My Little E was our firstborn, the first grandchild, niece and great-grandchild on both sides. She went through chemo at 9 months old. She was loved by her family, her nurses, random strangers. She was spoiled rotten. She wasn’t really around many other children for the first few years of her life because she had no cousins, she was very susceptible to disease and I was a SAHM and she never went to daycare.
She is a perfectly healthy, wild, loud, little three-year old girl who LOVES life.
About the time she was two and a half and had been cleared to resume life as a “normal” child we decided that she needed a lot more socialization with kids her own age. We started attending a church with a great kids program and enrolled her in dance.
For the first month each event was traumatic. She cried when we dropped her off on Sunday mornings and she refused to leave the corner of the studio at dance. Eventually it got better. Much better. She now loves seeing all her friends at church and begs to go to dance almost every day.
We are coming up on her very first dance recital which Little E refers to as her “party”. Let me just preface the rant I am about to go on with this. She is 3. The other little girls in her dance class are 3.
We paid for her little recital outfit, bought her new shoes and have purchased our tickets to the show. Now we have started being peppered with all kinds of other purchasing requests and I am finding them a bit outrageous for my 3 year olds dance recital.
I am saying No
No, I do not want t-shirts to commemorate this wondrous event. Where on earth would my family wear these except to sleep in, or to paint the living room.
No, I do not want to put an ad or dedication to my child in the program. She can’t even read. She’s 3.
No, I do not want professional photos taken in her dance outfit. Firstly, I’m a momtographer and can do it myself and even if I wasn’t I can still take great pics on my iPhone! Secondly, this is a 2 min. recital….I’m not paying $150 for commemorative photos.
No, I do not want to order the $10, $20, or $30 package of flowers to give her after she gets done. With her 2 min. dance. Because she is 3. My child has no interest in flowers and I’m not buying them just because it’s what I am “supposed” to do.
No, I will not be joining all the other dance moms and their 3 year olds to get a manicure and pedicure before the show. Seriously…they are 3. Since when do 3 year olds have to get professional nails instead of mom just using a bottle of polish at home?
No, I will not be going to the makeup counter at Macy’s and getting Little E’s makeup professionally done because she is 3. She might get some glitter eyeshadow and blush. Maybe. There will be no foundation, lip liner, eye liner or having her eyebrows drawn in.
I am not a bad mom.
I am not a kill joy. I am not just trying to save money. I am not raising my children to feel entitled.
She is three.
Can’t I just let her be little for a little while longer?
Can I just tell her how great of a job she did, even if she doesn’t, and take her out for ice cream afterwards? Can we just have a fun mommy daughter moment the night before painting our nails to match? Can she just be excited wearing glitter on her eyes instead of piling on tons of makeup “for the cameras”?
What will I be teaching her if I did all these things for her? Every event in your life is to be celebrated with unnecessary extravagance whether you deserve it or not? If everyone else is doing it, well its okay for you to do it too.
What are the consequences of “treating” our children with these adult experiences? I really don’t know. I also really don’t want to find out.
It’s not that I think doing these things would ruin her for life. It’s not that I want her to miss out. I just feel like these things are more for mom and dad. I put Little E in dance for the socialization for HER. Not for ME. If she hated it, I wouldn’t continue making her do it.
She is three.
She is not in dance because I think she will be a world-famous ballerina one day.
She is not in dance because I think this is a life skill she needs to learn.
She is in dance because she likes to dance. That is enough for me.
This mom does not need self fulfillment through the life of my daughter. I do not need to live vicariously through her. I do not need to “keep up” with my fellow dance moms.
I will not train my daughter to feel entitled with extravagance. I will not teach her that makeup makes you beautiful. I will not show her that every accomplishment deserves a reward. I will not.
I will be her mom.
I will teach her that she is beautiful because of what is in her head and in her heart. I will teach her that sometimes you wont get all the same things that your peers get because life isn’t fair. I will teach her that the little moments spent together are more valuable than anything you can buy.
I will teach her to be real.