Liars – All of Them!

1176265_10151814829998130_806107146_nLeave it to the first day of school to bring out the filthy liars in the motherhood community. I guess the scent of newly sharpened number two pencils, the aroma of brand new nylon Jansport backpacks and the essence of Johnson & Johnson Strawberry Sensation Detangling spray somehow manifests itself into a chemical cloud that permeates the nasal passages of all moms with school age children. The potent chemical combo must then travel to the brain cortex and trigger a nervous system response that manifests itself in grown, should know better females, telling great big whooping fibs for a 12 hour period.

We all know what the biggest back-to-school is fib is don’t we? It’s the mother of all fibs. It’s when we share to anyone who will listen, but most especially other moms that our guts are being ripped out, our souls are being shattered, we’re grieving, we are in the deepest, darkest pit of despair because school is starting and we’re bereft imagining a world in which we can not spend every waking hour with the magnificent beings that shoved their way of out of our loins.

Yeah, I get it. The first day of school is emotional. Every year is a milestone. Your kids are getting older. You’re getting older. You’re anxious and maybe a little worried because you want your children to have the most wonderful first day. I’m right there with you. What irritates me is the mompocrisy of women who use this day to over-share that they are “just dying inside” because they’ll miss their kids so much. It’s like a contest and the winner to Best Mom goes to whoever is wailing the most about school starting.

I admit I’m on the other side of that statement. Way on the other side. When my alarm goes off on the first day of school I spring out of bed and do, at the very least, a 60 second happy dance that is so exuberant it scares the dogs and causes the dining room chandelier to swing violently to and fro. I then skip to each child’s room and wake them up with this little song (loosely sung to the tune of Camp Town Races)

“Get up, Get up, Right Away cause Mommy’s happy school starts today.  

 Hurry, hurry and get dressed Lord knows I crave an empty nest.

 Don’t worry about me, be sure to sign up for loads of free extra curricular activities.”

After I see them off to their respective schools. I get back in my mercifully empty car, bow my head in silence and thank the gods of parenting that I made it through another summer with my sanity, somewhat, in tact. I then do a deep cleansing breath, roll down all my windows, crank up the NPR, scream “yahoo” while doing multiple air high fives, and toast the new school year by sacrificing a virgin Diet Coke.

Sadly, I have found over the years that I have to hide my joy or at the very least downplay it. It seems it is bad form to celebrate your liberation from your children. To do so makes one seem (gasp!) less than mother-of -the-year material. I started out this first day of school by being very well-behaved. Inside the privacy of my own home I didn’t conceal my back-to-school bliss. I figured my kids were used to it but I was respectful of their need for some summer closure.

I gave my son a moment alone with two besties – iPad and X-Box. He had a tearful farewell. I told him not to worry about leaving his “friends” unattended for 7 plus hours each day. I promised to go in and dust them every morning and to throw his video game controllers on the floor at least twice around lunchtime so they would still feel right at home. My daughter got choked up when she blew a kiss to the TV remote and thanked it for an amazing summer. I promised her I would light a candle in honor of the Disney Channel. With that done I loaded up and did the drop off and bye-bye.

So far, so good, until I attended a “Mom Coffee” comprised of moms from a wide swath of the neighborhood. Some I knew, others I had never seen before. Unfortunately the mom meet and greet sat me off from the get go. I tried, I swear I did. I smiled, I nodded, I made my “you are so right” parent face, but after 20 minutes I snapped.

I couldn’t take another mother blabbing and using a kleenex as her must have back-to-school accessory to emphasis how sad she was summer was over and her “little munchkins” wouldn’t be with her. Because here’s the deal – the mom doing the most award-winning interruption of “I love my kids more than you because I miss them already” was a total fake.  Her two kids when not enjoying back-to-back sessions of two-week sleep away summer camp or at their grandparents for an extended stay were at my house driving me crazy and I don’t even have children their age. Trust me, I think I saw her kids more than she did.

