Let’s Stop With Perfection

My 4-year-old daughter performed in her first dance recital on Sunday. She did an amazing job and enjoyed every minute of it. Unfortunately her costume was too small for her, but she smiled and danced through the pain. She was a true professional!


The one thing that was consistent in almost every dance was the addition of an older dancer on stage to help the little girls in case they forgot their steps. Here’s my problem with it; it was so distracting to have the older girls on the stage performing the same dance as the younger students. My eyes were constantly drawn to the older girl. I didn’t really watch the younger girls because of the older dancers.

Today at dance I asked why the helpers were there. The owner of the studio told me it’s because so many dance moms complained their daughters didn’t know their dances and they didn’t want their girls to be embarrassed if they forgot the dance.

I wished the older dancers were not part of the show. Thankfully, my little girl didn’t stare at her “helper” like other dancers did. She smiled and did her thing! I would rather have my daughter up on the stage waving her heart out or doing her own little dance on stage than have a helper upstage her. She’s a tiny dancer for Pete’s sake!

We need to get over our need for perfection. And this is coming from a perfectionist. I remember being a tiny dancer up on the stage with my little friends. It was our moment to shine and have all eyes on us. We were the star for just a few short minutes twirling in our beautiful costumes. We didn’t care if we messed up. It was about living in the moment.

I missed seeing that one little girl who was waving and calling moms name out so she would see her on stage. I wished I would have seen one little girl who thought she had all the right moves and did her own magical performance.

Let’s teach them it’s okay to fail or to forget something, all while we encourage them to just keep persevering. Let’s let them be little. Being a child is just a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things.

I promise not to perfect my children. Will you do the same?





  • Corinne says:

    My daughter also did dance and when she was younger the instructor always put a “ringer” into the group dances. Like you, I found this distracting because the ringer was always taller than the other kids and clearly years ahead in dance ability. The preschoolers always steal the show by just being brave enough to get up in front of all those people. Who cares if they forget the steps? Not me!

    • @Corinne – There was a “ringer” with 7-year-olds and older. By that age they should really know the dance and not need a 14-year-old showing them what to do. Thank you for you comment!

  • Tal says:

    I totally agree! And your girl is adorable!

  • how cute she is….. The show must go on, even when the costume is a little small

    • @Terry – I am so proud of her. She had her beaming smile throughout the entire dance. She was a real trooper!

  • Bobee says:

    It does go by so fast, doesn’t it! Mine are 3 & 5 now and looking back the baby days flew by. Enjoy every moment!

    • @Bobee – It goes by way too fast. My oldest is almost 8 and my youngest is 3 months. I want time to slow down!

  • kristi says:

    It’s definitely important to let our kids make their own way and learn a lesson or two in the process. I’m sure she had a ball, where the other kid’s whose moms were stressed out, got that same stress about the whole thing. It’s supposed to be fun right?????

  • Pam says:

    How cute is she. I so agree. It is totally ok to be imperfect. 😉

  • Karissa says:

    I agree there is no reason to worry about them getting the dance right when they are little. It’s cuter to just watch them try and see how they do. your daughter is adorable.

  • I absolutely agree. It seems there is so much emphasis in perfection there is no time to enjoy the activity. I have seen it in sports activities too. I hated going to my son’s baseball games to endure a “crazy” father that screamed at his son the whole time because he missed a ball. It is terrible to put children through all that stress at such a young age.

    • @Melinda I have noticed it with my son’s sports as well. The biggest problem I’ve noticed is a lack of the boys working as a team instead of trying to be an individual star.

  • BabsProjects says:

    My girls are not in any kind of dance, so I am not familiar with this. However, if I was in your shoes, I too would be a bit disappointed. Your daughter is lovely and I am sure even with a ringer over there, you eyes and heart were totally focused on her.

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