2. Kids on the Move
Updated: May 26, 2020
Being a professional dancer with not one but TWO little crumb snatchers always on your hip (just a saying as the oldest could probably put ME on HER hip, and the youngest is gettin there fast) definitely presents its fair share of challenges. Finding sitters for rehearsal... Not being able to find sitters, so bringing said crumb snatchers with you to rehearsal... now that they're at rehearsal, keeping them occupied long enough to actually rehearse... Getting out of rehearsal early enough for dinner, bath, and bed. It really can be a HUGE headache. A big enough hassle to keep one from even trying at all. But, where there's a will there is always a way, my friends. Now don't get me wrong. I am, in no way, shape, or form professing to be an expert in this field, as I am frequently on the struggle bus when it comes to balancing dance and family life. But, in all my years of trying to work it out, I've come across a few practices that have definitely gotten me (and will hopefully help to get some of my other dancing mamas) out of the house and into the studio a little more.
Our household is totally unconventional, to say the least. Mom (me) works at a school from 7:30 - 4:00 doing administrative work, teaches at a studio in the evenings and weekends, and performs as much as possible. And while there are two functioning adults in the house (thank God), Dad also works all day starting at 6AM and is a stand-up comedian by profession. Now, if you've been to any comedy clubs lately, you'll notice that they are not particularly "kid friendly". And because I'm usually in dance studios where there are lots of kids or in rehearsals with people who are generally laid back, kids go with Mom most of the time or we hire a sitter.
It took a while for me to get out of the "This is too much" space that is so easy to fall into. I had to realize that it is an absolute BLESSING to be able to take my kids with me wherever I go. #1, I get to spend so much time with them, continue to take care of business AND do what I love. #2, it saves us a ton of money on child care. I just had to, first, change my mindset and, second, get a little more organized with my time and resources (a work in progress, I can assure you).
I think one of the hardest parts about Mom-ing while you work is giving a sufficient amount of time and energy to your work WHILE making sure your kids are taken care of. Both are full time jobs. It's especially difficult when the kids are little. My son is just about to turn two, so you KNOW he is running, and jumping, and dancing, and crying, and pooping, and playing all over the studio. It can get frustrating, distracting, and overwhelming QUICK! What I've learned this time around though (since this is our second toddler to be raised in the wings) is that if I pack a good bag and some extra patience, all will be fine. I had to realize that kids will be kids and the more normal it is to have them around, the less of a distraction they become to the process. Now that I've stopped giving all of my energy to trying to get him to sit still (Ha!), he devotes less energy to trying to drive me insane.
The first option is always to have them NOT in rehearsal (let's face it, it's just easier to focus on one thing when you only have one thing to focus on AND Mommy needs some time to just BE every once in a while... without all the hats), but when that's not an option get a bag, throw in a few toys, some paper and crayons, a tablet, and every snack you can find, and be on your way. You will be OK. The kids will be OK. People will be FINE. And if they're not... find some better people to work with. Don't feel like you have to apologize for yourself or for your kids. You are an artist AND you are a Mom. Sometimes those worlds have to intersect and that's ok. That's reality. Be who you are on all fronts and don't feel sorry for it. Live it. Own it. Be GREAT at that shit! One of the best things you can show your kids is your passion. Try not to be too wound up in the ins and outs of the day that you forget to be YOU. They'll love it and so will you, trust me. (By the way, this is me talking to myself... I'm just letting you all read it lol)
Remember: One baby don't stop no show! Keep on dancin mama!!