The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

An open letter to the rude stage mother I encountered yesterday

I’ve struggled with my frustration toward “Helicopter Moms” for years, much to my dismay. Because really, I don’t want to care so much about how or why people do what they do. I want to be a “live and let live” kind of mom and focus my energy on my own stuff and my own kids.

But yesterday I had an interaction with a fellow mother that was so unsettling, I needed to write it out to help me process it.

My 10-year-old daughter was performing for the fifth and final time as a workhouse orphan in the local high school musical Oliver!

Mini-Me, signing autographs after the show...

Mini-Me, signing autographs after the show…be still my heart!

One of her classmates does a lot of local theater and according to her mother, “has been doing it forever.” Another mom and I were talking to that girl’s mother after the show and asked her how she finds out about all the local auditions, thinking our daughters might like to do more acting too.

Well, either this mom had accidentally put her thong on backwards that day, or she didn’t want any more competition for her daughter because her response was a very chilly, “Oh, word of mouth,” followed by, “…and the more shows you do, the more opportunities you get. In fact, Emma just won a scholarship to study in New York this summer.”

Intrigued, I asked, “Do you go with her for things like that?” Because really, I was just wondering how stage moms with multiple kids support their child’s interests if it requires travel.

But instead of answering my question respectfully, this woman turned directly to the other mom in our little conversation circle, rolled her eyes, and very sarcastically replied “No. I put my child on a plane alone to New York City.”

She wasn’t even looking at me when she said this. She was looking at the other mom and smirking like “Can you believe this chick just asked me that?!”

I was so caught off guard by her snarky reply that I countered “I’ve actually put my kids on planes alone before.” (Which is true. I have. My two older ones traveled alone to visit their grandparents once. Probably not the kind of thing I would ever do again…live and learn.)

But silly me, of course this mother would never dream of letting one of her children out of her sight even for a minute.

She then looked at me like I was wearing a pelt of human infant skin and her countenance told me she was not at all surprised I would put my children on a plane alone. If thought bubbles were real, hers would have read: “Of course you have, bless your heart.”

Which of course was my cue to KEEP. ON. TALKING. Because what better way is there to deal with a mean girl than to develop sudden diarrhea of the mouth?

“I mean…I’m just curious, because you have other kids. What do you do with them when you travel for things like this?”

“It’s only for a week.” (eye roll)

“But who takes care of your other kids?” I pressed.

“My husband.”  (unspoken body language: “Duh.”)

“Does he work from home?” (me, not letting go)

“Yes.” (unspoken: “Get a clue. And why are you wearing a pelt of baby skins?”)

Better late than never, I finally got the message she was not going to be more friendly or helpful or even civil in this conversation. She clearly had the market cornered on how to be a successful stage mother and she wasn’t going to give us any insight into how she keeps so many balls in the air.

Bitch.

I’m pretty sure these aren’t really the kind of situations Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had in mind when she said “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” She was probably talking about much higher level scenarios like negotiating with international terrorists or the women who answer the phones at the pediatrician’s office.

But still.

How hard would it have been for that mother to be pleasant, or helpful, or just not a fucking asshole?

And it finally dawned on me why Helicopter Moms like her irritate me so much.

It’s because their extreme hovering makes me question if I’m doing a good enough job mothering my own children.

Because sometimes it’s hard to know what came first, the independent children or the non-hovering mother? And does it even matter? Why does there have to be a right way and a wrong way to do this?

Should I be pushing my kids to win summer camp scholarships? Should I be attending all five showings of this 2.5 hour play (at $12 a pop, to see my kid in one five minute scene)? Should I not have allowed my two older kids to visit their grandparents without me that summer? Should I be writing this blog post when I could be vying for a good position in the carpool line or making flashcards or researching which extra curricular activities will help my kids get into the colleges that will ultimately help them earn the kind of salaries they will need to buy me the best nursing home money can buy?

Of course not. Because that is not my style or what my kids require.

I am exactly the kind of mother my children need.

I am exactly the kind of mother my children need.

My kids are creative, and independent, and can make people laugh and recite haikus about poop and have unstructured fun and study for tests without Pinterest-worthy embossed flash cards.

And they will be okay regardless of what I do or don’t do to help them. In fact, I know in my gut that they are better off for having to figure some things out on their own without my constant presence or input.

But it never makes it any easier to deal with those sanctimonious Helicopter Moms when our paths do cross.

