It looked like an average party invitation, made on one of those do-it-yourself computer programs, printed and distributed in the school folder. One mommy’s darling was turning 8 and the whole class was invited to the community pool for swimming and a barbecue. It seemed harmless enough until the not-so-fine print revealed gift registry information (strike one), followed by these (paraphrased) words: “In lieu of a gift, if you’d like to volunteer at the party, help would be appreciated greeting guests at the door, at the grill, and with clean-up.” Huh? (strike-effing-two). My initial reaction was like it usually is with situations I find uncomfortable–I laughed, then called all my friends. And maybe posted the invite to a social media site or two (when I stoop, I do stoop low, hypocritically perpetuating the very drama I’m here to oppose). Needless to say, the invitation was funny, entertaining in a twisted way and at the end of the day, very, very sad.
First, registries are for weddings, and sometimes even graduations–when hundreds of friends and family are wishing you well at a milestone time in your life. When you’re moving out into adulthood and your butt is broker than broke. Seeing an eight-year-old’s birthday registry just went against every value I try to instill in my children. That birthdays/holidays are a time to celebrate and spend special time with close friends and family. Gifts might in some cases be a tradition, but they should never be expected. You aren’t entitled to receive anything. If people are so generous, presents should be accepted graciously. But to ask for slave labor in lieu of an offering tripped every trigger in my holster. Why? Because it sent the message that simply being the child-of-honor’s friend wasn’t enough. There was clearly a cost of admission to this event. That cost wasn’t bestie-hood.
Once the initial shock wore off and I had a chance to think, I almost felt sad for this mama. Didn’t she have enough good friends at her back, ready to roll up their sleeves and do what needed doin’? That’s when I remembered the answer was no, and why. She was one of those Drama Mamas, mixing with others about as well as tequila and apple juice.
How do you know if you’re a Drama Mama or spot one a mile away? Here are 10 dead giveaways!
1). You post every detail of your and your child’s life on social media then get pissed when people judge you.
I’m a pretty open person and do my share of sharing, but your casual social media acquaintances don’t need to know the details of your divorce or about the guy you met last night at the bar. And if you choose to share, don’t expect us to be sympathetic to you when Janey’s acting out or condemn the courts when a truancy officer shows up at your door. We can WWJD the shit out of the situation, but if you choose to over-share, don’t expect people not to tell you to stay home and handle your business, either to your face or behind your back.
2). When you change your child’s sport/team/school and controversy continues to follow.
Hate to be the one to break it to you sister, but you ARE the drama.
3). If your child loses a game, it’s because of the refs/coaches/other kids on the team.
You know who you are. You spend more time in the stands yelling at the officials and coaches than cheering on your own team. You’re also the parent who tears other players down to build your child up. And you’ll tell anyone who’ll listen all about the injustice of it all. Of course winning is more fun than losing, but you know what else is fun? Team solidarity and teaching kids that people are worth more than the number of points they score.
4). You’re the first to spill when you have a juicy secret.
Let’s face it, Moms, we don’t always practice what we preach. At one time or another we’ve all failed the toothpaste test. What comes out of the tube can never be put back. And when you’re consistently at the top of the phone tree, talking about how Timmy’s dad is having an affair with the Spanish teacher or how the meal train for little Katie’s family isn’t because her mom is really sick, it’s because of her “elective surgery”, a new gym membership might be just the thing for you. Too tired to breathe means no oxygen to propel loose lips.
5). More often than not, you have a dissenting opinion.
If you spend even a second thinking about, much less emailing, your child’s kindergarten teacher to debate the correct pronunciation of the word “the” (as in thee vs. thuu), used in class, out-loud reading time, you are an ass-tard. There’s very little hope for you.
6). Your critical “discussions” go in circles. Why? Because you are always right. I won’t waste my breath telling you how badly you’re wrong.
7). You’re the first to cry “bully!”
Bullying is serious business and I’m not here to take it lightly or brush the extremes under the rug. But it’s also become a catch-all label for anyone who makes another kid cry or hurts Little Precious’s feelings. To a degree, pranking and ribbing are an important part of adolescence. It instills a certain competitiveness and resiliency a growing adult needs to survive in a harsh world. It’s also how kids choose and learn to either go with the crowd or drum to their own beat. Take my son for example. There are days that if I didn’t know better, I’d swear he was the love child of a Sesame Street character.
Recently, some friends at school made fun of his unibrow. Rather than storm the schoolhouse steps, appalled at the idea the administration would tolerate such meanness, I took the opportunity to talk to my son. We discussed how he felt when his friends made fun of him (not great). What were possible ways to address his peers when they tease, but most importantly we discussed how he felt about his eyebrow. If it were within the realm of his control would he get rid of the uni or would he own it like his NBA idol, Anthony Davis.
My son made the choice to axnay the unibrowyay and I honored his decision (you’re welcome, future daughter-in-law). Unfortunately, no amount of peer shaming will get him to stop wearing the funky leggings under his shorts. The kid does have a mind of his own.
8). When you waste one single ounce of energy being territorial or concerned that one Girl Scout troop has an unfair advantage over your child’s troop during cookie sales season. You need to back slowly away from the program. You’ve obviously missed the entire Girl Scout message.
9). You have your child’s teacher on speed dial and won’t hesitate to text her at all hours…and then email the entire PTA for advice and solidarity.
Your child failed the benchmark and was asked to stay after school for tutoring. In your eyes, it was obviously the teacher’s fault. She has poor time management and hasn’t taught half the material on the test. You’ll be sure to let her know how you feel via text at 10:30 on a Sunday night. There’s really no worries though. You’ll just hire private tutors to catch him up rather than making him suffer through the stigma of being lumped with the “dumb” kids.
10). When you constantly talk smack about your husband/kids/best friends, then wonder why people laugh uncomfortably then avoid future contact with you.
We know no bond is sacred with you. If you don’t have their backs, you’ll never have ours. We aren’t going to waste any more time with you.
While I’m all about being an advocate for your child, think carefully and choose your battles wisely. As parents it’s only natural to not want our children to make the same mistakes we made or suffer what we suffered. But looking back, did we not learn lessons from those mistakes? Are we not proud of who we’ve become despite the odds? You’ve earned your stripes. It’s okay to sit back and let them earn theirs.