Person holding phone. Backpack, clothes, ballet slippers on ground.

What Is It Like To Be a Dance Mom Living With IBS?

I have been what most people call a "dance mom" for almost 8 years. In those 7 years, we have had tons of ups and downs. We started with one studio in their first year and stayed there for almost 5 years. The last few years have been amazing at our current studio. I have to say that all studios aren't the same, and it took us a while to understand that. Try a different one if your child dances at one and things are hard there. We put it off almost too long, and now we have found one that feels like being home.

My daughter loves dance

My daughter is a lot like me. We don't just slowly start a new hobby; we jump in feet first and do everything available. We went from no dance to her dancing four to 6 days a week. She loves it, though, so we do what she enjoys. Having IBS and a child who competes competitively, though, that's hard. Especially when no one knows you have IBS.

Practices aren't so bad. We can drop her off and leave or stay there. Either way, I have easy access to a bathroom. The competition side of it is where I find myself in a ball of anxiety. You never know where the competitions will be held or where the closest bathroom is. These are also full-day events, usually starting at 5 a.m. and sometimes going later than 11 p.m.

Being a dance mom with IBS

My introduction to being a competition dance mom was a little different than most. My dad had passed away just weeks before the first one. Then, due to horrible genetics and a few medical issues, I had just pulled all my teeth and was learning how to use dentures. I was 1 week out from my teeth being removed at this first one. Not only was I trying my best to mask my IBS symptoms, but I was also in tons of pain and grief, hours away from home, and going through finals in the college courses I was in. I quite literally sat in a corner, on the floor, because it was standing room only with nowhere to sit. I only knew a few moms, and no one knew what was happening to me. I had my laptop, so I worked on my finals while my child did the workshops required. I look back on it now and don't know how I made it through. I'm pretty sure my dad's hardheadedness was it, and I know my daughter got that gene from me. LOL!

It has been a journey to get to where we are. I have found a few options that help me with IBS while at dance competitions. If we are told the location, I find and map out bathrooms. Also, I find out if they have seating or if I can bring my own. The little things others don't have to worry about can greatly affect those of us with IBS or other medical issues. It can be done. We are proof, but that doesn't mean it's easy.

Do you have children active in sports and have found ways to be involved?

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