First Day of School Rules For Parents

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 12.44.44 PMPrayers have been answered! The first day of school is here. Praise the glory that is the number 2 pencil and all hail the college ruled notebook and three-ring binder.

I will admit that starting school in August seems really, really early and I have some guilt issues that I’m this excited to see my daughter go bye-bye for seven, long, beautiful hours a day. But then I remind myself that school ended for us before Memorial Day and presto I’m no longer feeling bad about doing the back-to-school happy dance.

For those of you curious about what my happy dance looks like it’s a combination of a jig with a little Polka influence, then I throw in some Bee Gee’s Saturday Night Fever disco with a hip hop influence that says, “This girl still got it” and if I’m really feeling it, like my back doesn’t hurt and my knees are making that weird clicking sound (what’s up with that?), I bust out a cartwheel.

I think I look cool doing it. My husband disagrees and says my “dance” is not only incredibly painful for him to watch, but also scares the dogs and rattles the house’s foundation. Whatever. I think he’s just jealous because really who wouldn’t be? When I do my hip hop inspired Running Man move it’s, it’s . . . well, it’s something else that’s for sure.

The only thing that has the power to kill my happy dance is parents who on day one break some very basic back-to-school rules. This is why I, (whose hip now hurts from landing my cartwheel on my butt) in the spirit on continuing education, will now share with you my top four back-to-school rules.

Rule #1 Do not bring the teacher a gift on the first day. I see this happening every year and it’s in a word – awkward. I don’t care if it’s a Starbucks skim mocha latte with extra foam or a cookie cake. (In the yes this really happened department. One year a mom brought a cookie cake to a teacher and the icing was a picture of the teacher’s face. Yikes!)

The whole gifting the teacher on the first day of school says way too many things about the parent doing it. Who’s ready for a pop quiz?

Does gifting the teacher mean:

A) That you’re the worst kind of suck up. 

B) You’re letting the teachers know you’re willing to reward them for favors.

C) You’re a show off and are using the first day as a way to signal to all the other parents that you’re a Super Mom.

D) All of the above

If you picked D go to the head of the class because you just got an A+.

Rule #2 Do not turn the first day of school into a photo shoot featuring your child. I get it some parents want to publish a coffee table book on their kid’s first day of second grade. But don’t be the parent that asks the teacher to participate in your pictorial to such an extent that it’s creating chaos.

When my son was in the fourth grade there was a dad with two cameras (each with a telephoto lens) around his neck directing the teacher as he clicked away. It was all, “Mrs. Williams can you lean in closer to Katie so I can get another angle? “Okay, now I need you to move your head to the right, pick up a textbook and pretend you’re showing it to Katie.” On and on it went until I stood in front of his cameras. (Someone had to do it.)

 Rule #3 Do not have your mom sorority, clique, gossip girl group, whatever you want to call it, block the forward motion of other families walking into the school because your collection of awesome friends have decided to have a “I haven’t seen you since Bar Method class yesterday” reunion in the foyer of the building.

Ladies, please take all that love to the parking lot or cafeteria and let other parents and their children proceed into the school without having to leap over you or accidentally on purpose hitting your Lululemon Hotty Hot shorts (actual name of a Lulu short BTW) with a Marvel Superhero’s backpack.

Rule #4 If you have a position in PTO/PTA or are a room parent that requires the help of volunteers please (and I’m begging you to take medication if you have to) resist the urge to begin your campaign of volunteer shaming on the very first day. Go ahead and put a flyer in kids backpacks heralding “exciting volunteer opportunities for the school year” but for the love of all that is holy DO NOT start guilt tripping or doing any subtle brow beating as in: “Wow, it seems like I never saw you last year? Did you do any volunteering at all?”  OR “Do you think you can make time for (insert your child’s name here) this year.”  But wait there’s more with this goodie – “It would be nice to know if we can finally count on you.” And last, but not least the classic – “Don’t you care about education?”

Now parents let’s follow these rules and make it a great first day!

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a new book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

Dear Snarky – Did I over complain at my kids school?

