Why Do I Feel Guilty?

I just canceled Peanut’s enrollment in her dance class.

Why do I feel guilty? I sincerely think it’s the right thing to do. Financially and emotionally.

As you all now know, our finances are not in a happy place right now. We need to make some changes. The class itself costs $31/month, which is kind of steep for a half hour once a week class, but not nearly as much as we’ve paid in the past for things like My Gym and Music Together (the latter I’m thinking of going back into, further explanation later). I didn’t add in the registration fee of $10, the fact that this class is a “real” dance class and required $23 shoes, and (after searching for something used and coming up with nothing) another $23 for her outfit (which was absolutely plain in comparison to the other girls in the class). Then this month we were hit with another $45 for her costume for the performance at the end of the year–which was the first installment of two. This was becoming quickly much more than I anticipated.

Beyond that, the reason that we decided to sign up in the first place was because I wanted to spend some special mommy and Peanut time together. Turns out that every Thursday I was fighting to get her into her clothes so we could run off to the class, getting stressed about dinner since it was right when I’d normally be making it, and getting frustrated with the actual class itself (I’ll get to that). We’re already spending more time out of the house than I’d like and I feel like we have way too much going on, so something needs to be cut.

Then there’s the class itself. I don’t know if I’m just spoiled after our Music Together classes, but I just wasn’t happy with the style of this dance class. They had to stay on the stars painted on the floor (Trying to get toddlers to sit still seems like a common problem that I’ve had with all the different activities we’ve tried. Come on. They’re toddlers!), the teacher talked down to them (baby talk and what not), and they got suckers as a reward for doing a dance move at the end of every class. I tried to talk myself out of disliking the class for these things. I know that I probably have higher expectations and ideals than some other parents, but after talking with a friend of mine who took dance and gymnastics for many years, she wasn’t very impressed either. She was especially disappointed in the fact that a dance class, which should be about health, was giving them suckers (and even once huge cupcakes because it was the studio’s anniversary).

So I can’t afford it, I’m too stressed, and I’m not happy with the studio, so why do I feel guilty? Why do I feel like I’m denying her some important opportunity by taking her out of this class? Everything I looked at online said that at this age, the class is more about socialization than actually learning how to dance, so I’m really not denying her anything. I also plan on looking up dance moves on YouTube and trying my best to teach them to her, which is free and without so much stress and I can do it my own way. Yeah, I’m not a dance professional, but I think I can do simple things a toddler could do.

I plan on looking into Music Together at the beginning of next year. That is the one thing we’ve done that I’ve felt entirely happy about the methods and I could actually see her benefiting from it (she still has great tone), plus it’s something that Twig will be “participating” in just by sitting there. I also plan on looking back into dance next year when she’s 3, since that’s when the studio that my friend recommends starts taking girls. I know I’m not ruining her by taking her out of dance class. I know I am doing the right thing for our situation. I’ll just keep telling myself that rather than letting my own and society’s expectations get to me.

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10 thoughts on “Why Do I Feel Guilty?

  1. I hear ya. We went to many ballet classes (free class to observe how she liked it and what they did) before we found the right one for us both. Gretta (4.25yo) started ballet/dance at 3.5 and now at this age she’s really getting the positions and it’s really making sense. It was also hard to find the right time for us and anything close to dinner time is never a good idea for me.
    The class she is in now is fantastic (Salt Lake Dance Company). They are a bit more structured meaning they don’t just run around wild but learn some really ballet (suitable for 3-5yo). Cute music and tap at the end of class. The teacher is fun but professional at the same time. Stickers at the end or glitter on the top of their hand.
    I ultimately like these type of classes (ballet/gymnastics) because they learn to listen to the instructor and wait their turn.

    We like Music Together TOO!

    • I think that next year we’ll have a lot more options open to us for dance classes. Since she’s not 3 yet, most studios don’t have a class for her at all. This one there were one and a half year olds in her class that literally didn’t dance at all (it was all their mommies moving their legs into positions and stuff) and I just don’t see the point. Since they go year round, we’ll look into a better class next fall. Until then, we’re dancing at home! 😀

  2. I just started a music together class! I LOVE it!

    So, here’s a thought:

    I had my LO enrolled in mommy and me ballet when she had just turned 1. The class was cute, the teacher was awesome and I loved dressing her up in ballet clothes and the fact that they had classical music playing. BUT, She was one! She didn’t pay any attention to the lessons. She just wanted to run around and play! The class was $45/mo.
    i did it for two months before I decided we couldn’t afford it anymore. Instead, once a week at that time, just as if it were a class, I turned on a ballet classical music playlist, had her dress up in her tutu, and did what her ballet teacher did: a few stretches and then lots of moving to the music.
    She actually did a lot more dancing because at that age, dancing with your mama is so much fun! I had way more fun and so did she! And she’s learning about as much, even though I’ve never done ballet. I even looked up the positions online and started teaching them to her, just for fun. Once in a while we had a little friend come over and do ballet with us!

    Maybe you could do something like that with peanut!

    • That’s a great idea. I am already planning on looking up new (easy) moves on YouTube to teach her, but I love the idea of doing it once a week just like she did in her dance class. It’s also a great way to not feel so bad about spending so much on the dance clothes! 😛

  3. Sophie loves her class. She looks forward to it every week. Its $30 or $40 a month, but no additional costs other than the one concert they do. Even then it ended up being refunded.

    The “classes” are for them. If its not a good environment for them, then pull it. We considered cancelling Sophie’s tumbling class, but instead planned to keep it. It means too much to her. If you guys can afford sometime, maybe check out the Bravo up here?

    • I looked into them before, but the class for her age was half music and that part of it was very poor. They’ll be on my list of who to look at when she turns 3 and she’ll be old enough for the bigger class.

  4. My experience with dance was that there were extra expenses every time we turned around. Even when I asked, “Is this everything? Will this be all?” I was assured this is it, then next month there’s a parade! With a special outfit! And only solid white tennis shoes! Never mind that she had brand new white tennis shoes with pink trim. They must be solid white! (I quit arguing about it, but she wore the ones with the pink trim to the parade and no one seemed to notice.) Needless to say, I was very relieved when she lost interest. LOL, it’s been 20 years and I am still aggrevated about it.

    All that aside, my sister has a soon to be three year old who enjoys music and swimming classes and such. What she has done at present giving time, is to request cash that can be used to pay for the various classes. It helps their budget, works great for out of town relatives (like me!) and cut down on contributing to the million and half toys they already have. You might think about whether something like that might work for you.

    • That is a great idea! I’ve already suggested to one of the grandmas that she “donate to Peanut’s Music Together fund” for part of her Christmas gift. I’m excited!

  5. Pingback: Money Update « The Adventures of Lactating Girl

  6. Pingback: Dancing at Home « The Adventures of Lactating Girl

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