Perhaps they are put in my life to help me grow as a loving, compassionate woman. For I have no control over the things they say or do…only the way I respond to them.

In which case…

Dear Stage Mother Superior,

Thank you for reminding me yesterday that I am an awesome mother. And so are you, in your own special way, bless your heart.

Kindly, and with compassion for your lack of grace and social skills,

-Leslie

PS – Watch your back, because my daughter WILL be at that next audition, and I’m letting her borrow my baby-skin-pelt. See you there! 

 

 

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92 Comments

  1. I can’t take unkindness.

    We are all on the planet together and to more competition? I say GOOD. We all need to raise the bar and by doing so, we all get better.

    There is enough room at the top, for those who have the talent. And if she fears competition, then her daughter must not be that good.

    Me? I say bring it, because my kids ARE the best. (xo)

  2. Seriously, the fuck. I will never understand why people just can’t be kind. I’m sorry. I love you even when you do wear your baby-skin-pelt. xoxo

    • I’ll let you borrow it any time! Sadly, you won’t fit into my ginormous baby skin heels, but I think we could share pelts. I bet this is the same woman who yelled at you when your kids were climbing that tree. We should fucking take her out back with a sock full of nickels and spare other women the fate of having to deal with her bullshit. Deal?

  3. I don’t understand rude people. Not rude as in “I didn’t realize I was rude because I have three kids pulling me in 12 directions ad I ca’t think straight,” but deliberately and purposefully rude. It just takes so much energy to be a mean person.

    • Right? Yeah, this was not an accidental slight (which I myself have the patent on)…this was “I’m going to intentionally try to make you feel bad about yourself because I am threatened by you and/or your child in some way.” Bitch. I am totally not inviting her to my next Pure Romance sex toys party.

  4. I’m pinning that quote to my “Words That Make My Heart Sing” board. LOVE.

  5. As always, a wonderful post by a wonderful woman. Thank you for making my morning better. 🙂

  6. Girl you know she’s just miserable because this is her last shot and being everything she thought she could be. She didn’t get it during her “youth” so now it’s up to her daughter to not let her down. I have a remarkably unique looking daughter who has been told by everyone who crosses her path that “she should be a model/actress/whatever” and I’ve thought about it. And then the realization that women like that are looming in every audition room and casting call and that I don’t want to end up like the Lohans. We are the best moms for our kids and everyone else can just suck it.

  7. I am so sorry you had to deal with that bitchy mom. I see bitchy moms all the time, and you know what? They produce bitchy kids. The kinds of kids you don’t want hanging around your kid because it might rub off.

    A couple very close friends of mine are total helicopter moms, but the thing is… I can’t not point it out to them. The one mom told me yesterday how she still lays out her 5th grader’s clothes for him! He’s never gotten his own breakfast… She told me that when she watched my kids one night so my husband and I could go out, she was shocked when my 3rd grader cut up an apple for herself and didn’t need someone to do it. She said her kids would probably starve if they had to fend for themselves. I wasn’t sure how that was supposed to make me feel. I decided proud! Proud that at times watching my kids do things on their own scares me, makes me question my ability as a parent, and wonder if family services will be knocking at my door, but my kids can handle themselves! There will be failures and lessons learned (for them and for me), but that’s okay! That is how you learn… not by doing everything right all the time.

    So, I don’t feel guilty that my hubby and I can sleep until 10 a.m. every once in a while on a Sunday, and the kids are getting their cereal and fruit and playing Minecraft on their Kindles (that they saves up for and bought with their own money, TYVM…). We’re all a lot happier for it.

    Leslie, I love that you are vocal about raising fun, intelligent, happy, independent children. They look like kids I would love my children to hang around. (Though my son wears duct tape under-over-wear and rubber chickens in public sometimes… so I’d get if your kids wouldn’t be welcome around mine). 😉

    • Dude, are you kidding me? Our kids would be bosom buddies! And we would TEAR IT UP laughing while they reenact Lord of the Flies in the yard. How quickly can you get here? And yeah, my kids can all make their own food, even little Bucket Head. Our job is to teach them how to live without us, not to cripple them by doing everything for them. ::fist bump::

  8. As you were rapid-firing questions at her, you could have slipped in a little, “Do you need an enema?”

    • Sadly, I NEVER think of those great comebacks until hours later. But believe me, now that I know her deal, I’ll have something prepared for next time. (Which of course means there will either not be a next time, or the rules will totally change for next time, or I’ll forget, or have my jaw wired shut due to a tragic T-Ball related accident and it won’t be nearly as funny of a comeback when I have to write it out on a slate tied around my neck. Dammit.)

