She Wore a Hair Net for me!

Let’s say an email graced your inbox. Cool, a mom’s monthly pub night and you’re invited. At first you’re excited. Then you look in the mirror. Shit. Disheveled is an understatement. Helping out with fractions tonight took its toll. Making friends with a hairbrush would be good. Maintaining social connections would also be good. The problem is-you’re kinda rusty. The only good chat you’ve had this past week was with the washing machine, the mailman and the cat. You decide to go. Maybe you’ll even put on some lipstick? You should go.
You arrive, despite having no one to tag along with. A group of ladies is engaged in some chatter. You bring a nice crisp beer with you to the table and make introductions, all familiar faces. You smile and lean in, interested and the talk is about the playground today, and some superfluous new rule. Then they head full force into the new teaching syllabus for math. Oh dread. You’ve suddenly become very thirsty and notice your three quarters down on your pint and they are just sipping. Having just bathed, fed and tucked your kids safely to slumber, delivered a peck to your husband aflutter in front of his championship game, you feel lucky. Or do you? Just for once, why can’t they be talking about that new HBO show Girls or how Anthony Weiner is running for Mayor despite showing his bulge. I LOVE my kids but shouldn’t a night out refuel me? If I hear any more rated G discussions I may hurl.
True- motherhood has its sacrifices. When you birth that beaming bundle of perfection, they become the center of your universe and your husband is number two. After they morph into a more demanding form of you- You teeter on the idea of going back to work….Then they become sick and have early dismissal and its summer break and eventually we quit swimming upstream and just let life flow. Who the hell has two grand monthly to pay a nanny to raise their kids anyway? We work part time, or part distracted. We give, we alter, we scrimp and we give some more. Two years becomes ten years; donated as if it were blood. It’s tradition. My mom worked a lunch lady job just to fit my routine. She wore a hairnet for me. Motherhood will reveal the bones of who you are. I too stayed home. At the expense of my extrovert getting tarnished by the sands of time, whittling me into an introvert, like man-made erosion. Yesterdays moms had struggles too, but today we have cheap pedicures for hardship and cheap wine from Trader Joes for loneliness and fanfare alike. The only mystery left to me is uber-parenting.
Yes uber, kinda like helicopter parenting where parents sleep breath and eat all kid-related topics. Kids are so smart these days they seem to suck the brain energy right away from the parents, leaving them overly ambitious parents and dreadfully boring. They, like deflated human shells of what they once were, are tossed aside, no longer needed. Parents-it’s time to wake the FUUUCK up. When you are done hyper-parenting, smell the coffee. After all the sunshine is blown at the kids-scattered clouds are the only thing left for couples. Marriage in modern times is about parenting-period. Parents today exhaust every last resource on their kids and if they are wealthy, the go to Hawaii too. If I throw a party and it says no kids please- there are always kids there-unless of course they say I cannot come. Is there no culture that exists to support the modern day babysitter. God forbid babysitters go extinct! I hate to brag but- I have a babysitter. I also like Kids. Let’s just get something straight. I don’t want to spend 24-7 with them in my head!
School is where uber parenting gets whiggy for me. You know them. PTA moms on crack. They are building the next generation of prodigies. Kids feel the pressure-they train at the hands of their parents to be the best at whatever they do. Being good or okay seems to be inexcusable or at best, disappointing. Are we breeding a hyper virulent strain of entitlement in our youth-Eegads! Shouldn’t we prepare them to be bad at something? Parents in Seattle schools have no qualms leaving for another neighborhood to have the best math or music teacher even for one year. I am just wondering, in this high achievers world where cream rises to the top with nary a red mark on their papers-are they socially rooted?
In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell tried to differentiate for us what made one person successful and the other not- when IQ’s were both exceptionally high. Funny thing, IQ aside, successful people had one thing in common- timing. The way life presented itself, the series of how things unfolded. When things aligned-they swooped in fast. In cases of sport teams successful athletes were all exactly the same ages with an undeniable correlation of how many hours of practice they put in, a lot. IQ or not, expert status was obtained.
Just the other day Michelle Obama spoke with a heartfelt piece of advice to the graduating class of a university. She hoped to impress upon her graduates that it was “not the grades that mattered so much as what you learned.” Quite a tongue lashing was stirred from her comments. Pretty ballsy in the ripe old age of 2013, to suggest at commencement speech you should learn from life rather than compete in it! I agree with her. It’s a good thing she didn’t bring up twenty six year old CEO of Tumblr and his successful merger that would reap some 250 Million despite that he dropped out of high school. We simply don’t live in a culture that touts chance over academics. But embrace he did- timing was everything. Clearly he was not concerned with grades, or what people said about high school drop-outs, it was ripe so he picked it.
The point is, there are good teachers and bad teachers, good bosses and bad bosses, good years and bad years. What’s missing today’s is peace with where you’re at. Digging in to appreciate what you have. Society plays it part in shaping who you are, but you choose what to take from your learning and cultivate, plant or sew. A good education is not simply about high test scores but also the importance of consistency, community and the rich connections we make with people along the way……trust, that is unfolding from K-12 of your daily lives. Change is inevitable and good, but building relationships tests your Emotional Quotient.
What I witness in our schools is entitlement, “if there is good- there is better.” If it is bad, you go elsewhere. As a parent, I find issue with this. I recognize some kids get the high road, the gleaming teachers, with organized desks and pencils that practically sharpen themselves. Then there are the others kids. I have been blessed to have one of each. So far what I know is those teachers, who have nothing to offer, still had “something” to offer. In the end- we all get what is needed. The years that did not tip in our favor gave abundantly in later learning down the line. What these whip cracker parents most often forget-is that they are their child’s first teacher. Perhaps if they find fault, they should look in the mirror. If a child summons success, they will find it. Plenty of us have found success without being flagged with a high IQ.

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