This is when I trumped the weepy moms fibs with a bigger, better one of my own. I told this group that it was really too bad they were so upset that school had begun because I had seen a recent study, somewhere, that had shown that moms who are the most sad about school starting are the ones that didn’t spend enough quality time in meaningful engagement with their children over the summer and thus their guilt manifests itself into a debilitating, chronic back-to-school remorse.

Oops!

Cue the crap storm. Moms got enraged! Kleenex were flung to the floor and women began to defend their summer schedules and suggest “how dare I question their parenting.”

“Goodness,” I said, (in my best Barney Fife married Miss Goodie Two Shoes voice), “calm down I didn’t write the study, I just saw it and to be perfectly honest I loved it. It validated my parenting philosophy because every year I’m thrilled when school starts.” (And now to toss some hand grenades into the crap storm I add this zinger.) “I’m glad to know it’s because according to scientific research I’m doing an incredible job as a parent.”

Oh-My-God I committed the cardinal Mom Sin I proclaimed that I was better than all these ticked off moms. Even worse, I credited science for the shout out. (So it was made up science, big deal and who’s to say someone out there isn’t really doing a study like that?) Every mom knows that you can’t just announce that you’re kicking butt in the Olympic sport of momdom.

You and a group of friends can boast amongst yourselves how superior you are to other moms but under no circumstances can you proclaim to the world-at-large that you’re a better mom than the mom or moms standing right in front in you. These weepy women, in no way, wanted someone like me to “out mom” them. In their world I wasn’t even a contender.  But, thanks to the Gift of Fib” I had yanked their chain, hard. Score! (Not that I thought I was a better mom. Maybe a mom whose head wasn’t up her ass, but better – well, who really knows?)

As I was enjoying their somewhat suppressed fury the “discussion” took a turn for the worse when one mom wanted to know where I saw the study. “I don’t remember,” I said thoughtfully. “It was some on-line science journal my husband reads.”

Good save, I’m thinking. People will believe my husband reads heavy-duty science stuff, but no one could see me devoting hours to bettering my brain with esoteric journals. To make it sound even more credible I added, “I’ll text him and try to find the link for you.”

One Rhodes scholar piped up, “Are you sure it wasn’t junk science?”

“No,” I quickly replied. “ It was an International Pediatric Educational thing.”

I knew it was time to make my get away before someone took me up on texting my husband for additional information. I thanked my hostess, grabbed another muffin (well really one-third of a muffin since they were of the mini variety) and then went back to the cluster of moms still debating the “study” and said goodbye. I told them I had to run.  I was so busy putting the finishing touches on my family’s “Our summer was so awesome were excited about school party.” 

“Yeah, it’s going to be an amazing evening,” I said.

“Where did you get the idea?” one mom asked like I was incapable of thinking up one of my own.

“Oh,” I get “The Gifted and Talented Mom magazine, don’t you? It’s part of the national G.T. curriculum. You should really check it out.”

(Note: I don’t have a child in G.T.) And with that I sashayed right out the door, really working it, like I thought I was something. In truth my family would be celebrating the first day of school with pizza and cupcakes and complaining, lots of complaining about the teachers that dared to give homework their first day back but really was that any of their business? I think not.

*****For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new Spring/Summer  Snarky line of clothing and accessories. Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.) Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

30 thoughts on “Liars – All of Them!

  1. Momof2Girls says:

    Snarky, you just crack me up, mainly because you tell it like it is (in my world). I have two young daughters, too young yet for school, but I remember my own mom practically kicking my brothers and I out the door on our first day back at school. She was always so pumped. As school began this year, my FB homepage just lit up with comments from mom friends like, “Can’t believe the amazing summer with my kids is over,” or “So sad that school starts for my precious munchkins tomorrow.” Only one mommy friend was brave enough to post that she couldn’t wait for her son to get back to school and out of her hair. I love your study. I may have to cite you sometime in the future when my own girls head off to school.

