Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Cool Moms

Why don't things get easier with age? I always thought (when I was an insecure 13 year old who only wanted the cool girls to acknowledge her existence), that by the time I was 31, I would be way past such things. Sadly, I am not.

Grasshopper started preschool this year, just two mornings a week, as a way for he and I to have a little space from each other and for him to learn to interact with his peers properly (ie: sharing, keeping hands to himself, etc). He loves it, and I love it. His teachers are wonderful, the facilities are very safe and secure and the cost is quite reasonable. In order for the costs to stay reasonable, there is quite a bit of parental involvement and volunteerism required. Which I embrace. Really, I do! What I have a hard time embracing, (okay, what really seems to have a hard time embracing me) is the Cool Moms. These are not necessarily the same women who would have been the cool girls in middle and high school, but they are now. Grasshopper's class has 9 children in it, and 3 mothers who are the Cool Moms. That leaves 6 of us to be the well, uncool moms. Only trouble is, they're never there. At least not when I am. When I am there it seems to be exclusively the domain of the Cool Moms and they do not seem motivated to share it with me. The things that these women have in common (which are purely superficial as I have been given no opportunity to know them in anything other than a superficial way) are as follows: they are all thin, fashionable (although not overly so, I'll give them that), live in the tony area close to the school, and most importantly they have had a child or children at the school in previous years. They know each other. They know all of the teachers and administrators. They know how things around here work and how to affect them to their child's favor. They also appear to give a rat's behind about anyone else's kids.

The day before Halloween, Grasshopper's class had a little party that all of us Moms (and I'm sure Dads, not that any of them were there) were invited to attend. Some of us were requested to bring snacks, goody bags and decorations. The Cool Moms, of course are the official Room Mothers and are in charge of these sorts of events. One of them was in charge of the Goody Bags and she made what appeared to be adorable ones. I say appeared to be, because Grasshopper DIDN'T GET ONE. Now, in her defense, the class had grown by one child in the week before the party & no one bothered to tell her, so she made what she thought was the proper number of goody bags. What infuriated me then, and still infuriates me now, is that one child was not there that day. So, there should have been enough goody bags for each child attending the party to get one. Except that the child who wasn't in guessed it, is the daughter of a Cool Mom. And so one of the other Cool Moms, swept in and scooped up a goody bag for her, announcing that she would run it over to her house after school. At this point, Grasshopper is looking around the class and watching his friends play with their stickers and play-doh and whatever else was in these bags and asks me where his is. And I have to tell him that there aren't anymore. So I get him involved in his little craft project, feeling very proud of how well he is handling the situation and approach the Cool Mom who brought the goody bags. The Cool Mom who is in conversation with the other Cool Mom who has a goody bag in her purse all set to take to the third Cool Mom's daughter. "Excuse me," I say, "but Grasshopper didn't get a goody bag. Is there one laying around somewhere that I missed?" "Oh no!", she says doing a quick head count, "I must not have made enough." now I am looking at the Cool Mom who has the extra goody bag stashed away and expecting her to volunteer that one for my child, but no, she doesn't. "I'm so sorry." says Cool Mom who made the goody bags, "I have an extra at home. I'll make it up and send it to school for Grasshopper next week."

I let them get away with it.

Much to my shame and chagrin, I caved in the face of the Cool Moms and did not raise the issue of the goody bag in Cool Mom number 1's purse. I let myself down, and I let my child down, because I chose to believe that she would make good on her promise. Well, the class Thanksgiving party is next week, and Grasshopper has yet to receive his Halloween goody bag. I have to believe that he won't. Fortunately, he is 2 and doesn't remember that all of the other kids got something that he didn't.

But you better believe that I do.


monkey girl said...

My kids are now 10 and 15. I'm experienced a lot of this...even now. It does get better but only because by the time the kids are in high school they don't ask for much parent support...they just want $$. Good job for calling them out on their sh#t. I might have followed it up with...Gee, I'm sure I saw an extra goody bag, and I'm sure you understand how Grasshopper might feel left out of the class. And then let it drop. It probably wouldn't have made a difference however they might have seen what they did. I say 'might' because most of these Moms can't see past the end of their nose. You're not superficial (I can tell) there will always be those kind of women, trust me, you don't want to be one of them. You're better than that. By the way, thanks for the post about adoption. It was poignant. I was adopted at age 6 and it saved my life.

Anonymous said...

Hi, new to your blog!! I hope you don't mind me commenting.
Sorry you have to deal with stuff like this!! like Monkey Girl said we have all delt with mother's like this. I always have to convince myself that the "Cool Mom's" are truly insecure and therefore treat people like crap to make them feel superior.
The mom who made the goody bags, if she had any compassion at all, could have given her child's bag to your son since she had extra items at home (which I doubt) that her child could have. If I were you I would have something tucked in my purse for the next class party. Best of Luck!!

erdooley said...

I'm so sorry you've experienced that crap at the school! Please don't let it sour you on the overall school experience or how you feel about the families in general. One of the things I really like about the school is that it seems way less cliquish than other schools I've been around or heard about. I am definitely one of those people who always felt on the outside of the "cool circle" but I have felt really welcomed at the school and have gotten to know some people. This is mostly because I'm fortunate enough to be able to stay after school on the playgound since C doesn't nap. And I've done a fair amount of volunteering. One of my best pals is a mom in G's class and I truly truly hope she is not one of the women in question. She's never seemed particularly "cool" to me, so I guess that is why we get along especially well. I don't know either of the room parents. I hope this was just an isolated incident. I really hate that kind of shit.

Anonymous said...

Hey Natasha,
Your mom told me about your blog. Guess what? I feel very much like you at my job site. I am not one of the Cool Teachers. Here I am almost 60 and still not Cool! I don't quite fit in and since they all discovered I voted for Obama, I am really not Cool! It is sad, but when you are a sensitive, feeling, refined person, this happens most places you go. It has never changed.

Much love to you and your family. Wendy

dysdhousewife said...

O.M.G. I am afraid I would have let my "redneck" ways get the best of me, and those cool moms would be uh.. injured moms. So glad you handled it so maturely.