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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Balancing work and "dance mom" duties


msd

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....And men say WOmen are the weaker sex!!!!!!!..... :clapping:

I don't know of any man who really believes that.

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  • vagansmom

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  • danceintheblood

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  • Marga

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SInce I work basically fulltime, and my daughter gets home from HS around 2:30, I pay her to cook dinner before she leaves for ballet everyday. This way I can work later and since she has to leave by 5:00 she can't get a job herself. She eats before she goes and the rest of the family has a nice home cooked meal when we get home. She also loves to cook (at least for now). The next step is to get her to plan the meals and do the grocery shopping.

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Thank you, BW! I just saw your congratulatory note and appreciate your response to my post very much. The best thing of all was finally (after obsessive daily clicking on the ballet company's site) seeing her name listed among the dancers. A small thing to some, but to me it is the validation of those 9 years of work. It says right there, in "print", that she made it!

 

The company is the Estonian National Ballet, and we, being Estonian, have the pride of our whole community behind her, as she is the first Estonian outside of Estonia to dance with them. She had never even visited the country before and now she lives there in her own apartment. Coming from a family of 6 children, she finally has her own room!

 

She is in awe of the company members -- "They're SO good!" -- and is having a bit of a struggle in this transition time between ballet school and company. At 17, she is the youngest company member by nearly 2 years, and there is no one else in the same "boat" as her. Hers is a good example of a big fish in a small sea becoming a small fish in a big (51 dancers) sea.

 

Needless to say, the money spent every month on lessons is now going to overseas phone calls with lots of pep talks! As well, I am encouraging my son to add back a few of his dropped dance classes so that I will have reason to drive to the old studio more than once a week. Going cold turkey at my age is just too hard!

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:clapping: In keeping with the sub-title of this thread, I do have a "secret" to add, although it is hardly "best-kept" or even hidden:

 

For the past year I have been knitting leg warmers, especially while I watched my children's dance classes. I became absolutely addicted to the activity, which began when I was looking for patterns in order to knit some for my daughter, and it quickly became a passion. (Thank you, Leigh Witchel, for having your legwarmer pattern online!)

 

I never go anywhere without my knitting and even pick up the needles while waiting in those interminably long left-hand-turning lanes as I drive around the city and suburbs.

 

I have knit about 70 pairs of leg warmers over the last 13 months and sell them to dancers. Had I begun knitting again when my daughter started her ballet training, it could have (almost) paid for all those expensive years of instruction!

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Marga, yours is a truly heartwarming story. Thank you so much for giving us the amazing background on your daughter's new profession. Here's a link (in English) for your daughter's company which appears to be part of The Estonian National Opera. :huepfen:

 

 

And as for your legwarmer addiction, perhaps you ought to consider sending in a report to The Guiness Book of World Records? :flowers: But seriously, that is a wonderful addiction and one which you have a right to be proud of.:wink:

 

************************

 

 

And many thanks to Ozzie for his truisms! :clapping:

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Thanks again for the kind words, BW! At the risk of sidetracking this topic a little further (:huepfen: !), here is the link to the actual ballet company's site, called "unofficial" as it is maintained by the principal male dancer Vladimir Arhangelski, who has put a lot of work into it. There are many links within the site, including lots of pictures:

 

Estonian Ballet

 

Officially, as with many European ballet companies, it as, as you deduced, the "Estonian National Opera Ballet", although they present their own full-length classical ballets each season, such as Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, etc., as well as modern works.

 

Now, before I get hit over the head :clapping: for straying off the driven path between home, school and ballet studio, let me add this:

 

I wouldn't trade the time spent in the car all those ballet years -- talking, singing, joking, discussing homework, solving problems, sometimes comforting hurt feelings, playing games -- my daughter and I used to call her (now) 13 year old brother as the "game-a-minute" boy since he made a game out of e-v-e-r-y-thing: i.e, one of us saying a word or phrase really, really fast and the other two guessing the word(s) -- or just plain bantering, for anything!

 

Without those years in the car together, I know we would never have achieved the closeness and valuable glimpses into each other's personalities that we did. When my older 4 kids were teens, I spent less time with them, not more, resulting in a different kind of relationship with each of them. I can say unequivocally that the close contact afforded by the daily car rides to and from the studio cemented strong bonds between my dancing children and me.

 

As far as balancing "work" and "dance mom" duties goes, work (both in the house and outside it) will always be there to be picked up again, but these years in a dancing child's life are a one-shot deal and treating them as a priority over all is a pretty good thing!

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Guest get2thepointe

I too am a dance mom who balances a career as a teacher with driving a dancing daughter to classes and rehearsals. Luckily, my schedule is just like hers so time off has not been a problem. I was wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom about being asked by other moms to take their daughters to dance all the time. My daughter is "plagued" by other dancers who want to go to dance at the same time so that they can ride with us. My daughter just can't escape these girls who otherwise would not even be seen with her. I don't want to seem that I don't want to be helpful, but there is a line between helpful and being used. Has anyone encountered this before? Do you have any suggestions?