  9. Just please don’t forget, she’s the one with the issues. I mean, who talks to a stranger? Another m other, like that? She’s probably as miserable as one could be, trying to one-up (and rudely, at that) a total stranger. Keep seeing her and keep talking to her as much as you can tolerate, and then you’ll very clearly be able to see her spots.

  10. Sorry for the typos! Trying to do this on my phone!

  11. I just encountered a similar woman. I will call her the “overachiever” though. She sewed half of the costumes, has 3 children in the musical, and brought 3 course meals for 50 for 2 weeks during rehersals and tech weeks. She says things in a singsong voice like; “Oh, you’re here to…what exactly are you here for? …Oh to see the rehearsal? Oh to drop off your daughter? Oh to pick her up? …how nice. you got the spreadsheet of parent volunteering, right?…” And so I cringe and try to lamely explain how I have 2 other children and single parenting and work and… I Did sell tickets at the first performance, though, so she can suck it. Also, my daughter ROCKEd the stage. 🙂

    • Oh, her…yes, I know her well. There’s always one, right? I guess we should be grateful she’s there so we don’t have to do more, but I just wish she didn’t try to make us feel so bad about it. She doesn’t know what else we may be doing elsewhere, like leading a scout troop, or caring for a sick child/husband/gecko penis, or trying to slowly remove the winter fur from our toes. Fuck her. And congrats on your daughter’s ROCKING performance! Aw hell yeah!

  12. Want AbbyGoat? I can send her as soon as she pops out those kids.

  13. Holy shitballs she sucks ass.

    And not in a good way.

    I think you and I have the same philosophy on this parenting business.

    • SNORT! “Holy shitballs she sucks ass. And not in a good way.” Now THAT’S funny! Thank you! I needed that.

      Send your kids over. They’ll babysit each other while we go do Zumba together.

  14. You haven’t taught them to chew tobacco or steal from Walmart, so I think you’re doing a fine job thus far.

    • Thank you. AND they all know how to make fake turds out of toilet paper tubes and make fart noises with their armpits and perform the Heimlich. So suck it, Stage Mom.

  15. Kris the Colts Fan

    March 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I bet most people would rather hang out with you and your kids than Hell-icopter mother and her kids. You should have told her that her insurance coverage would mostly likely pay to remove the stick up her ass.

    • Oooh, I like what you did there with the “Hell-icopter” name. Nice! And yeah, why don’t you come with me next time and secretly feed me lines like that because I never come up with them myself when I actually need them! I was like a deer in the headlights, I swear to God. (Face-palm.)

  16. Thanks for allowing me to laugh out loud on my first day back to work after March Break 🙂
    Sorry you had to put up with that but you got it right: you’re exactly the kind of mother your children need. Carry on.
    I now have teenagers and I think they would like me to be less of a mother than they (think they) need… non-existent in fact. Oh well. I carry on too.

  17. Oh seriously, WTF? Fuck her and her nice example to your daughter…or maybe it is, because if she’s “been doing it forever” she has probably been just as mean to the other children she auditions with.

    The thing is that being Kind doesn’t take any more enery than being a bitch does. Plus being a bitch is bad for your complexion.

    Also, I’m so glad that you and I are the same kind of moms, that you wonder if you’re doing a good job, only to be reminded how good you are at this when you’re shown the hideous nature of other women/moms who can’t stand to work hand in hand.

    And if she bothers you again..I got your back sugar. 😉

  18. WTF?? I hate people like that. I’m all for being snarky but my snark is all in good fun. It’s NOT about being disrespectful to those who are asking legitimate questions. What a twatwaffle.

    • Just laughed out loud at twatwaffle…
      excellent words…strange visual…perfect explanation
      Thank you!

  19. How rude! I’m sorry you had to deal with such an incredibly awful person.

  20. She was already feeling guilty for something and took it out on you. sucks.

  21. I’m at a loss for words. Ok, maybe not. IMO, people like that try to live through their children, or to as a way to fulfill something in themselves. I don’t mean that they don’t love their kids and want the best for them. They just lose sight of what’s important. Then their manners are not far behind.

