My View: Mum, please don't wear that tutu in public

I’ve always been a hands-on parent.

Far too much hands-on if you ask our daughter. When she wanted to do speech and drama, it was me practising recitations under my breath at work, gesturing silently and wildly at inappropriate moments.

When she took up tennis, I became the only parent standing in the line waiting to return the instructor’s volley.

When she was taking swimming lessons, I enjoyed it so much I became an accredited swim teacher.

I never realised just how hands-on I was until two minutes ago when I wrote those last three paragraphs. I’m a little embarrassed.

Anyway, fast forward a few years and we have gone through gymnastics (I didn’t do so well at that one), an extremely brief flirtation with athletics, debating, and arrived, apparently with more permanency, at dancing. Last year, we finished the annual Christmas concert with a mums’ dance which was, if I do say so myself, something of a hit.

Holy moly, why can’t it just be about the dance. And for just a few brief shining moments in the spotlight, it is.

In the early days, my daughter rejoiced in my inability to get my own life. It was fun to have your mum as a swim teacher and misbehave in your lesson. It was even okay to laugh at your mum’s clumsy attempts to keep a ball within the tennis court.

These days, it is somewhat different. We are in the midst of eisteddfod season when the frustrated performer in me is dancing up a storm just beneath the surface. I am frantically trying to keep it down and learn that this is not about me.

I watch her up on the stage with tears in my eyes and an unreasonable amount of anxiety in my soul. “I don’t stress,” she told another dance mum recently, “Mum does that for me.”

And I do. I stress that she won’t win or place. I stress that she will win and then cruise along. I stress that she doesn’t want to be there. I stress that she wants to be there more often than she is. I stress that my stress is stressing her.

Holy moly, why can’t it just be about the dance. And for just a few brief shining moments in the spotlight, it is.

The kicker to this story is that my daughter has started to join my groups. We are now both members of the local photographic group where she regularly kicks my butt with her photos.

Karma? I don’t know, but I do know that children’s sports has been as much about lessons for me as it has for my child.