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Dear Snarky,

My twins have just started the first grade. I love their school but I do have a couple of issues with things like school pick up and drop off, homework assignments and the cafeteria. I have shared my areas of concerns via email and in person to both of my kids teachers and the principal. All three of them were very receptive to my complaints and seemed like they were glad that I brought the problems to their attention BUT now I get the feeling they are all avoiding me. Did I make a mistake?

Signed, Evelyn

Dear Evelyn,

You didn’t actually make a mistake. I would call it more of a misstep in prioritizing. It’s never wrong for a parent to express their thoughts over problems they see at school, but I’m afraid your zeal in pointing out your many “areas of concern” less than 22 days into the new school year might have you tagged as just the tiniest  bit of a high maintenance whiner.

Here’s the deal, the school year is nine months long and like in parenting and marriage you’re going to have to pick your battles. If you’re complaining about everything you’ll get nothing. Prune your grievance list down to the issues that most impact your kids and pace yourself. There are only three times you can really just let it rip about everything that’s bugging you – I’m talking waving that mom freak flag with wild abandon and that’s when your youngest child is in their last year of elementary school, middle school and high school. Those three years you are good to go in sharing your opinion about everything because you’ll never have a child at any of those schools again and that means you’ve got nothing to lose. Who cares if the entire school staff hates you – you’re outta there!

If you have a question for Dear Snarky email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com.

Five Ways to Get Out of Volunteering At Your Kid’s School

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It starts in late summer with emails from the PTO alerting you to various “fulfilling” volunteer opportunities awaiting you at your kid’s school. On the first day of your school your child’s backpack is stuffed with sheets of colorful copy paper – each one proselytizing a “fun” volunteer gig. By the second week of school you’re being solicited as you wait in your car in the after school pick up line. Week three of the new school year the gloves are off and you feel a little like you’re being bullied into chairing the school spirit wear sale. When week four hits you give in from equal parts sheer exhaustion and because you get the feeling some of the other moms are talking about you and not in a good way.

Now, before you tape this list to your refrigerator please be advised that I have loved volunteering at my children’s schools. In fact, I have met my best mom friends from doing my volunteer due diligence. But there are times in one’s life when you need a pass from tallying up the school gift wrap orders which is why this handy list was created.

1) Have another baby. A newborn will get out of any volunteer duty. Just showing up at school with your bundle of joy is akin to wearing a sign that says “Leave Me the Hell Alone!” But beware by the time that baby celebrates it’s second birthday you will be considered back on the market and hit up with a vengeance. After all, you’ve had  a “two year break”.

2) Volunteer Outside the School. This one will buy you a year max. But it has to be a substantial volunteer opportunity with not just any organization. It should be high-profile – say Junior League president or chairing the Symphony Guild. Being a Cub Scout Den mother won’t do anything for you. In fact, it could hurt you as in – “Well since you’re already doing the popcorn sale for the Cub Scouts it would be sooo easy for you to just tack on chairing the school’s cookie dough fundraiser. I mean they’re like pretty much the same thing – right?”

3) Start a New Job. Tread carefully when using this one and make sure the words part-time job don’t enter into your career description. Which means even if it is part-time or a home based business as far as anyone on any committee at your kid’s school is concerned you’re putting in 40 plus hours a week.

But be warned this is not a “forever” excuse. It’s simply a single “get out of being a committee chair” voucher. The whole job thing in the school volunteer lexicon is meaningless because there’s always a mom who is a cardiovascular surgeon and is piloting her own jet to Syria two days a week to perform life saving medical treatment with the International Committee of the Red Cross AND is treasurer of the PTO.

4) Get New Agey. Share that you are restructuring your life and prioritizing your family’s goals to enhance pivotal bonding moments and increase your spiritual connection to the Sun Goddess Shemesh therefore leaving you with zero time for “other world” commitments. Sure, there will be talk that you’ve booked first class passage on the Space Shuttle Cra Cra with non stop service to WTF but I can guarantee not only will you be left alone but people will be wary of making eye contact with you.