  22. Every time I read she rolled her eyes, I cringed. I had a mom for a few years who went to our preschool. I called her my “bully”. No matter what I did or said she was all over me. Sigh. Women can be so funky.

    Loved how your daughter was signing autographs! Adorable. 🙂

  23. I really dislike rude people. To my credit I rarely ever get snarky back at them but I do have a horrid inability to control my facial expressions and it is usually something around “bitch much?” I do however try to set a better example for my kids then they do theirs by taking the high road, turning around and straight up walking away without getting verbal. What ever happened to us all being part of a such a beautiful thing as motherhood and banding together instead of competing for the I’m-a-better-mom-than-you title.

  24. Look at mini-me signing autographs! You go girl.
    I do not understand why people act this way. I never will.
    I guess she doesn’t know you have a blog. #whatadumbass
    Muah- to one of the best mothers ever! How do you do all this shit???? lizards and scouts and plays and …

  25. “Unhappiness begins with comparison” I don’t know who said that but it is never more true than when you are talking about moms. I feel like a pretty fantastic mom most of the time until I see how many activities other moms have their kids in and what groups they have joined and what they are putting on their dinner table, etc.
    The truth is I’m a great mom and so are you and if we need reminded of that we need look no further than our own great kids.

  26. I am a speech therapist working in an elementary school and from what little I know of your kids from reading your blog, I would LOVE to have them as my students. They seem like such fun, interesting, independent kids thanks to having a parent like you let them enjoy life and be kids. I see plenty of helicoptering parents in this school and it makes me want to scream.
    And how can a person be so damn rude right to another person’s face?! Grow up, lady!

  27. Bitches be crazy. Don’t let her get in your head!

  28. I think the other commenters may have covered the rude lady pretty well, so I’ll add this: In Cincinnati, we have a website called Cinstages, where tons of audition information and local theatre news is posted. You may have something similar in your area. Atlanta, right? Try this:

    http://www.atlantaperforms.biz/Auditions.html

    I hope your kid wins a Tony. Next year.

  29. I’m sure she would have heard my country come out when I said, “ah hell no….” And then I would have went crazy on her ass. In other words, you handled it WAY better than I would have.

  30. What’s wrong with people? I don’t understand the sick satisfaction they must get from trying to make other people feel small. I’m willing to bet that she doubts her own parenting choices, and she covers it by being a giant, self-important bitch. Good for you, though – this is an excellent response!

  31. “F” that other mom is all I can say….last laugh is on her because you know she reads your blog…a one-upper like her would have to as she is always afraid of what others are up to. Your kids are lucky to have a funny mom who keeps it in perspective! You Rock Leslie!! PS. My sister is the girl that answers the phone at the pediatrician’s office – – they do have sooo much power!!

  32. If she was like that with you, just imagine how she is in bed with her husband. Poor bastard!

  33. This is my first time reading your blog and what a post!! I will never understand why moms feel the need to be all judgmental…or competitive…or so exceptionally rude. I certainly hope her daughter doesn’t grow up in those footsteps – what a shame.

    BTW, signing autographs? How awesome was that?

    Penny at Green Moms and Kids

  34. WOW! How did you refrain from totally bitch slapping her ass? I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut with witches like her. Phew, I’m all pissed off just thinking about it. Hahahahah! Good on you for being the better person! We all love you here so she can go snack on a bowl of dicks. 🙂

  35. Yay Leslie! I was expecting this post to end with your questions, but I LOVE IT that you own who you are. You inspire me to have a better attitude about my mothering, because, at the end of the day, I am doing the best I can. And it’s damn good.

  36. Leslie, these are the moms that make parenting your way so worth it. I can guaranfuckingtee your family dinner conversations alone, will make your kids happy, healthy, productive people.

    People who make others feel small are miserable human beings. The proof will be in the pudding and the petty person in me would watch and wait to see the long-term results on that child. I predict a train wreck of a snotty little bitch who will have her stage mom to thank. But I don’t wish the girl ill, I just want the mom to be humbled, BIG TIME.

    Enjoy waiting for it while you and your darling family keep on keepin’ on.

    A

  37. Leslie, my darling — and I say this with all the respect due that Stage Mom, which is exactly zero — what a cunt.

  38. OMG, what a B***H! Who talks like that? Ppl who think they’re better than everyone else that’s who…that would have driven me nuts too, Leslie. I like you response though and I had to smile reading this because that’s exactly what I would have done. Not knowing when to just stop talking and keep asking nosy questions until I can out the b***h…LOL. I don’t believe in helicopter parenting, it makes our children weak and unable to make decisions for themselves and that’s not a quality very becoming in an adult.