  2. Anna says:

    I was openly ecstatic to send my kids back to school this year. But then again, I had a lot of “quality time” with my kids this Summer. There was the move we did the day after school got out and the 2 weeks of selective unpacking that followed. DS hand carried his Xbox to the new home. Then there was the 1500 mile trek that included a drive clear across texas, and then the return trip clear across Texas. All for my sister’s wedding. There was the week long puke fest while in Texas for my Sister’s wedding, that gauranteed no sleep for me and a marathon with my Mother’s Washing Machine. Then there was the 2 weeks before school started that required repeated attempts at detoxing the granny influence that my Mom plied to my kids in copious amounts. All while my hubby conveniently got himself scheduled on one week long business trip after another. Oh and FYI, my hubby was definitely feeling the pangs of “separation anxiety” with the kids when they did start school……

    Oh and FYI, NPR just published an article about parents secretly celebrating their kids going back to school, while pretending to miss them. It’s legit! I read it, sort of. Ok I skimmed it. Made me feel better.

      • Anna says:

        As long as the medal is made of gold, so I can sell it and buy wine. Lots and lots of wine! The drive across Texas alone, requires an IV of fermented grape juice. And it was the long way, from east to west, and then in reverse. And there was puke involved. Lots of puke. And Nerf guns with smuggled bullets….

  3. Tracey says:

    I too call complete and total bullshit on any mom being overly weepy about the little Johnny going back to school. Good riddance! (okay, not really – I won’t go that far, but close :))
    (now little Johnny headed off to OU… that’s a very different story!)
    Thanks for the giggle Snarky!

    • snarkyinthesuburbs says:

      I agree, College would bring the the mega tears. The really big, sloppy ones that get merge with your runny nose to make snears (snot + tears). Although, my friends with older children tell me that the summer before college your soon to be out of the house kid annoys you so much you actually find yourself looking forward to their departure date.

      • Tracey says:

        Tis true… you’re ready to boot them out the door as well when the time comes. But that first 6-8 weeks of realization that they’re gone and not coming back is KILLER!

        To add insult to injury, your once reliable (and sober) built-in taxi service for the younger chitlins is doneski… gone. Now THAT was an adjustment! Imagine having happy hour cut short to once again join the ranks of the parent pick up line – the horror.

      • Jodi says:

        Oh my good gawd … I am SO glad you added that last sentence about the summer before your kids head to college. Our oldest will be heading off in late September, and while he has been a pretty good kid over the last few years, I would cheerfully boot him into next week at this point! If I hear “Well, I am 18!” one more time …! (For the record, it doesn’t matter if he’s 18 or 88, it’s our house, and as long as he’s in it…) Anyway, I know the actual departure will be difficult and tearful, but in the meantime, it’s nice to know I’m normal! — And I do a huge happy dance on the first day of school, and then spend it however I like, to celebrate. Wine is always involved!

  4. Susan A says:

    I am so there with the happy dance and have been ever since I dropped my oldest off at his first mother’s day out when he was one (he’s now 11). I never stay for the first day of school/boo hoo in my kleenex coffees. I have things to do and must get started immediately in order to catch up from the summer. Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can get things done without having to wait on children to get in and out of the car?

  5. Angela@BeggingTheAnswer says:

    My oldest starts preschool for the first time this fall, and so far, I’m not weepy. On one hand, I’ll NEVER feel like I did enough for her, or spent enough time with her (perfectionist, any one?) But at school she’ll have so many opportunities to learn and grow and make friends, that I’d never be able to provide her at home. So I might shed a tear or two, because she is getting older. But it’s not a tragedy.

  6. Kimberly says:

    Every year, I throw a party on the first day of school!! All the moms come, we drink mimosas and we celebrate our new found freedom. Luckily, in my area, the only Liar Moms I have to deal with are on Facebook. I’ve found some real ones to party with!!

    Mind you, I ADORE my children (as I’m sure you do yours). We just get along better when it’s not 24/7 and 110 degrees out.

