Your Bootstraps

I have been described as a “pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps” sort of person, and I can certainly come across that way.  I have very little patience for people who whine, make excuses, and blame others for their problems or hardships.  Now, that being said, I am slightly addicted to Dance Moms on Lifetime.  I’m always saying that Abby Lee’s yelling stresses me out, but I keep coming back for more.  I think I like it because it harkens back to my dance days….though our dance teacher actually wanted us to enjoy ourselves and our moms seemed to only have moments of crazy rather than every day crazy.

Dance Moms is a prime example of whining, excuse making, and blaming others.  I am not even going to address Abby Lee as a problem.  She seems to be aware of her personality and makes no excuses for it.  I may not like her, but she doesn’t care and won’t try to change that.  She is who she is and is fine with it.  My issue is with the mothers.  In almost every episode, one or several of them goes on one rant or another about how horrible Abby is, how unfair things are for their children, how mean Abby is to their children, and how their lives are negatively impacted by all the dance related tasks they must do on a daily basis.

These women act so surprised every time Abby does something that is perfectly in line with her character.  I fully realize that without all this drama no one would watch, but I can not figure out why they just don’t take their children to another studio.  Abby is not going to change her approach, behavior, or personality.  By remaining at her studio, they are giving her permission to treat their children in an incredibly reprehensible manner.

Now, sometimes we have competing desires and have to choose one over the other (i.e. I want to be healthy, but I also want to drink a bottle of wine to myself).  This is where things get tricky with Dance Moms: they want their children to have the best possible dance education, but they also want their children to experience positive development.  Their actions tell me that they care much more about their children dancing at one particular studio than about their children feeling good about themselves.  These mothers obviously love their children, but they keep failing to seize the opportunity to walk away and find something healthier.

This is where my “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps” self comes out: quit whining about how terrible Abby is and go to another studio.  Abby is not going to change.  Either be OK with her berating your children or move on.  Quit complaining because you are allowing the things you say you hate to happen.

Real life, however, is much more complicated.  I may want to scream at the women on Dance Moms, but I also remember that most contradicting desires are not so simply sorted out.  There are many factors at play when faced with two competing desires.  It is SUPER counterproductive to tell someone to “Just Do It,” but it is helpful to hold individuals accountable to their stated desires by pointing out whining, excuse making, and blaming of others.  When we are aware of our behavior, it is easier to own it, change it, and reach our goals.

Maybe I should be the coach for the Dance Moms?  Yeah, I don’t think they’ll go for that….


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