Article written by Chris Lynam of Arthur Murray California
After a 72 hour marathon fever, dozens of diaper changes, and frequent use of teething crackers as a snack item – you need to do something that feels adult, and human.
These days, alcohol, using profanity, or watching an R-rated movie can provide a temporary resurfacing to the adult world. To truly feel like a man and a woman together, you need to do something that allows you some time to yourselves that connects you together.
[Sleep is not an option. Let’s face it – every parent knows that won’t happen for another 18 years.]
You need an escape plan.
The Dance Lesson Escape Plan for Busy Parents
STEP 1: Enlist The Help
One Babysitter, Multiple activities
Do whatever you can to avoid hiring a babysitter for a single 45 minute dance lesson. The goal for your escape plan is to make the most of your time away. Find a great babysitter and have an agenda that includes at least two dance activities, and drinks or dinner afterwards. The guilt may get the best of you, but you can do this. Stick to the plan.
Idea: Many of our parent-students will stack their lessons together. Let’s be honest, it takes at least 30 minutes to depressurize out of kid mode, so – if you can – try two lessons together. Going further – combine your private appointments with a group class and practice party and you’ve got a date night for the ages.
STEP 2: Feel No Guilt. Don’t Look Back
All You Need is Perspective
Look at your non-dancing friends who have kids. How many of them can say that they went salsa, tango, or swing dancing? While you’re driving to your lesson, they’ll be pressed up against their windows mouthing the words “help”.
Idea: Once your dance date night is firmly established, you can reach out and lend help to the distress calls of your other friends with children via the Arthur Murray guest referral program. They may offer you a large bounty of home cooked food or a bucket of slightly used crayons.
STEP 3: Temporary Change Of Identity
Cover Your Tracks With These Dance Aliases
There are certain dances that instantly change your normal parental identity. Need something South American? Try dances like the Tango or Samba. Eastern European? Perhaps we can recommend a Waltz. Need something with more flair? The Salsa, Merengue and Bachata are popular options with loads of pre-children steamy nightclub sex appeal.
Idea: Many dancing parents have their most exciting vacations scheduled 18 years from now. Until then, use your dance lessons as a “Staycation”.
STEP 4: Expect The Unexpected
No Babysitter, No Problem
In a perfect world, you’d have Mary Poppins on retainer and your date night and parenting schedule would be “practically perfect in every way.” In reality, you’ve got to duck and dodge your way through life’s little scheduling jabs and have options.
So you’ve got no babysitter. No biggie.
Plenty of students utilizie plenty of options to make sure their regular dose of humanity-via-dancing stays uninterrupted.
- Split-Shift: The leader goes into the lesson to work on sending great signals. Mom stays home with the kids. After an hour, you switch places. The last one back brings wine and ice cream to celebrate.
- Ballroom-Bjorn: There’s something about an infant sleeping that makes your dance frame unbelieveable. Load your child into the hands-free baby carrier of your choice, take a dance hold, and watch how smooth and steady your dancing becomes. Celebrations, however, must be kept to a whisper.
- Solo Assignment: If the split shift doesn’t work, a special assignment works wonders and keeps your progress uninterruped. This is great for adding some extra fun-surprises into your repetoire that can make your next visit together even more exciting.
- Family Affair: Depending on the ages, and sugar intake, of your kids – you are always welcome to bring them with you to the studio. It’s amazing how a coloring book, snack, or iPad can do.
STEP 5: Multiple Escape Routes
You Have A Unique Set Of Skills, Seize Every Opportunity To Use Them
Parents will occasionally get a lifeline to interact with their adult counterparts. Things like wedding receptions, office parties, and reunions are great examples of these. Knowing how to dance gives you a built in reason for attending. The number of evite.com “Maybes” to “Definitely Going” goes up immediately the moment you have some dance skills in your pocket.
Idea: Load up on slow, medium, and fast tempo dances to maximize your time on the dance floor.
We have parent-students that start their dancing at many different stages in their parenting life. The last thing we would want is for you to wait until the nest is empty to connect with your spouse. Trying this out while your kids are still in the house can add a skill that your whole family can enjoy… your happiness.
Click here to sign up for your first lesson!