  39. One day her daughter will write a tell-all about her or they will both end up in rehab together.

  40. what i would have given to be your sidekick gay mama backup hype girl. we would have gone Bon Qui Qui on that bitter tart.

  41. I had a similar incident this morning. On holidays and took my daugther to a park near our hotel. Met a lovely gaggle of helicopter parents. The thing that upset me is they talked about their children so disrespectfully like they weren’t capable of anything at all. I was made to feel guilty because I didn’t hover over my daughter. They actually kept jumping in to do things for my child while giving me over the shoulder dirty looks. I am very articulate about speaking about treating children like they are capable. I have no issue sharing with teachers and education professionals about the idea of sitting back and allowing children to do show you just how capable they are……. the helicopter parent though often brings the worst out in me and I struggle not to judge and end up verbal diarrhea as well. The diarrhea is getting more articulate though. You are a great parent!

  42. I would rather hang out with kids who can recite haiku about poop and a mom who finds sexual innuendos in absolutely everything ANY DAY!!!! So glad to hear she doesn’t rattle you in the least…….love your blog:)

  43. Leslie,
    I’ve been a fan of yours ever since I realized we are related! How funny to find out from your Aunt Debbie (and my cousin) that you are a world-famous blogger!! I remember meeting you at your Grandmother’s (my Aunt Anne) funeral but really…none of this matters today. What does matter is that I’ve enjoyed your blog for quite some time, but never felt the need to reach out to you until today.

    You are the perfect mother for your children and although we all (well, let’s be honest, most of us) truly try to do our utter best, none of use feel as if we’ve totally nailed the whole motherhood thing. Here I am, a mother of 5, whose “baby” just turned 20 and I still doubt and/or second guess myself – sometimes over stuff that happened ages ago!!

    One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from my first pediatrician, way back in 1983. He told me our primary job as parents is to raise independent beings, capable of achieving success on their own. I raised all my kiddos with that in mind and have 5 very successful, young adults taking on the entire world. Helicopter Moms are nothing new, just parents living vicariously through their children with no life of their own whatsoever. Stay true to your roots – do what you know is best – and you and your kids will be great!

  44. Don’t let Patsy Ramsey get you down. Can we call her Patsy? That’s basically who this stage mom is, right? (Pre-tragedy, of course.) Why beat around the bush on this issue? (And I’m referring to the pubic bush, which is something Patsy would NOT be comfortable discussing…which is why I reference it here.)

    Patsy has some serious insecurities about herself and her daughter, and she’s pushing that off onto you. If Sweet Tart is as talented as Patsy thinks she is, Patsy would have NO problem telling you when and where the other auditions are held. She would actually encourage other children to come because she would take joy in knowing Sweet Tart could beat out other kids for the spot.

    But she doesn’t tell you, and it isn’t just because she’s a dirty whore. Yes it is. She doesn’t tell you because (1) she’s a mean girl, but also (2) she doesn’t want her child getting beat out for a roll, which tell us (3) that Sweet Tart isn’t the blooming talent Patsy thinks she is. All of this leads us to the conclusion, which is (4) both Sweet Tart and Patsy will need extensive and expensive therapy later.

    So just remember the next time she’s being a super snob that she’s fighting her own issues and demons, and her lashing out is just a way to protect herself and little Tart. She’s too ignorant to know what it feels like to have a support system of women, and she hasn’t yet learned that vodka truly is a woman’s best friend. She’s probably got a lot of stress in her life, what with her husband working all the time and their big house in Colorado. Wait…I think I’m taking this metaphor too literally.

    Take it from a chick you don’t know who lives in the Midwest, has no creative abilities, practices law and rescues animals from the streets in her spare time; You are exactly what your children need. They don’t need a snobby mom who doesn’t want to help others. They need a mom who takes Batman to the vet to have his wiener lobbed off. Because you care. That’s why.

    And if you can’t trust advice from a stranger from the Midwest who takes it upon herself to impart unsolicited wisdom onto your blog, then who can you trust?

    • Holy crap, quit making me love you. You had me at Patsy. But then the whole Sweet Tart, dirty whore, Batman wiener, trust issues…damn girl. Skillz. Mad skillz.

