In this episode of “Evolution of a Dance Mom: An Exposé,” I explore how a new dance mom experiences the five stages of grief. Enjoy!
After her daughter’s first-ever competition, the DM will see nothing but positives: The supportive and professional atmosphere, the fair and clearly defined judging guidelines and the beauty and grace of all the young performers. This is the classic shock and denial phase, when the DM is subconsciously unable and unwilling to look below the glitter lipstick and faux lashes to the crazy that ferments beneath.
By her third competition, however, the DM will move on to anger. She will have had it with obnoxious mothers screeching, “Own it, Maddie!” and the exorbitant tuition/entrance fees. She will mutter things like “Where’d my life go?” in her tormented sleep.
But by this point, the DM is committed. She’ll fail miserably at the bargaining stage (“If you quit, I’ll buy you a pony!”) and muddle through a few weeks of depression (“I’m sorry my tears ruined your bun, honey.”). Dark days, for certain.
As the season wraps with nationals, however, the DM will reach the last phase of acceptance. She’ll understand that her daughter has found her passion and that she must do whatever it takes to put her child’s dreams ahead of her own frustrations. The DM will have accepted the cost, the time commitment and even the requisite sequenced booty shorts. She’ll know to bring a good book, wear a pair of quality ear plugs and appreciate the endless opportunities to ruthlessly judge other women and their kids. She will have accepted her fate as a Dance Mom.