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Finding balance…the struggle is real!

As I sit here at 9 pm writing this blog post, a pile of laundry sitting on the floor beside me… and I think it is staring right at me.  I’m not afraid to admit that finding balance has been hard for me. Let’s face it, like many dance teachers, dance students, and dance parents, sometimes we’re guilty of putting dance first. For the majority of my life dance has come first; before school, friends, relationships, and family. It’s funny how, in a blink of an eye, you can get so involved that something that was once a passion is now a chore.  Yup, even me, a studio owner, someone who has clearly made dance her entire life, just said that!
One thing I learned along this journey is that a lot of dancers and dance parents suffer from F.O.M.O (Fear Of Missing Out).  The stress and fear of having to miss dance. Should we go to that dance convention? Should our family’s summer trips be based on where the closest dance camp is? Do they need to train? Or, if they don’t, will they lose all their technique over the summer?  Once again, the struggle is real! That’s why when I saw this quote from a very successful dance studio owner, I knew exactly what I wanted for our YMM Dance Family.
“Being a studio owner means you have the freedom to make your schedule fit the needs of your family” Tiffany Henderson
So, what are the needs of my family? What are the needs of my dance family, for that matter?  I don’t think I even asked these questions until I found myself being in transition from dance teacher to studio owner. As many of you know, I am married and for 10 months of the year, for our entire relationship, I have never been home from the hours of 4-10pm. The other 2 months, it’s summer, where we spend more of our time on the go and enjoying our little time together. It wasn’t until this past February, I found myself working “normal” hours building the studio and not having to teach. Finally, I had the ability to spend my evenings with my husband. At first, I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous about having to spend more evenings with him. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband very much, however, the old routine has been all we have known for past 9 years, and frankly, the only thing I have ever known. The idea of “family dinner” was a new concept to me, so I obviously assumed being home in the evenings was going to be a bit of an adjustment. To be completely honest, I kind of thought I was going to hate it. But, I have to say, it didn’t take much time together on the first night to realize I loved it. I thought to myself, “This must be because it was something new, it would subside tomorrow. Let’s try it again and see.” The next night, loved it, and the next even more… and the next. It actually was nice to be able to sit down, slow down, and have dinner with my husband. Simple, but made such a difference. Once I made this realization I quickly started thinking to myself, “How many kids never eat dinner with their parents because they are always at their activities? Is there a way that these kids can? Is there a way I can? Could I create the right balance for my family and my dance family?”
Well, the answer is, YES I CAN, when you believe in quality over quantity.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a true believer in the more you train the more you see results in your technique.  But, I asked myself, at the end of the day what is more important?  A room filled with perfect technicians that have spent every moment at the studio, but wonder, at times, what it would be like to have more time to themselves, or, a group of kids who get to be kids and come to dance who are happy, and ready to work as hard as they can on their technique while they are there. I choose “happy”. Now, I’m not saying all the kids that train 17 hours a week are unhappy, but there does come a point where everyone gets burnt out and just need a break. So, since my epiphany, I have made the decision to make fewer class requirements to be on the competitive team.  I believe when you give dancers the power of choice, they will be happier knowing it was THEIR choice, not their teacher or their parents telling them what to do.
Do I think I have found the perfect balance for YMM Dance Company, I’m not sure.  What I know for sure is I want YMM Dance Company to be an extension of your family. And what do families do for each other? We support each other and our choices. Why? Because we are family. 
Taking this next step in my career and taking a break from teaching, I found myself at home in the evenings for the first time. Do you know what I found at home in the evenings with my husband? I found myself again. I finally remembered that dance is a part of my life, but it doesn’t have to be my whole life… and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.