Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Wanted - dance mom

Posted June 2, 2013

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the past week, mostly because this is dance recital week — one rehearsal and three very long recitals. This follows a season of competitions and parades surrounded by many practices. I have come to the conclusion that I need to hire a real dance mom

The ad on Craigslist would read something like this: “Wanted, Dance Mom. Must be able to do hair and makeup on the fly, coordinate costumes (mend and tailor them when necessary) and have lots of free time and plenty of patience.”

Those of you who know me or have followed my musings on parenthood probably can see why I am not at all qualified for this job on many different levels. Sure, I play a dance mom, but I always fall short.

The first year we did dance, I had my daughter’s costumes slung over my arm in a plastic dry-cleaning bag. When she asked for makeup, I handed her my makeup out of my purse. When she asked for snacks, I dug in the bottom of that same purse for quarters to feed the machine.

Admittedly, I am a little better prepared now with a real hanging bag, her very own set of makeup and a small cooler of healthy snacks for both of us. But I still have to rely on other mothers’ wisdom to create the entire look.

“How are we supposed to get all that hair in the front to stand up in that poof again?” I ask someone for the one hundredth time.

“Mom, you make me look like a raccoon. You have no idea how to put on eye liner,” my little cherub reminds me yet again. Amanda Lamb's daughter is ready to dance!

Plus, the biggest issue is that I can never be on time due to the responsibilities of the 6:00 news. The shows and rehearsals always start way before I can get there, which means I have pinch hitters helping her get ready — her sister, babysitters, other mothers.

So, the logical conclusion is to simply find someone who is better at this than I am which shouldn’t be too hard to do. I haven’t set the bar very high.

“Mommy, I’m sorry. I know this is hard for you,” my daughter said to me the other day as I tried to match the different types of tights with her various costumes based on an email printout from the dance school.

“It’s OK, baby, as long as you love it, we will do it,” I replied with a weak smile. The last thing I wanted to do was make her feel guilty about doing something she loved and was good at.

“Good, because I’d like to do it probably until I’m 18,” she said, twirling and then landing in a split on the ground next to me.

Yippee…the things we do for love…

Amanda Lamb is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.


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  • Bing Used Jun 4, 2013


  • mewubbau Jun 3, 2013

    Geez--I think this was intended to be a light hearted article about how Amanda has a hard time with her daughter's dance requirements. I was a soccer player for over 20 years and when my daughter was born had thought she would go that route b/c she had it in her genes---I was wrong! She joined dance at 4 and is now 16, she has competed for the last 6. I was a complete novice at the beginning, but I had my other dance moms and we all had our strengths! We would chip in where another lacked and I believe we set an example to our girls--that we may not be great at everything, but as a team we can work together and make it happen:) My daughter is now capable of doing her hair and make-up on her own (and the studio always is conscience of making costumes and dance moves age appropriate). She has learned so much that will extend beyond dance:) AND "Dance Moms" is not an accurate portrayal of any of my dance friends at all. Come on folks it's reality t.v.?!?!

  • blstewart99 Jun 3, 2013

    Veteran Dance mom here...last year of dance for us (recitals were this past weekend) and I am really going to miss it. We changed studio's 2 years ago because I wanted my daughter to enjoy dance, not be a slave to it. I found Heather's Dance in Knightdale and it fit our bill. BTW, most dance mom's rely on other dance mom's. We're in the same boat and we're there anyway, so don't beat yourself up over it. Enjoy the time with your daughter because it goes away very quickly!

  • Terkel Jun 3, 2013

    I guess I was the only one here who didn't know what "Dance Mom" is supposed to mean. The users of the language get lazier every day. Why write "mother of a child who's enrolled in dancing" when you can blort "Dance Mom"? Pretty soon no one will be able to formulate such a complex string in their minds, let alone express it. It's 2 hard!

  • DWH4sure Jun 3, 2013

    Veteran dance mom here, been at this for 8 years, and I STILL can't get the little front pouf to work!!! I also work full-time and my advice is: get it down to a routine and SIMPLIFY. Need a long or curly ponytail? Get a hair piece that will fit right over a bun. Trouble making a bun? Do a sock bun and pin that sucker down, or use a hairnet and wind it around the bun so the thing can't possibly move. Does your daughter's makeup seem to smear? Use waterproof makeup. Might have to sandblast it off her face later, but that stuff will STAY. My daughter and I used to practice hair and makeup once a week, for about three weeks prior to recital. We also use picture day as a "dress rehearsal" of sorts.

    And billmac52, you obviously do not have a daughter who loves to dance. Get real.

  • babbleon1 Jun 3, 2013

    Um, not trying to critique your parenting partnership, but where's her dad? Have you explored having him step up?

    It sounds like you need a consistent backup, and he is the other parent. Take him with you a couple of times. Show him how to mend costumes with fabric glue and basting, and if he's a handy guy, tell him it's just carpentry with softer materials. Makeup? Just paint (though your daughter will start to take that over soon, I expect).

    I'm all about dance and mom time, but one of the things I like best about my parenting partnership is that my husband can do *anything* I can do, and he's often better (I am a lousy cook, insufficient patience). Show him the routine one time, he can take over, and by the second time, he's found ways to make it better.

  • bjgupton Jun 3, 2013

    wow, read her post again. She is writing a blog about her life and what happens in it - she feels she is not up to being a dance mom, but she will continue to try because her daughter loves it. People that know about dance, know that Dance Moms is an EXTREME, it is a staged show. I work for a dance competition company and even though there can be drama, it is NOTHING like Dance Moms. I applaud you Amanda for helping your daughter do something she clearly loves... She may not remember all the years of classes, rehearsals, recitals, costumes, make-up; but she will remember that her Mom, a working Mom, was there with her as she danced.

  • blueskyglass Jun 2, 2013

    billmac52, did you even read her post? This is clearly about her daughter's love for dance. Trust me, I have known so many of the "Dance Moms" in real life, and yes, they can be that horrible. Amanda is nothing like that!
    Also, the teacher decides what costume and hair/make-up the girls wear for each dance, (and trust me, it is not a cheap hobby!!) My daughter was in dance for 3 years, and thankfully, she decided to move on and try new things this year.
    Amanda, I love you and respect you. There are so many times I feel like we are lost sisters. Please stay strong and keep the great relateable stories coming. If either of us ever had a breathing MOMent to ourselves, I would love to take you out to lunch. Have a completely awesome summer! Juli McCallister

  • billmac52 Jun 2, 2013

    Psychologically, it seems that mothers who dress up their daughters (makeup, clothes, jewelry) are doing it more for their own ego than their daughter's; the TV show Dance Moms is a perfect example of this. Ms lamb - allow your daughter to be a child and stop making her look like 10 years older than she is.