No, don’t worry, it’s not my daughter giving up dance. It’s me.
42 year old me who is really old enough to know better than to think she can do dance lessons.
But I did do them, for over five years, and I loved them. For a little while, ‘dancer’ was one of the ways I defined myself. It was there on my Twitter bio and my blog, along with ‘mum, blogger, runner, chocaholic’.
My daughter and I went to the same dance school. We started there at the same time. I was 36, she was 4.
I was pretty crap, but I learned quite fast for the first couple of years. I was thrilled to get the dancer of the term trophy and even more thrilled to get the senior most improved dancer trophy (in the whole school, not just my class).
But then something happened. The dances got harder. Everyone else in my class could keep up. They were doing lots of classes and get better and better all the time. And I was stuck. Finding it harder and harder to remember. Baby brain is totally a thing, even when your youngest is 10.
Although it’s not so much baby brain now as ‘overwhelmed mum brain’. Most of the others weren’t mums. And they certainly weren’t mums of three big kids, who always needed to be somewhere. Their brains weren’t whirring with logistics of parents’ evenings, lifts, Scout camps and homework. When your brain is full of that, there’s no room for dance moves.
Last year, I decided to do two dance classes. I enjoyed them, but double the classes meant double the stress as those moves refused to lodge into my brain. We do a show every year and every class performs two dances. I had FOUR DANCES to learn. I spent every evening for two months practising those damn dances in the kitchen and I still didn’t nail them.
I decided to give up.
But then there was a light at the end of the tunnel. A new class. An intermediate street class.
I loved the intermediate street class. It was like the old days. A style I loved and moves I could both do and remember. The pace was slower. I went from being the worst to being one of the best. I could keep up!
But it wasn’t like the old days, because the people from the old days were in their hard classes and I missed them. I didn’t gel with the new people. The ‘old’ gang were younger than me, but this lot were much, much younger than me,
And the kids’ activities didn’t go away. There was the panto, there were parents’ evenings, there were random extra Explorers meetings, there were after-school activities and there was a husband that worked late most Thursdays. Sometimes, I had to leave my boys at home and take my daughter to sit quietly and watch my class.
And then I realised.
It wasn’t worth it any more. I didn’t need it any more. I didn’t need the stress of fitting it into a life which is already overwhelming, I didn’t need to be stuck in a room full of people that didn’t know me or like me.
So I gave up. I thought I might miss it, but I don’t. The time was right for me.
It’s time to focus completely on being a dance mum, not a dancer.