By Janet Josselyn
Some moms stand out as less frazzled and more put-together than others. Some moms actually look happy and well-rested. Those moms need to stop it because it does not make the rest of us (slobby) moms feel confident or empowered.
With that in mind, I would like to propose that the following mom behaviors be prohibited from the playground:
Talking on the phone at length because your kids play so nicely with others
If you are able to talk on the phone while your children play on the playground, you have excessively well-behaved kids who don’t need to be talked out of jumping off the top of the playhouse. Clearly your kids are not attempting to impale their friends with tree branches, which means you have brought them up well, but no need to crow about it by having a lovely chat on the phone just because you can. Some of us moms need to supervise the action in order to preclude tears, bloodshed and reform school.
Wearing clean and ironed clothing that has no food or drink smeared on it
Appearing at the playground in crisp and clean clothes with kids in tow is akin to shouting “I win!” at the other moms who are adorned in walking menus of what they have fed their kids that day and possibly the day before as well. No one likes a braggart. So in order to fit in with the other moms, it is best to wear something with a few stains and food particles in addition to baggy-assed sweatpants. For extra credit, unwashed hair tied up with an old-fashioned elastic band and no visible make-up completes the look.
Coming to the playground with a babysitter or nanny
Napping on a park bench in the sun because you brought a babysitter or a nanny to watch the kids is the ultimate poke in the eye to the other moms. The other moms are also sleep-deprived but can’t shut their eyes because if they did, their kids would head for the street or start eating dirt. All eyes need to stay open at the playground. If you want to nap, do it somewhere else. For the love of Pete.
Quizzing your child on her Latin vocabulary while pushing her on the swings
If you are teaching your child Latin and she is so young that she hasn’t mastered pumping her legs on the swings, your priorities are screwed up. No mom needs to be confronted with her failure to challenge her child. For most of us, getting the subject to agree with the verb in any sentence is a goal for ourselves, let alone for our kids. Especially if the baby kept us up most of the night because he was teething. So please. No Latin at the playground.
Wearing a tennis skirt to the playground
This one’s subtle but it shrieks of downtime. Wearing a tennis skirt to the playground indicates clearly that you just played tennis or you will be playing tennis after you leave the playground. Playing. Tennis. Really? What mom has the free time to do that? And if I had the free time to play tennis, I’d be too exhausted to swing the racquet, so I suppose I’d opt for a nap instead. Either way, no need for a tennis skirt.
Lunching on undressed lettuce leaves
I do not want to see another mother munching on lettuce leaves, especially if she is 20 pounds lighter than I. I should be eating nothing more than lettuce leaves because some kids depart a mom’s body, leaving behind about 5-10 pounds of fat. But I need real food and other moms need real food in order to have the strength to lunge for the superhero who is about to dive off the balcony railing onto the sofa below. We need real food in order to have the energy to be able to run over to grab the child before he dives into the duck pond because he wants to pat the ducks. Lettuce leaves don’t give a mom that strength or energy.
Discussions about how to best position your kid to get into Harvard even though he’s only 5 years old
Don’t even get me started on this one. Yes, fencing and rowing are good choices if you want your kid to get accepted to Harvard, but the kid has to actually be good at fencing or rowing and the kid has to actually sign on to working his or her ass off at that sport for a decade prior to applying. Studying hard is also a potential avenue into an ivy league college, but the kid has to have the grades and test scores that will be competitive. And most 5-year-old kids don’t have the physical prowess or the scholastic acumen for the parents to know if they have a shot at it. So no talk on the playground about going to Harvard. Please.
I think that about sums it up.
So if we moms can all abide by these guidelines, we slobby and imperfect moms will be more empowered and happier.
And if only some of you are with me, I’ll be the slightly overweight mom who is hovering near her kids to avert the next disaster with the orange cheese dust on her fingertips. Come talk to me! Please.
image credit: Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr
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