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How Did I Become a Pack Mule?

I spend many spring weekends schlepping dance costumes, shoes, hair accessories, tights, makeup, snacks & reading material to different stages throughout the area. My daughter is a dancer. And, being a dancer requires a lot of equipment—especially when we are traveling for competitions.

I don’t think that I am any different than any other parent with a child in a sport or activity. I know we all carry the equipment & essential gear when it is necessary. And, I am not asking for a medal for providing her the paraphernalia she needs for an activity for which I clearly support her participation.

That said, sometimes I enjoy knowing that I’m playing the role of dance mom pretty well. We are usually completely prepared for whatever happens during competition weekend. We have a great system for carting around all of the stuff we need. Honestly, I’m pretty pleased when it all comes together without a hitch. All of this is very surprising considering how often we are late for school because we can’t find shoes, or a jacket, or car keys.

Knowing that our day to day routine is more chaos than routine, I will even confess that I take a little bit of personal satisfaction when the hair and makeup comes out exactly as planned. I know. It seems very silly to get excited over the perfect ballerina bun on my 8 year old. But, to quote another dance mom, I enjoy “basking in the bun”. I like knowing that I’ve done the best that I can to get her prepared for her performance. Also, I recognize that this is not my accomplishment. It really is all about her.

I don’t expect her to go on to be a Radio City Rockette (although it was my childhood dream). I don’t even allow myself to pretend that she will ever choose to be a professional dancer when she grows up. After all, she is only 8, and this is just a hobby. But, what I do know is that it takes a tremendous amount of courage & confidence to dance in front of complete strangers & be judged. I hope as she matures, she remembers that when she is in front of an audience, she doesn’t need to be afraid.

When I am whining about getting up early & loading all of that stuff in the trunk, can you please remind me that I gain something out of this too? What I gain from this experience is remembering to be more organized. And, I get to see her giant smile when she walks off stage completely satisfied with her performance.

So, I will take my invisible gold star for getting all of the stuff she needs to the right place at the right time, and I will hide it with the other parenting wins. (I recognize I will lose just as many of those invisible stars as I gain for all of my Mom Fails.)

But, what she gains is invaluable. For every time that I am her Sherpa for a weekend, she reminds me that confidence is a learned skill.

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Article by FairyTaleMom

My name is Mom. I live in Fairy Tale Land with a Pirate, a Fairy and the Princess. My job duties include: head cook, Chief Executive of Laundry Operations, Vacuum Maintenance Engineer, Chief of Picking up Random objects and Primary Sherpa. I spend a great deal of time carrying sparkly, sequined, glitter covered tutus and miscellaneous dance shoes for the Princess. I long for moments of quiet and a mani/pedi. Trying to strike a balance between being a grown up and being a good mom. FairyTaleMom tagged this post with: Read 52 articles by

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2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Alex says:

    I love the pictures of her in her tutu and leotard. I loved dance (although I did jazz) and I would adore having my daughter dance! (but she can do whatever she wants. And we may hire a pack mule.)

  2. FairyTaleMom says:

    I could perhaps recommend someone, we pack mules travel together.

    I think the leotard and tutu are my favorite costume this year, but she also does tap, jazz and musical theater. And I schlep costumes for each discipline. So long as she enjoys it, I will happily carry it all…

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