Life may be a stage, but don’t be a backstage mother

I have two daughters and they are both dancers. I love dancing. I love dance recitals. I loathe having to be backstage at dance recitals. Dance recitals seem to bring out the worst in lots of peeps, especially moms who put monumental pressure on themselves. They are the ones who are backstage trying to put the finishing touches on their daughters so they have “perfect” hair, “perfect” makeup, and the most “perfectly” fitted costume so they can perform “perfect” routines. To make matters worse, they expect me to be just like them. Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen.

I wish these moms realized that when they work so hard to make everything “perfect”, their kids will feel pressure to be “perfect”. This could work to harm their feelings of self-worth because they might see your expectations as too high for them to achieve. So the very thing these chicks feel they must do to be better moms could result in the opposite result of what they intended. (LITTLE WHITE LIE Alert!)

That’s right, you are actually not doing them any favors, mommy dearest. You should probably ask yourself this – are you  striving for perfection in your kid so that you look like the perfect mom? Think about that one and then think about this. “Perfect” does not exist. It’s a load of CRAP. Quit trying to reach this unachievable level of “success”. Take the same advice that we give our kids – just do your best. No one’s best is perfect, but your kids won’t care, or even notice. They’ll just be happy to have you there. That’s success.

I’ve been in the dance world with my daughters for almost 5 years now and a backstage volunteer at many dance recitals and competitions. I’ve almost lost my mind from all the chaos of the catty girls and their mothers, but my daughters like when I am there so I suck it up and do it. (that’s me doing my best, btw) Over the years, with the help of some of the other moms, I compiled a list of tips. These have helped me escape with my sanity, mostly because they have made me laugh (and kept me from hurting anyone…yet).

Top Ten List of Backstage Survival Tips

  1. Booze. (just make sure someone else is driving you – actually this is a perfect time to punish the mother in law or a great opportunity for a little student driving for your teen – shouldn’t others get to experience all this fun?? BONUS)
  2. Bring a lighter and practice making blow torches out of half empty bottles of Aqua Net.
  3. Put in your iPod ear buds to drown out the whining. If that fails, crank up some Barry Manilow tunes and let the kids have a listen. (it will scare them out of their damn tutus and might even shut them up completely)
  4. “Hey, girls – who is wearing the stage lipstick that will adhere the best to duct tape? Let’s find out!”
  5. Suggest to the girls that dancers have to become comfortable with nudity when changing costumes backstage. Then immediately explain that they should never become comfortable with nudity while ON stage. (Life Lesson  #18 from me, Mrs. Supermom – again, should scare the piss out of them if done right)
  6. Ask the question, “So what’s your favorite show on the Disney Channel?” Let them each take a turn telling you, then inform them that Disney just announced they were going off the air. Sit back and enjoy the mass hysteria. Hope that makeup is waterproof, girls!
  7. Booze.
  8. Tell them that Mrs. Supermom is dealing with some anger issues and is heavily medicated for their safety, but just in case, they should probably not get to close to her. (also in this same spirit, refer to yourself in the third person)
  9. Bring your hot glue gun and offer your services for any last-minute  “alterations” to costumes.
  10. Bobby pin origami. Tell the girls you read that Selena Gomez is holding a contest for the best bobby pin “art” creation. First prize is a date with Justin Bieber. Sure, you know how hard it is to mold a bobby pin, but the point here is to keep the girls busy. You might get lucky and score enough free time to go pee!


Copyright © 2011 Little White Lion
All Rights Reserved


5 responses

  1. Funny stuff! But you’re right about the Perfect child reflection on the perfect Mom. And it IS a load of crap. I live in the land of the beauty pageant – there’s a “Miss” everything – Grits, Okra, Mt. Pisgah, you name it. And all these Moms who couldn’t cut it in the pageants themselves are pushing and shoving their toddlers into them like the kids actually want to do it. God Help Us – they’ll be running the world some day.

    • Heidi, don’t worry about them running the world some day! They’ll be too busy dressing their toddlers up for the Miss Pig in a Poke Pageant to care about silly things like the economy or third world nations! And if they decide to care, we’ll just throw another can of Aqua Net at them! 😉 (and this of course is not directed at the Mrs. Supermom’s of the world. I’d be happy to sit backstage with you and drink booze.)

  2. Im in Australia and this is SO true here too. im proud to say my daughter has had dancing success despite my inability as a successful dance mother, and shes done it because SHE wanted to. Could have done with those tips though at the time LOL.

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