By Eileen Shoals

I took a walk yesterday through a beautiful park near my home. I had a magnificent view of the mountains that put me in reflection mode. Below the mountains, I could see the park’s tennis courts. Several families were engaged in laughter while playing tennis. Most of the fathers were on the courts with their teenage daughters or sons, while the moms acted like cheerleaders on the sidelines. The dads weren’t only coaching their kids; they were having so much fun with them. It brought back memories of my own father playing tennis with my sister, brother and me. My dad always had a smile on his face. He was always encouraging…no matter how many tennis balls we missed or hit out of the tennis court. We truly had some hilarious moments and good times learning to play tennis from my dad. When I was a freshman in college, I took a tennis course. I’m sure the positive experience I had with my dad inspired that.

In the past, I wrote about the definition of a Mother-wound and how it is experienced by a daughter. Today, I am writing about mother-daughter bonding through pole. The idea of kids and adolescents being exposed to pole is a controversial subject. There are those who still see pole as only a sensual apparatus and a means of expressing sensual and sexual expression. Perhaps, this is why some feel that pole is not age appropriate for kids and adolescents. I would imagine that the groups of pole dancers who focus more on the athletic side of pole may have less reservation about sharing pole with their kids. All of us who enjoy pole dance fitness know how empowering it can be for us. I truly wish that I had experienced pole for the first time with my own mother. By the time I took my first pole class in 2005, my mother was already deceased so I never had the opportunity to share this amazing dance form with her. My mother loved to dance when she was alive. She even participated in amateur disco competitions. I sure would have enjoyed seeing her master pole tricks.

I remember meeting Charlee Shae Wagner for the first time a couple of years ago. She was with her mother and they shared their story. Apparently, the champion started taking pole classes at the suggestion of her mother Robin Kemp. Of course, she mastered the art and became the wonderful and talented artist that we all know today. As Robin talked about Charlee Shae, I could see a gleam in her eye. She was so proud of her child. Charlee Shae was about 20 years old at the time, and the mother and daughter team looked like they could have been sisters. They were giggling and smiling at each other during the interview and they appeared to be so connected. It was beautiful to behold and experience.

So what if all pole dance moms are the first pole dancers to expose their own daughters to the pole? What if more mothers and daughters take classes together, get bruises together, learn tricks together, and grow as pole dancers together? What if mothers coach their daughters to pole dance in the same way that a father might coach his son to play baseball or basket ball? What if pole moms begin pole leagues filled with young girls who are learning to pole with their own mothers? How awesome!

We know this is already happening, but have you ever considered the magnitude of this? We have seen the beautiful female bonding experience that has taken place among women all over the world with the popularity of pole dance fitness. We collectively have started an amazing movement. Can you imagine what is happening among women and their daughters who pole dance together? It appears that pole dancing alongside your daughter is a brilliant mother-daughter bonding experience. I can imagine that the camaraderie, coaching, admiration, inspiration, appreciation, love and validation that accompany the experience improve the mother-daughter relationship exponentially. What a magnificent opportunity to share a unique experience with your child.

So Dear Mothers and Daughters who pole dance together, I want to hear your stories. Please forward them to me so I can live vicariously through you. I would love to hear how the experience of poling with your mom or daughter has helped you celebrate the mother-daughter bond.

Much Love,

Eileen Shoals


[Eileen is a licensed marriage and family therapist with doctoral education in clinical psychology. She has over 14 years of experience in the mental health field.]