5) Volunteer for the Big One. By this I mean agree to chair your school’s biggest fundraiser. Oh, I know it sounds counter intuitive, but trust me one big volunteer commitment is your get out of jail free card for YEARS. Here’s how I suggest playing this for optimum long-term impact. When your eldest child is in third grade bite the bullet and say an enthusiastic yes to the fundraiser. While chairing the fundraiser let it be known about all the hard work you’re putting in, the hours it’s stealing away from your precious family, and for extra measure I always like to throw in that it’s causing just the tiniest bit of marital discord. All of this is excellent info to share at any PTO meeting when you’re asked to do an update.

After the fundraiser is done and has exceeded expectations, because who are we kidding you were in charge and of course that means fundraising records were set, you then ride off into the school volunteer sunset. What all this means is for the rest of your tenure as a parent with school aged children you can use the excuse that you Chaired the (insert name of fundraiser here) back in (insert year here) and you really are still recovering. No one will dare challenge that statement and instead will look at you with awe and in some cases eyes aglow with reverence and thank you for your service. Sure, it’s was months of hard work, but if you do the math and extrapolate that over the years your kids are in school you’ll find that it’s a cost benefit analysis winner!

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new fall 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.

The Reverse Stubing – Part 3

You’ll be relieved to know the whole me in disguise scenario was quickly abandoned.  Nikki, diplomatically pointed out that my, “Personality was too unique to camouflage.”  What she really meant was my fat ass, but I appreciated her kindness.

What totally convinced to give up the disguise plan was when Kelly said, “Two words for you – yoga pants. Don’t you remember last year when you said you were going to try on some yoga pants to see how the other half lived. So, you went to Lululemon and got a pair.  You can’t have forgotten what happened next?”

“Yeah, I remember. I pulled them on, which left me a little winded from the exertion of getting them up and over my thighs. It was a like a workout with resistance bands and I spent the better of a day walking around with a camel toe in the front and a butt crack peek-a-boo in the back. Yes, it was horrible.”

Kelly added, “Your exact words, I believe were, ‘It was a 8 hour lycra colonoscopy.’ You also over shared that you ‘needed tweezers to get the pants out of your crack.’  So, yeah, thanks for that. You do know that all the backstage helpers wear black yoga pants, black T-shirts and, I know you’re going to love this, an apron.”

I maybe could have suffered through the yoga pants, but there was no way I was wearing an apron. Sure, it would have covered the camel toe, but the apron to me said, “I’m here to serve.” I couldn’t stomach the thought of “serving” those moms.

So, I went with Plan B – sneaking backstage and saying I was there to take some behind the scenes pictures for the PTA newsletter. We all thought that would work. Nikki, though, would be doing the heavy lifting. She said she was up for it as long as I was right beside her.

We all finished our mojitos, except for ABC who wanted a “roadie.” I gave her a Snapple instead and everyone rounded up their kids and headed home.

The Evening Before the Style Show

Nikki as instructed had signed up to volunteer as a backstage helper. She also e-mailed Charity and said she would be “flattered beyond words” to be her “dresser” for the event. Each mom and child model had a dresser.  A person that would help her them get the clothes they were modeling on and off.  Charity took the bait and picked Nikki to be dresser.

This evening Nikki and I were going to the Bridal Boutique to pick up the gown Charity would be modeling. All the stores that were letting clothes leave their premises for the style show required that you pick up the clothes up right before the event and then return them right after the style show is over.

We were showing up the night before for two reasons. One, I had cased the joint and knew that the owner of the store that help pick Charity’s gown did not work in the evenings. I didn’t want anyone in a position of authority to question us or worse, report back to Charity.

Two, that meant only three young women would be working and I felt they wouldn’t question us. We needed that to ensure we could successfully pull a bait and switch with Charity’s dress.

As soon as we walk in I go up to the youngest looking woman working behind the counter and tell her we’re here from Edgewater Elementary to pick up the bridal gown that they’re letting us borrow for our style show. She knows just what I’m talking about and goes in the back of the store to get the gown.  When she brings it out. I ask her to unzip the bag so I can confirm that it’s the right dress.