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As a career mom who has had to ask for rides for daughters on occasion, I always preface the request to have daughters go from school to studio with another dancer with the phrase--"which day do you need me to bring home...." I have trouble getting from school to studio but can bring from studio to home most any night. I would not think otherwise, and neither should these moms.

 

DO NOT HESITATE to say things like "I can take if you can pick up...." If there are times that I can't do the "take home" duties because of differing schedules I offer to pay, and would not be offended by a request for such if I was not doing my share. You could make up a flyer for just the dancers you have in mind saying you are interested in putting together a little service of taking to dance. Come up with something like $1-5 dollars each way. If this is an hour communte each way, increase accordingly. Set a fee and ask for a week up front. They will either pay (and be grateful for the opportunity) or not be interested. Another way to "charge" could be to ask for a gift card from a local gas station (yes they exist, and many are rechargable.) You could ask for a certain amount for a month, and when the month is up give the card back to be recharged.

 

If they have been so bold as to take repeated free rides, don't hesitate to ask for something in return.

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Nlkflint, your ideas are wonderful and phrased in such a way that no one should take offense at all. :pinch:

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Guest Cristina

get2thepointe,

 

You pose an interesting point(e). We, too have found ourselves in the position of doing a disproportionate share of the driving. The interesting thing, is that I am the one mother of the bunch who has a full-time job outside the home. However, since I am self-employed I am flexible about how I work my 40+ hours a week - most at the office, some at home, some from the cell phone,etc. Note that my husband is also self-employed.

 

In the instance of a particular child, she commented to my daughter that we really had an obligation to do an extra share of the driving because we only have one child. My daughter was properly indignant about it, and explained that both her parents have jobs that never go away, and work many, many hours. One can only imagine where that child gained the reasoning about who should be driving her around.

 

Many years ago, my husband and I decided that we are dedicated to our daughter's dancing. More often than not, most other parents are willing to pitch in to help with driving. In our case for certain rehearsals, that is a sizable drive (60-70 miles one way). In the particular case of the person who has taken advantage, we knew this would be the case, and simply decided we would never just leave her child. As tempting as it was at times to say our car was full, we never did that.

 

Like nlkflint, I am not embarrassed to ask for help if I need it. Generally everyone is very cooperative. However, I recently asked this parent for help, and she could in NO WAY help us out. So it goes.

 

The choice is yours. If you really feel taken advantage of, and don't want to be, you must be direct in your request for help from other parents. If you decide it is not worth it, then try really hard not to feel taken advantage of.

 

Good luck working things out.

 

Cristina

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We commute approximately 80 miles one way to ballet. I'm blessed that my daughter's best friend attends the same studio, so the driving is shared with the other mom. It's wonderful to have a friend to share the responsibility. We have a great routine going and flexibility to help each other when needed. Our daughters began dance together when they were 3 years old and attended the same studio for 7 1/2 years. Both love classical ballet so made the switch together to an academy associated with a professional company.

 

Our girls walk home from school to our friend's home. They have time to eat a snack and change for class. Both girls are overachievers, so homework is begun at school and completed as needed in the car and at home.

 

It helps that my friend is a teacher and I am a school nurse. My position is with a different school district but our schedules are close enough that everything works out. We both have sons with different interests so we flex our schedules to be with them as well. Our husbands both have jobs that require on-call and evening activities so most of the driving is left to the moms, but I must say that both dads help as much as possible and are great supporters of their daughters.

 

Most of my waiting time is filled with cross stitch or running errands. Our lives are full, interesting and we're enjoying every minute.

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  • 1 year later...
Momof3darlings

bumping to share!

 

I just found an "angel" to help us balance our hectic lives. A meal prep center! They are new to our area and supposedly BIG on the West Coast. But I visited one today for the first time and we tried our first meal tonight, we'll be hooked and sane in no time if all meals are as yummy and simple.

 

In case you haven't heard of a meal prep center, it's a business where you go and they have already prepared the ingredients for a number of meals for you. You go in with a buddy and assemble the meals (in little mini kitchens) and put them in a cooler to take home and freeze. The plan we did was 12 "meals, meaning entrees" for 4-6 people. It took us 2 hours start to finish and no kitchen clean up. I was impressed!

 

It wasn't that I couldn't spend all day cooking at home to accomplish the same thing, I could, but when? And it would take me a whole lot longer than 2 hours start to finish. I'm figuring if I do it once a month, that's cutting my cooking time in half and my free time is doubled. The downfall of some centers seems to be that they over casserole. But the center I found doesn't do but one or two casserole type meals a month (out of 16 or so choices) and in fact gives nutritional analysis and WW points.

 

Here's the one we visited:

Simply Supper

 

Even if we don't continue to frequent this place, I'm thinking I might draft some friends into a group effort monthly out of someone's home.

 

vj

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Great idea! It's SO much nicer to cook with a friend. It makes it festive, doesn't it? If I still had kids around, I'd be jumping at doing something like that with the other moms.

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