I would like to call to order this meeting of the fellow Mean Mothers of America (MMoA).
Our first order of business will be to erect a statue (chocolate, of course) to Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of the social networking site, Facebook.
I can speak only for my small corner of the world, but I’d like to think Facebook has done more to thwart “but everyone ELSE is doing it” than all the years of “if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” snappy-mom comebacks combined.
Through social networking, my fellow parenting peers have instant access to parenting’s most valuable resource: each other.
My parenting peers routinely engage in discussions of standards and expectations of in-school behavior (high); attendance (impeccable); and respect for teachers (utmost). Parents monitor online photos, watching like hawks for even a hint of childhood indiscretion.
One fifth grader was caught red-lipped when, following a school dance, a classmate posted a series of fun photos she had taken with her cell phone. In each shot, the girls posed prettily in that glittery, giggly way of pre-teen girls. Their skin shone with good health, and a healthy dose of lip gloss and eyeliner, too.
The very FIRST response, moments after the photos were posted, was the mother of one of the made-up young ladies. Her note: “Funny, she didn’t look like THAT when she left my house.”
I’m betting there was no “LOL” in that house that night.
As a former child myself, I cringe to imagine this technology in the hands of my mother. Back in the day, my mother had to rely on her own wit and cunning and some help from Ma Bell. She had no qualms about picking up the phone to call “Lisa’s mom” and confirm that we were, in fact, going to be spending the night at her house fully chaperoned.
Now, parents can log on and if they’ve made the right connections, instantly know what’s going on, who’s going to be at said goings on, and most importantly, who is monitoring the comings, goings, and general craziness going on — all over town.
It’s like a crystal ball, with games!
This was the thinking behind a recent Facebook query of a friend of mine.
“Are you sending your child to school on the last day?”
This idea that the last day of school is somehow “optional” is a new one. It simply never occurred to me as a child to even consider missing the last day of school. That was the BEST day wasn’t it?
Nowadays there seems to be a move afoot to make the last day disappear. I worry that this will bump the “last day” cache to the NEXT to the last day. Then someone will decide THAT is a waste of time. And so on. Pretty soon the entire month of May is a bust.
Still, I understand the temptation. Nowhere is there a teacher saying, on the last day of school, “now class, open your books to page 72, I would like to discuss the socio-economic ramifications of the Spanish Civil War …” Books had been returned, lockers cleaned and even many of the teachers retired the week before.
My children faced a day that would, undoubtedly, be not the least bit educational. What’s a MMoA to do?
Boy Wonder was convinced that it would be “dumb” to have to go to school on such a “pointless” day. I explained, per the MMoA credo, that honoring your commitment is what is known in some circles as having a “work ethic.”
A special dispensation was given, of course, to parents who had vacations planned long before the state tacked on two extra days of school to make up for snow days. Walt Disney World waits for no man.
Our plans were Disney-Free so dutifully, per the MMoA code, I shipped my little darlings off to school.
Around noon, Boy Wonder called home with a plea. He was “so bored.” All they were doing was watching movies and it was “awful.” Couldn’t he please, PLEASE come home?
We said, of course, you can, precious.
I drove right up to that school and I whisked that boy away from that “pointless” and “boring” activity. I brought him home to a place safe from boring and pointless activities like sitting in a cool place watching movies.
We are not unreasonable. We put him to work stacking firewood for much of the afternoon. It wasn’t “pointless” and if it was boring, he failed to mention it. I’m sure it brought a sense of satisfaction that he will absolutely appreciate — in about 20 years.
As for Boy Wonder who conquered boredom through hard work, he’ll thank us when he’s older. If not, his employer will and that, my friends, is the MMoA way.