I confess to the sales assistant, “The woman this dress is for is sooo picky.  I don’t want to be the one that brings the wrong dress. Have you meet her? She’s kind of orange.”

The young woman laughs and answers, ‘No, but I’ve heard about it. We all call her the tangelo.”

“Oh my,” I say as I’m inspecting the gown, “This dress is too big. It says it’s a size 8.  Do you have this in stock in any smaller sizes? The tangelo is tiny.”

“Wow, sorry. I’ll go check right now.”

The clerk comes and says she had the gown in a size 6 and 2.

I look at Nikki, we’re both smiling, and say, “We’ll take the size 2.”

My only worry is if the manager of the store sees the size 8 gown tomorrow she may wonder why no one has come to pick it up. We don’t want Charity to get a phone call. I ask the clerk, “You know now that I’ve thought about I’m just a little worried to leave the size 8 here. What if Charity, the tangelo, had something planned we don’t know about. We’re both, (I gesture to me and Nikki) a little afraid of her. She’s got a temper. Would you mind just zipping the size 8 in her too and letting us get this worked out. I don’t mind leaving a credit card on file with you if that’s what it takes.”

“Oh no, that won’t be a problem. We’ve got Charity’s card so, yeah, go ahead and take the dresses.”

Five minutes later we’re walking out the store with both gowns. Score! We drive to Kelly’s house so she can change the size tags on the two gowns. Kelly is one of those women who is blessed with crafting abilities.

She knits beautiful hats and does amazing scrapbooks for her girls. Even the paper she uses would qualify as works of art and she gets very excited about pagination.  Out of the four of us she’s the only one who could gently remove the size tags and change them out without hurting either gown.

In a matter of minutes the size 2 dress is wearing a size 8 tag. We are good to go for the style show.

One Hour Before the Noon Style Show 

I’m en route to the country club for the Style Show. I’ve got ABC in the car with me. She’s holding a box on her lap that contains the Style Show programs. When we get there I’m going “backstage” to check on Nikki, to make sure she’s surviving her Hot Mom Tour of Duty and ABC will be busy putting the programs on every table.

I felt kind of bad for ABC. She was feeling left out so I had her work with my son to make up a fake ad for the program which was a faux plastic surgery clinic.

The ad read: The Plastic Surgery Team of Lee, Gummelt  & Martin is proud to support Public Education and Edgewater Elementary.  We’re also proud of our patients. Sixteen of the Mommy Models have experienced our surgical artistry in the form breast implants, tummy tucks, fanny lifts, facial injectables and vaginal rejuvenation – proving our clinic can keep you in “model” form.”

I emailed in the ad from a school computer straight to the company printing the program (good luck tracing it back to me) and yes, it’s mean. So what?

Furthermore, if these women don’t want me messing with their program then they need to quit putting me in charge of all the PTA’s printed material. Doing the school newsletter, directory and crap like the Style Show program is deemed, I’m sure, by the hot moms, work for the “attractively challenged”.

They also need to proof better. The mock ad was in the final proof and the committee signed off on it.  All I’m saying is they need to work on their attention to detail. Plus the ad is like a brain teaser.  The audience can play “Guess Who Got a Boob Job” or  “Whose Hoo Haa is Back To Full Virgin.” It’s just another example of how I’m always giving back.

We get to the country club and ABC and I go our separate ways. I head straight to a portion of the C.C.’s ballroom that has been cordoned off to dress the models. Bless Nikki’s heart I can hear Charity squawking even before I get into the room.

She’s in four-wheel drive bitch mode, screaming at kids and moms, the country club staff, pretty much anyone that crosses her path. She’s got her hair in hot rollers, is wearing a white silk robe, and some angry-looking stilettos that scream “I have my podiatrist on speed dial,” while her acrylic nails keeps tapping a checklist on her I Pad.

I run over to Nikki, put my arm around here and ask her if everything is going okay.

“No, it’s not okay. Charity should not be in charge of anything, ever! I thought she was bad just as a human being.  But, add in being the boss, like she is here, and it’s Cruella De Ville drinking crack cocktails.”

