Thursday, May 22, 2008
Ah, the month of May…The flowers in bloom, the birds whistling a happy tune. Parents across America ready to throttle the next teacher, coach, or offspring activity-related person who dares to lump one more have-to in their lap.
The month of May…what my friend refers to as the Storm before the Calm. What I view as the annual rite of hazing inflicted upon every mom (and most dads, to a certain extent) every springtime as the school year draws to an imminent close.
The drill goes as follows: class play, class music program, soccer practice, soccer games, soccer try-outs, baseball, baseball and more baseball, lacrosse games, lacrosse playoffs, state cup championships, piano recitals, ballet recitals, field trips (why weren’t these scheduled for the dull month of January?!), pre-school graduation, kindergarten graduation, lower-school graduation, middle school graduation, college graduation, teacher appreciation luncheons, class parties. Class parties? I’m thinking class warfare at this point.
I get nightly calls: can you come in for the teacher appreciation luncheon? Can you drive for the field trip to Pakistan? Can you pledge your extra kidney to be auctioned off at the school fund drive?
Can you stop calling me before I have the national do-not-call list enforcer come after you for harassment?
Truthfully, I’m happy to be of help. To a certain extent. But when I start to wake in the middle of the night, fearful that I have sloughed off my duties to prepare Pad Thai for 300 for International Day, I get to worrying. And when I realize that I am clenching my teeth so hard that I think lockjaw has set in, I’m a little more concerned.
And when the call comes in for me to do just one more teeny little thing to help out so and so, and I—without thinking, without feeling, snap the first snarky come-back that pops into my head to the poor unsuspecting room-mother calling me in a desperate spot, I know two things. One, that it’s time for me to hang up my mommy cleats for a few hours and re-gain my grip on reality, and two, summer vacation must be just around the corner. At which time I might just be longing for the days when the kids were in school and the demands on a mother’s time were at their peak.
*a note from the author: I must tell you that Claire Doolittle, the lovable heroine in SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER, penned this piece. Jenny Gardiner had absolutely NOTHING to do with it. Jenny is, without question, perfectly contented to have a life that is out of control and she never loses her temper with room moms and she has in fact already donated a couple of organs to the spring fund drive. She has had no weeping fits, no stress-related breakdowns, and hasn't even noticed that it's Parental Hazing Month.