  45. What a twat-waffle.

  46. I love your quote. So perfect and so true.

  47. Bernie Bickers

    March 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Sounds like that duo is auditioning for a new Disney film, “LiLo & Bitch”

  48. Her reaction to you was certainly very rude. No excuse for that behavior. Maybe she also took it personally that you were questioning her parenting skills (“who watches your other kids”, “does your husband work from home”, etc). Just saying that sometimes when people are questioned about their children they can become defensive even when the question asker is being very straight forward.

  49. I’ve been looking for a place to direct my unpredictable pregnancy hormonal outbursts. Can you send me this wretch’s number?

  50. It was your helicopter mom video that had me fall in love with you. I love how you mix mad cap hilarity “infant skin pelt” with profound, Pinterest worthy quotes, “I am exactly the kind of mother my children need.” PERFECTION.

  51. I lived in Atlanta for a year about 10 years ago. Your story reminded me about what it is like to live in Atlanta. These kind of people are everywhere in that city. Here is the kicker we are moving back and I am so scared. I am worried about these snobs coming back in my life. It was so bad for me that I am thinking really hard where to buy a house. Man this sucks!!!!

    • Oh Julie – I am so sorry I caused you more stress with your move by reminding you about the bitches here. If it’s any consolation, I have lived here for 10 years and this is honestly the first time anyone has ever been this rude to my face like that. I actually live in the suburbs north of ATL. But I think there are women like this everywhere who are mean to other women due to their own insecurities. The key is spotting and avoiding them! Good luck with your move! 🙂

  52. I think you are confusing two different problems, “bitch” and “helicopter mom.” They do not necessarily go together–I’ve met plenty of assholes who barely remember they have to pick up their kids after their tenni-wine lunches, and plenty of really nice people who are just sadly over-involved in their kids lives. This woman was plainly just a rude bitch and possible living her life through her child star Baby June. Not sure she actually counts as a “helicopter mom,” because as you pointed out, who is hovering over those other, embarrasingly non-talented kids left behind with her unemployed husband?

    • Ha – I like your spin on it, Jenn. You make a great point about the other kids she leaves behind, but she is definitely hovering over her little Shirley Temple. I think she is actually both of these things…bitchy and hovering, but you are totally right, the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

  53. This is absolutely ridiculous! It is hard to believe mothers like that exist outside of TV.

  54. Love the “pelt of baby skin.” Where do you get those?

    I can’t believe how rude that woman was TO YOUR FACE. I mean behind your back is one thing but to your face? I think the best advice in life is “Just don’t be a dick.” That’s all I ask. Is that really that hard?

  55. I want to be like you, focus on my own kid, and NOT give the side-eye to other parents for the decisions they make pertaining to their families. But shut my mouth and slap your grandma if helicopter parents don’t bug the living shit out of me, too.

  56. As a new mom, I received my first interaction with a helicopter parent at the store last week. She chased me down to hand me a disinfectant wipe because she “noticed” that I didn’t sanitize my cart. Of course (she assured me) I must have just missed the large sanitary station with the giant sign and the four industrial size boxes of wipes because no one ever purposefully places a child in an unsanitized shopping cart (insert big smile and crazy eyes). You should have seen the look on her face when I replied, “oh thanks but I’m not really into sanitizing everything my kid touches. I think germs are good for her” She looked at me like I stabbed a puppy while burning a flag and then she placed the wipe in my shopping cart and said, “well just in case you change your mind”. I know she was trying to help but man…I vacillated between feeling like the worst mom ever and wanting to run her over with my car…damn helicopter moms.

    • Speechless. No, not speechless…flabbergasted. I can’t even begin to fathom trying to interfere with another mother’s shopping routine like that. Frankly, I’m too busy keeping my own kids alive and in my sight to worry about anyone else’s kid getting shopping cart cooties. Also, my daughter Mini-Me was a shopping cart LICKER and that girl has not missed A SINGLE DAY OF SCHOOL in 4 YEARS.

  57. That Madeleine Albright quote is one of my favorite! (And, hopefully true!!) Helicoptering, while not entirely healthy, I could forgive to an extent depending on the person… Being nasty and rolling your eyes on the other hand – sounds like someone needs to remind her she graduated from junior high school a long time ago!

  58. My daughter is only 1 1/2 years old, and I already know I’m going to have a very hard time dealing with her classmates and their parents once she starts going to school. Lord, put a filter on my mouth when I’m around them. “Bless your heart”- love it.

