As another year of coaching comes to end, I’ve been reflecting on the last 9 months and also looking at a few of my unpublished articles that I’ve written throughout the year. Some things I wasn’t able to make public, because I try my hardest to be respectful and classy. I did have a situation this year that made me question it all. It was with a dance mom, and you guys, 95% of dance moms are NOT like the show! But, there are some that have kept me up at night. In this particular chaotic meeting, I was called some choice words and I also used some choice words back. It was an out-of-body moment honestly. The anger boiled over into something that I am not proud of.
These incidents as a coach, instructor, dance studio owner always hit me hard. They knock me down harder than I’d like to admit actually. I can’t eat. I feel numb. I feel like the anxiety might never leave me!
I came home after that dramatic night completely depleted and embarrassed. How could I let myself slip so far away from inner peace and who I truly am? Even after apologizing multiple times at the end of the meeting and getting words of support from mothers I respect, I was still filled with self-doubt. My one saving grace was that the moms who know me well knew that my outburst was all out of love and passion.
And….they’re right. I am an “all-in” type of person and when I teach/coach, I put my absolute everything into it. My heart, body, mind, and soul go into teaching these young people. I think what is most frustrating as a coach is that nobody, or very few, truly see that 100%. Nobody knows just how much anxiety you get thinking you didn’t do enough. Nobody sees how much it kills you when one of your players/dancers/students is struggling. Nobody sees you up until midnight planning practice for the next day or doing 5+ hours of choreography just because if they don’t get 1st place, it will be your fault. Nobody sees the tears you cry when you have to make a judgement call that inevitably will disappoint someone!
Speaking of disappointing someone…that was and is a constant battle as a coach/teacher. Not trying to throw myself a huge pity party over here, but if you’re a coach, you’re signing up to ALWAYS let people down. It’s a fact! I’m learning to accept that and understand that there are parents out there that are miserable people, unfortunately, and they will always have a problem with something. What I can’t get behind though, is parents trying to do a coaches job. I’ve had about enough of that and speaking for coaches that have left great programs…they’ve had enough too.
Parents, you have to stop doing this to your coaches or there will be none left. Trust in that they want what is best for the whole team and that when your child signs up to be a part of a TEAM, they are sacrificing their personal needs. If you can not accept that, then maybe your child should take up an activity or sport where they compete….ALONE!
What pains me most is that I get along with 92% of people I come in contact with. Not trying to be full of myself, but I really do enjoy people and I feel as though I am genuine and transparent so usually people respond well to that. That night I let one of those 8%ers get to me. There are some people who I really don’t think I’m meant to be civil with.
I don’t believe I conducted myself like an “adult” at that meeting, but the kicker is, neither did some of the “real” adults. One thing I will not do is apologize for caring. I don’t take back my passion or desire to do what’s best for the TEAM. I refuse to toughen up my soft heart and soul, but I think I do need to learn to protect it a littler harder. As I look back, I felt so defeated and in all honesty, I was wondering if the constant criticism was something I could continue to subject myself too. I thought about the future of my family and the way I want to raise my children. Do I want to subject them to the stresses of having their mom be a coach and/or teacher?
Now, that it’s been months later after some amazing success and milestones with my team, I know that leading young women is a place I need to be. The more struggles I have, the more I will learn about how to navigate such an important role. When I have children one day, my patience will be solid (lots of practice) and I want them to see me struggle. There’s something special about your kids seeing that you are human and I truly appreciate that my parents weren’t always perfect. It made me realize that there is beauty in the hiccups of life.
I love my dancers and time will tell. My soul will guide me, always does, even if it guides me to an overly stressful dance mom meeting, I am right where I’m meant to be, always.