“I’m so sorry, but hang in there this whole this is over in two hours and I know it’s going to be so worth it.”

“The only thing getting me through this is the look on her face when she tries to get her orange butt in that wedding dress.”

“About the dress – has she looked at it?”

“Yes, but all she did was unzip the bag to make sure I picked up the right one.”

“Okay, great?” right after I say this Charity sees me and clip-clops over in her heels to ask me what I’m doing.

“You know behind the scenes stuff for the newsletter,” I say very importantly.

“I guess that’s okay,” she spits out. “Just make sure I get to approve what you write and also no photos without my approval.”

“Yeah, sure. No problem,” I say, but in reality if Charity wants that much control over what goes in the lame PTA newsletter then she can write the damn thing.

The Style Show Begins

I duck out and hang with ABC and Kelly.  We entertain ourselves by watching people leaf through the program and either gasp or laugh when they see the plastic surgery ad.  Right at high noon Charity comes out in a Michael Kors suit and introduces herself and goes to a podium off to the side where she’ll MC the Style Show until right before the grande finale when she comes out in bridal couture.

I stay in my seat and watch the show until I see Charity hand over the MC reigns to her Style Show vice chair – the second ickiest woman on the planet Jacardi Monroe. (For more information on Jacardi please see Do You Know This Woman?#2)  As soon as Charity starts walking towards the “model” dressing area I get up and follow her.

I hang back until she’s out of her Kors suit and begins to step into the bridal gown that Nikki is holding. Nikki gives me a look that says, “Here comes the shit storm” as she’s helping Charity pull the dress up it stops at mid-thigh. Charity begins really tugging at to get it to move. Her face is turning Capri Sun Fruit Punch Red from pulling on the dress so hard. That’s my cue to rush over and ask if I can help.

“No, You. Can. Not. Help,” seethes Charity.

Nikki says, “Charity let’s try pulling the dress over your head and see if that works.”

Good job, Nikki, I think to myself. That will totally tornado her hair.

Nikki stands on a chair and begins to lower the gown over Charity’s head.  The gown makes it as far as Charity’s boobs and won’t budge. The dress has become a chest tourniquet

By this time Charity is having a melt down. She pulls the dress up and off, F bombs are flying like Fritos at a second grade slumber party. Charity screams, “You F’d up. This dress has got to be wrong size.”

That’s when I step over and say, “Nikki check the tag?” Of course, I know what’s it’s going to say, but I had to play this out. By this time we had quite an audience.

Nikki, like she’s trying to tunnel her way to freedom plows through all the dress fabric, finds the tag, and pipes up in a very chipper voice, “No, it’s a size 8!”

“There is no way in hell this dress is a F’ing size 8!” Charity screams. Her bellow was so intense her full body spanx seemed to vibrate.

“I know,” I say, “Let’s really loosen the corset ties and try again.”

The gown was one of those bridal dresses that you lace into like Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With the Wind.  So, Nikki and I remove the lacings and enjoy the sight of Charity trying to stuff herself into the dress.  This time it goes on, but there is no way we’ll be able to lace it together. There’s at least a foot of naked back staring at us, but that doesn’t stop us from “trying.”

“Charity,” I say in a very loud stage whisper, “You’re not pregnant (pause) with twins are you?

“F No”!

Well, then girl you must retaining water like a sperm whale or Shamu is in your family tree because I don’t think there is anyway we can make this fit. Could you, I don’t know, do something like “Quadraspanx?”

“What the hell is that?”

“Quadrapspanxing is when you wear four pairs of Spanx.”

“I’ve already got on a body-shaper and booster butt panties and I’m having trouble breathing. I can’t wear any more F’ing Spanx!!”

“Okay, okay calm down FATTY We’ll figure this out.” Oh, what joy that F word brought me!

Right after I said, that two hot moms are running towards us screaming, “Shut up, shut up!  We can hear all of you on the runway, especially you!” They both jab their overly blinged fingers in my face and while we’re talking about fingers whoever thought that “crackled” nail polish look was a good idea was totally wrong.

