I’ve found myself looking back at old FB posts and realize that, wow, I might actually be THAT mom. But its not quite what you think. My daughter started gymnastics doing the mommy & me classes when she was about 15 months old. Totally adorable, but at some point she started to lose interest, and as a good mom, I let her try something else.
So, we got her into dance and she started competing with solos when she was 6. Yes, that’s pretty young, and something I said I’d NEVER allow MY child to do. You know, competing at such a young age, I felt like good parents wouldn’t push their kid that way. But I kept re-evaluating it and at the end of the day, it really was her driving. Yeah, I do push her to do her best. I make her practice more than her peers. I always do more than the minimum and make my kids follow that lead.
I got quite a bit of push back from a good friend (and others) last season because she felt like I was too aggressive and competitive. She, rightfully so, only saw my negativity. I mean, I’d watch my daughter (and her team for group numbers) dance and point out things I thought could be done better. Improvements they needed to make. I’d get frustrated when I’d see my daughter focused and working harder, with more dedication than her teammates (perhaps because things came more easily to them and SHE had to work at it) and complain about it to the other moms (I’m not saying she was actually better, but she was definitely putting in the effort to get there.) That certainly didn’t earn ME any friends. Can you say “crazy dance mom”?
But what they didn’t see, is that my attitude really, truly, was just an extension of what my daughter was feeling. I’m a very empathetic person, I feel what others are feeling, and then express them as if its my own. My daughter wanted feedback. She likes to fix mistakes. And she gets very, very disappointed when her peers are not living up to her expectations.
Yes, I TOTALLY like seeing my daughter in the spotlight. I love the fact that she’s actually got some legitimate talent and boy do I like to see her flaunt it. She’s particularly small for her age, so even more basic things just seem more impressive because you don’t usually see other kids her size do them (even though she’s usually a couple years older than those her size.)
But here’s the thing. I let her do these things, and push her to do them well, because I know she’s got passion. She’s got attitude. She’s dedicated. She’s spunky, smart-mouthed, and just dang cute.
I push her because I know that in real life, in real jobs, the real world I am supposed to prepare her for, it’s competitive. It’s beyond survival of the fittest. To be really successful in almost any job, you have to do better than your best. Continually try to improve yourself. Work hard. It doesn’t matter what the job, I’m talking even just in the role of a parent as an example, we should never feel good about just settling for “good enough.”
She’s now on a competitive all-star extreme cheer & stunt team. She’s 8 1/2 years old and practices with her team for 10 hours a week and does semi-private gymnastics lessons another hour a week. Plus stretching at home. And tumbling in the yard. And dancing around in her bedroom. She complained last week when I picked her up 15 minutes early from practice because, in her words, “but my team is counting on me.” She chooses this. I encourage & support her choices. Yep. I’m that mom.
Brandi is a childbirth educator and birth doula living in West Fargo, ND. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, knitting and filling up her craft room with new projects when she isn’t helping families create their birth experience. You can find her actively posting on Facebook & Instagram. #dayspringdoula