Dancing, Parenting And Running A Business – How I Do It With Suzy Young

How do you juggle work, parenting, and everything that happens in between? One parent shares how they make it all work, taking us through a single day in their busy lives, from morning cuppa to bedtime routine.

Suzy Young left her pre-motherhood corporate job to found Dance Baby Dance – a fun and friendly dance class for baby-wearers. She lives in Crystal Palace with her husband Matt and their son Teddy (almost 2).

My Day Starts… 

Too early! I’ll be honest and say I am not a morning person. Often I am woken around 8.30am by my trooper of a Mum – Teddy’s adored Nana – coming to take care of him while I run classes.

My husband and I take turns to go in to Teddy when he wakes at night, though I’m the preferred caregiver if Teddy wants to breastfeed, so we can be pretty tired. I usually shower in the evenings, so I’ll just cleanse and moisturise my face (currently dealing with some lovely postpartum rosacea), brush teeth, get dressed, make Teddy’s breakfast, chug a cup of tea and head out the door with a piece of toast hanging out of my mouth!

I don’t like sneaking away so my Mum and I try to make sure Teddy is playing happily when I say goodbye. He’s usually fine with that, especially as he’s staying in his own space with Nana and loves seeing her so much. I’m on the road by 9am for the most part but have always struggled with timekeeping…

My Work Day Begins… 

It varies, as I teach with Sing and Sign Southwark three days a week, and Dance Baby Dance classes two days a week, at various venues around Crystal Palace and Penge. I’ve had to give myself a deadline to arrive to venues at least 20 minutes before class times just in case the space needs attention (I’m a dab hand with a dustpan and brush), though I also really enjoy putting my music on as soon as I get inside to gee me up!

I usually drive to venues but when the weather is better I’ll be able to walk to some of them if I can carry all the gear I need! I try to minimise class ‘luggage’ where I can, but I do like to bring some thick, warm blankets to make a cosy corner at dance class so baby can lie down somewhere safe and comfy while we adjust baby carriers etc. It’s a nice place to chat and connect with other families afterwards.

I love welcoming the parents/carers and babies to class, I always try to make people feel welcome. Although I am atrocious with names, I never forget a face, and often see class alumni out and about which is so nice. I love providing classes in my local community. Getting to see the little ones grow and change is both beautiful and exciting.

Before I Was A Mum

Before we had Teddy my husband and I both worked corporate jobs in central London. We were both earning well enough and my employer had been supportive when I took maternity leave.

Though I found as Teddy reached 10 months old, and I started looking at going back to work, I became more and more miserable. The thought of putting my little limpet baby in nursery for up to 12 hours a day caused me physical pain. Part-time would have been an option with my employer, though in order to afford childcare and make work pay I would have had to go back full-time.

We were fortunate that we could afford for me to take more (unpaid) time off and continue looking after Teddy while we figured out what to do next. In the meantime I’d been dreaming about Dance Baby Dance and what I’d need to make it possible. I’d found my first venue, and I’d planned a class, sorted my insurance and was on the verge of talking myself out of it… before deciding to go for it! That day in June 2023 I booked classes starting the following month and didn’t look back. Classes have been bookable via Happity ever since.

After Work

I’m not sure there really is much ‘after work’ with small children, and I used to find the post-dinner/pre-bath hour a reeeaaal slog! So I decided to flip that and now we either head out for a last walk (as long as there isn’t too much dinner in our hair) or we switch on the music in our living room and have a boogie.

Teddy loves dancing and leaping about, and it helps us get all the wiggles out before bedtime. He’s always very excited to see Dada around this time too. And then they do bath time together while I wash up (AKA check WhatsApp/emails/Happity for class bookings and post to Instagram and Facebook).

If we manage to get Teddy to sleep at a reasonable hour then we’ll watch a show and maybe have a glass of wine. Unless it’s Monday or Tuesday night, in which case I’m choreographing your next Dance Baby Dance class routines.

One Big Thing I’ve Learned As A Parent…

Everything has a season. This is true in so many ways and I know I’m really lucky to have been able to spend a lot more time with my son than other parents, though there are still so many challenges.

For example, night time sleep isn’t great for us just now, so while Teddy is still contact napping we bedshare and I sometimes nap then too, or catch up on admin and other tasks. I’ve actually written most of this while Teddy contact naps!

But I know one day I won’t be able to rock him to sleep in my arms anymore. So I try to remind myself of that when I’m struggling, notice his little face as he sleeps in my arms at 4am and relish it as much as I can. And then I pass out during our next contact nap! But this too shall pass. That thought has helped me ride a lot of emotional waves.

My Top Parenting Hack

getting to Sing and Sign classes and actually modelling and using baby signing at home. I know, I know, I would say that. But genuinely, there is a song in the syllabus for everything. Changing nappies, having milk, bath time, bedtime lullabies, and all accompanied by simple baby signs which eventually your little one will begin to understand and possibly even sign back to you! Before Teddy could talk he was able to ask me to open a door or a box or a book just by signing the word ‘open’. It’s astonishing.

I also loved going to the classes with Teddy, and now I am really excited to be teaching Sing and Sign classes (as well as Dance Baby Dance) in Crystal Palace to new families, so they can discover the joy of communication, music and movement together with their little ones too. Singing is a great regulator for our emotions.

I think getting out of the house every day is a game changer too, even if it’s just for a quick walk around the block with baby in the buggy or carrier. It really can change your mood. 

Five Years From Now…

Teddy will be at school (!), and I would love to be teaching classes, and maybe working with other people who want to start. There’s a lot more to it than you might think, especially with the amount of marketing you need to do to reach people.

I’ve also just started a group called ADHD Mums Connect, which is for Mums who identify as having ADHD to come together and find community and understanding. It would be great to add ‘support’ to that list, though we’ve a way to go yet before we can truly say we support neurodivergent mums with our group.

At the moment we’re focussing on connection and getting to grips with what might be useful for those who attend. I’m currently looking into diagnosis for myself, but it is a very long road, which is partly why I started the group – to find understanding in the meantime. Long term I would love to build a community which supports parents, especially those who may be coming to terms with a condition like ADHD.

If I could see five years into the future, and we were working with some regular families in the group, plus a few more at my classes, and my own family were healthy, happy and fed, then I think I’d be pretty chuffed with that.

Thanks To Suzy – Dance Baby Dance

Suzy Young is a dancer, dance teacher, Mum to Teddy (who is almost 2) and wife to husband, Matt. She has lived in Crystal Palace for over a decade and loves the area with its friendly community vibes and wonderful local independent businesses. She’s danced since she can remember, learning ballet, tap and modern as a child and Lindy-hop and swing dance as an adult, eventually coming to teach adults across London how to partner dance in the vibrant and thriving swing dance community.

Suzy, Matt and Teddy love dancing together, and so Suzy was inspired to start teaching Dance Baby Dance classes for baby-wearers and their babies in 2023 and started Toddler Jam! classes in 2024. She has loved bringing the joy of dance to families and babies ever since. Suzy has also started teaching Sing and Sign classes too, so there is a lot of music and movement in her life. 

Follow Suzy on Instagram here.

Want To Get Out And About, Have Fun With Your Baby Or Toddler, And Meet Other Parents?

Search Happity to find everything that’s happening for the under-5’s in your local area – from music and singing classes, to messy play, arts and craftsbaby massage, gymnastics and more. Simply enter your postcode and child’s age to search, and then book your spot in a few taps. Enjoy dedicated fun time with your little one, watch their skills develop, and make friends at the same time. Mums, dads, grandparents and carers will all find something to love!

Find a class today!

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