“What are you talking about?” I ask sounding very confused and innocent.

“Charity, you left your microphone on!”

“I most certainly did not.  I took it off as soon as I came back here to get dressed.”

All eyes turn and stare at me.

Charity points at me and shrieks, “You have my microphone on! Why?”

“Hey, you threw it on the floor.  All I did was pick it up and clip it on my pants so it wouldn’t get trampled on.”

“But you turned it on. I know you did!”

“I don’t even know how to turn it on.” I rip the mic clip off the waistband of my pants and say, “Here, take it and turn it off.”

While, throwing the mic I’m thinking “Excellent, everything is going just as I had planned.”

Remember when we were young and all we needed to get something from a guy was a smile and maybe a deep lean over so he could get a glimpse of our upper to mid boob?

Now, that we’re in the cavernous pit of middle-aged to attract a man’s attention we’re forced to use LPC – Laser Precision Complaining.  A lethal mixture of angry mom and psycho school librarian. That’s exactly the tactic  ABC used with the dude running the sound board at the Style Show.  As soon as I headed backstage she got up and started bitching at the sound board guy about how the mics sounded “scratchy” and everything was “way too loud.” “We’re not paying you for reverb young man!”

ABC in his face distracted/flustered him to such an extent that he never cut off Charity’s mic which meant everyone could hear the meltdown. This is what attention to detail looks like my friends. Don’t leave home without it.

(Alert Snarky readers will also noticed the microphone mix up sounds very much like the ploy I used in “So, I Was Kicked Out of the Junior League. Is That So Wrong?” Let’s just say I’m a firm believer in recycling.) 

I ask, “Could you hear me call Charity a fatty?”  I tried to sound concerned and apologetic.

“Yes, and a sperm whale!  Couldn’t you hear everyone laughing?”

“No, we were far to busy trying to shove Charity into this damn dress.”

Nikki says, “No worries, no worries. Everyone calm down. Charity focus on getting dressed.  We’re just going to lace you in the best we can.”

“You know I have another solution,” I volunteer.  Charity you could get back in your suit and have someone else, someone who might actually fight into the dress, model. Like Nikki, here.”

Nikki quickly answers back with, “Oh no, I couldn’t wear that gown. It would just swim on me.  You’ll need a much bigger girl.”

I step back and look at Nikki, like a proud parent.

Way to come through with the lethal insult!  To think one year ago, she was so shy she cried when another mother complained about the quality of the marshmallows she used in the Rice Krispy Treats she made for the winter kindergarten party.

(Truth be told it wasn’t the marshmallows that were the problem it was the generic rice cereal. I may only have a B.A. degree, but if there’s one thing I know it’s baked goods and cereal based dessert treats.) And now, with my gentle guidance she’s blossoming into a snarky woman. I couldn’t be more pleased.

Nikki and I begin to lace the gown. It looks wonderfully hideous. From the front the dress is simply horrible. Charity’s boobs are barely contained and there’s puckering everywhere from her body trying to escape.

The back, what can I say, the back is a thing of rare beauty. The ultimate fashion no. You see more spanx than dress and the laces look like they’re could give up at any minute. Plus, the combination of spanx, too tight dress and laces that are fighting for their life have funneled any excess skin/flab Charity has into a case of extreme back fat that jiggles when she attempts to inhale air.

Like I said, it’s a sight to behold. We lie and tell Charity she looks fine – kind of.  I believe our exact words are, “This is probably as good as its going to get.”

Charity shoos both Nikki and I out-of-the-way, stops at a mirror, fluffs her hair, attaches some stupid looking blusher veil and starts walking out of the dressing room to the runway.

Nikki and I run as fast as we can so we’re in the audience for Charity’s big reveal. Charity walks out on runway and I’ll give her this, she worked that bridal gown.This 43-year-old, orange, mother of two swayed her hips and sashayed it with everything she’s got, which was a problem.