  7. Ellen says:

    I am RIGHT there with you doing the “Happy Dance” to the parking lot!…..Usually…..This year for some reason I was a MESS! I was laughing at myself while crying my way out of the elementary school! I think it was because my “baby” started her “first day of her LAST year of elementary school”, my middle child started her first day OF middle school and my oldest started his “first day of his LAST year of middle school before starting HIGH SCHOOL next year!” It just hit me how fast it’s all flying by! But next year?! Happy dance all the way….except maybe a few tears on the way home from the HIGH SCHOOL?!?

  8. Deb says:

    A friend shared this with me and I think i have found my soulmate in you!!! Thank goodness someone else feels the way I do. I just want to give them a swift kick out the door – we still have 5 full days until school starts and while xanax helps, I can only take it 3 times a day. Can’t wait to have bloody mary’s after dropping them off!!! This is the first year they will be there all day – 2 boys, 1st and 3rd. Finally… Thanks for the laughs!

  9. Imene says:

    Maybe it’s not all black and white. Maybe we mothers are complex human being. I am happy to have the kids away for a couple of hours a day. Who likes to run errands with three kids in tow..unless they have some alcohol in their bloodstream. Despite the joy there is that little sadness at seeing them grow and be more independent. Can’t we be both?

    • snarkyinthesuburbs says:

      Of course, but I like to confine my weepy episodes to the privacy of the McDonalds drive thru lane not put them on display at the school and/or any other public venues where a multitude of other mothers can bear witness to my suffering.

  10. Kristin Cherwinski says:

    You are my new best friend! I LOVE the blog, and you could not have been more right on with this blog post! I am sure I will be sad at the end of the year… sending a Senior off to Purdue University next Fall, several hundred miles away, I will still have one at home. I felt bad last night dancing around the house while my younger one cried real tears while laying on the floor in anticipation of the dreaded start of school! HA!
    This morning while doing some prep work at the school for the AR Reading program which I volunteer for, I popped into my sons classroom and asked the kids if they knew what their parents were doing right at that minute. Then I started just dancing around the room! Hehehe. The horror… they were shocked!

  11. Samantha Harck says:

    Hey I feel guilty about the fact that the pools are closed. I kept wanting to go with my kid, but I kept being busy with summer school and working on our house… not that I didn’t spend quality time with my kid, I just feel like we missed out on the water play (unlike you I am totally addicted to water parks and swimming and all that) and it makes me sad. Pools here closed early due to crypto outbreak. So yeah… I think your study has merit. I am sad that summer is over… (although my child being in preschool/daycare he actually is home exactly the same amount) and part of it is cause I feel guilty.

  12. kim says:

    I do hate when mine go back but ONLY because i hate, HATE, hate getting up early….Totally selfish reason. I wanna sleep to 8 or 9!!!!

  13. Coco says:

    Yeah, I’m no award-winning sappy mom, either. The whole business of kids is just so much more complicated than I thought it would be. I’ve cried where I never thought I would and celebrated where I should probably be appalled. What it boils down to, is that I was a far better parent before I had kids.

  14. Carly says:

    I am going to miss my two older ones that I am sending off to school (2nd & 4th). They were a huge help with the twins ( 5 months old) this summer. However, I hold true to the thought that absence makes the heart grow fonder. They have to be absent so I can grow fonder. See you after school kids!

  15. Natasha says:

    Laughed so hard I almost got kicked out of the kids section on the library! If my toddler could be embarrassed, he would! Love it!

  16. Loquacious says:

    ZOMG!!!!

    Love this entry. You are my new mom crush. I hate having to socialize with these moms in the first few days of schools . . . and all the days afterwards.

  17. Donna Silber says:

    Those Moms aggravate me. They all think I’m a terrible mother because I am so happy to send the kids back to school. The worst are the ones that are devastated when their kids go to college, HELLO, you’ve known this day would come for 18 years, get over it! People tell me all the time “oh, you’ll be so emotional when that time comes.” When they find out that my oldest has graduated college and my next one is in college they are shocked that I’m not curled up in the corner in the fetal position. Then they tell me that when my youngest is in college it will really hit me. No it won’t, I’m looking forward to having so much fun with my Husband child free!

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