  59. I hate that I don’t have enough strength not to question myself. I love this post. Real and supportive moms unite!

    (Your pediatrician office phone answerer line made me snicker out loud.)

    Ellen

  60. My parents put me on a plane alone at age 10, from Texas to Illinois. There was nothing unsafe about it at all. In fact, it’s hard to imagine anything safer. First I was with them every minute. Then I was on a plane every minute. Really, what’s going to happen on a plane? Then my grandma picked me up, and she and/or my grandpa were with me every minute until I got on the plane home.

    Admittedly, if I had been going to a one-week scholarship study opportunity without anyone to pick me up, etc., that would have been rougher. Unless there was a good bus route, then maybe not. So, if I were going to be snooty like that, I would have said something more like, “No, I expect my child to navigate strange cities alone.” But putting someone on a plane alone? Sorry, not scary at all. Letting them walk to school alone is scarier. Letting them be in their room alone is scarier. Letting them wake up before you is scarier. I really can’t imagine that woman’s life. (Bless her heart.)

  61. You nailed it. I remember this mother when my son was in Kindergarten. I called her The Peanut Lady because her daughter was deathly allergic to peanuts and because of that, 1) The lunches I sent with my son had to be inspected by her before they could enter the classroom, and 2) She was in the classroom all day, every day, protecting her daughter from killer peanuts.

    Her attitude was so superior. SHE was the most important volunteer in the classroom. SHE knew all. I was just a mere twice a week for an hour or two volunteer, but SHE was a real mom, not a slacker like me.

    Then the day came when my son told me Peanut Lady’s daughter had kissed him. I assumed Peanut Lady knew all about it, so I mentioned, “Oh, I guess our children have a thing for each other since they’ve kissed.” She hadn’t a clue. Revenge was so sweet.

  62. Women who answer the phone at the pediatrician’s office. Awesome.

    If I hadn’t heard that story from you, I would’ve thought it was from some sitcom.

  63. I am in the process of dealing with a stage mother. You know the one who thinks she knows better than the teachers and the dance owner. She tries to wow us with her knowledge about ballet, tap, and lyrical. She complains how another dance number is wearing the same dress as her daughter…she of course has a solo, and believes her daughter should “shine.” It is clear she is living her life through her daughter. Her daughter is rude to me daughter and openly mocks her in class. I want to confront her after class, but should I even bother? I’ve talked to the dance owner and will be speaking with the dance teacher. I have no illusions of my daughter being a professional dancer. I am not considering putting her in tennis and swimming instead. Still, I think I need to talk to her as a service to her little girl and to future little girls who may suffer in years to come.

  64. Having a daughter who fluked a role in a professional musical theatre production last year without the pre requisite 10 years of dance training, the grief I copped from stage parents was obscene. This is a group of people I never knew existed (but they do), and try coming across them in as a gaggle (there were over 20 kids cast).. Aside from the covert behaviour you describe to leave people out, the overt bad behaviour was every bit on display. The worst of it culminating in a fist fight between parents in front of children. Information is power to these people … Who has it is in the running to score the next big thing for their kids. Dont worry about agents at this age everyone. The difference between a kid who gets work and one who doesn’t is having a very motivated mother with an attitude of “I’ll do whatever it takes even if it means my own sanity and ignoring any other child/husband/friend/parent/sibling who may also need some attention”. Wow it feels good writing this. Six months of pent up frustration, when really all this was meant to be was a very exciting adventure for a little girl who has her whole life ahead of her and the ability to make choices independent of where U think her life should head. Good on her for having a crack. I hope she takes that attitude into whatever else she does and I’m sure she will.

  65. My mom is also a very rude and snobby and emabarrassing “stage mom” who is always making me do lame acting monologues in talent shows. She definitely doesn’t look or dress like the other moms (especially since last year when her and my dad got divorced and she used some of the money for a “makeover” that included blonder hair, bigger lips, and fake boobs). She is always very bitchy to everyone backstage at the shows and I know the other moms can’t stand her from the looks they give her and some of the things I’ve overheard them say behind her back calling her “Little Miss Look At Me” and “Jigglian” (her real name is Jillian)

  66. Hi Leslie,

    thanks for sharing this story, there will always be people like this.
    The great thing is that you managed to come to the conclusion you did!

    Looking forward to more of your posts!
    Alinka

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