off-key. To smile in a mirror with a toothless mouth. To take responsibility. To figure things out. To let off some steam. To play. To learn. To strengthen.

It's not about you.

This is about your daughter's weekly chance to get physical. To move and release endorphins. To stick up for herself when her ego tells her she can't. To try new things without even thinking about it. To spin. To leap. To bend like a pretzel.

It's not about you.

She does not represent your talents. She does not reflect your abilities.

She may be an example of your work ethic. Maybe not. She may be an example of your manners. Maybe not.

But her ability to dance on the beat or remember when to enter the stage, is not a reflection of you.

We love your daughter because she's a part of our studio. We love her for showing up, even if you were too embarrassed to come inside with her. We love her for trying.

Please don't be the mom that your daughter can never impress. Please don't be the mom that your daughter feels so nervous around, she forgets everything when you're watching anyway. Please just stop it.

I mean, enough.

Show up. Applaud your daughter when she trips. Hug her when she forgets things.

Smile at her when she's nervous you're there. She's never going to get less nervous performing in front of you if you're never there to begin with. That's part of the practicing part. She can practice at home all she wants, but practicing in front of people she loves is the hardest thing to practice. I still lose my breath when my mom is in the audience. Imagine your daughter's nerves at age nine.

I can't tell you how to parent your daughter, but I can tell you, that part of being a dance parent, is supporting your daughter regardless of what's going on inside that dance room.

Help her understand how to respect her teachers? Yes please. Send her with clean leotards and snacks? Yes please.

But other than that, please just support her. Support what's going on as she grows and changes. If she loves to dance, who are you to tell her she shouldn't, just because she's not spinning like a top?

Please. This is not about you.

Your daughter deserves this opportunity to dance, and she wants it so very badly. She looks up to you so much, and she only wants to impress you. Please let her.

Please. This is not about you.

There is no need to feel embarrassed. If anything, I hope you can find the feeling of pride, for a little girl who never gives up. If she were my daughter, I know that I'd be bragging up a storm about that part.

Let's change the game. I dare you. Because this is not about you.

And your daughter will be a better person because of dance.

Let's change the game and focus on that part. That's the part that matters more than any recital or competition.

Please. Make this about her.

*This post originally appeared on the blog of Sadie Jane dancewear.