Each time she gyrated the gown’s corset, whose tensile strength was being severely tested by the fact that a size 8ish body was forced into a size 2 gown, would become looser and looser. Bring on the double nip slip!

It took Charity a couple of seconds to realize her nipples were free, free at last. She quickly turned around to walk back up the runway and that’s when you saw the gown gaping open and the wonder of the back fat funnel.

The gasps that occurred when Charity’s nips winked at the audience were replaced with at first chuckles, then laughter that worked it’s way to howls.

That was our cue to leave – quickly. Nikki, ABC, Kelly and I hauled out of  ballroom. Our work here was done. As we walked out of the Country Club and headed towards the parking lot I couldn’t help myself, I started singing The Love Boat theme, until ABC told me to shut up which, of course, only made me sing louder.

Love, exciting and new
Come aboard, we’re expecting you
Love, life’s sweetest reward
Let it flow, it floats back to you

Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure
Your mind on a new revenge.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends I have a new book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

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.

The Suburban Anthropologist’s Definitive Guide to the Elementary School Mother (Revised for 2013)

imagesAs another school year is beginning I would be remiss if I didn’t share this compelling research completed by my keen scientific mind (and by scientific I mean snarky). I consider myself one of the foremost Suburban Anthropologists currently working today.  My area of expertise is the suburban elementary school mother. Known in the science community as -”Mater Ludem.” In my study I have documented that elementary school moms can be placed into 17 distinct species categories. (In alphabetical order)

Bling Bling Mom: Bling Bling yearns to the center of attention. You can spot her a mile away because of her tendency to over bedazzle. From excessive cleavage to turbo tanning Bling Bling likes to think she’s one hot mama. Not big on volunteering she will help out on any “dad heavy” events like Field Day and attend the parent only fundraisers where she usually over imbibes and hits on someone else’s spouse. Her female offspring can easily be identified as the little girls wearing large diamond hoop earrings and kitten heels in kindergarten.

Enviro-Organic Police Mom: This is the sugar buster mom or as I call her, while shoveling McDonald french fries down my pie hole, the no fun mom. The Enviro- Organic Police Mom is armed with science and lots of good sense but her crusade is not tempered with compassion. She’s the mom responsibility for the sugar-free birthday party treats rule, the fruits and vegetables only school holiday parties and the no bake sales or cake walks at the school fair edict. I applaud her healthy mission. I object to her condescending manner. Just because a child has experienced the unfettered joys of the Happy Meal does not a bad mom make. The Enviro-Organic Police Mom can usually be seen wearing hemp shorts, a sustainably grown bamboo velour hoodie, and organic cotton tennis shoes with natural Amazon hevea rubber soles. Do not let her see you with a plastic water bottle.The lecture will be long and intense. Her offspring can be found at my house eating tablespoons of refined white sugar and Duncan Hines brownie batter.

Facebooker/Twittering/Instagrammer: Say hello the social media whore. This is the mom’s whose self-worth is measured by how many followers she has on her various social media sites and she’ll even stoop so low as to request your kids be her “friend”. No hum drum detail of her day is so insignificant it’s not worthy of being status updated, tweeted or shared. Avoid this woman at all cost and if you do see do not make direct eye contact. Chances are if you so much as glimpse in her direction you’ll wind up on her Twitter feed as #momsatmykidsschoolaresostupid

Hipster Mom: Look for the mom in the tight indie rock band t-shirt, cargo pants, some kind of ski hat, (although it’s 97 degrees out), and the newest funky athletic shoe/sandal hybrid and it’s a pretty safe bet you’ve found the Hipster Mom. She excels at being cool and has extensive knowledge of off the beaten track eco-vacations, the latest, tastiest sustainable wheat harvested micro brew, and her iTunes is jammed with the most “awesome up and coming bands ever.” She’s the female version of Peter Pan, never growing up, stuck somewhere in between her senior year in college and grad school.  Her kids are way cool with long hair that looks like it’s never seen a brush, and baggy, saggy, yet expensive clothes that say edgy with a touch of vintage rocker.

iPadder: Beware of this mother at any school event and for the love of God do not sit anywhere near her. She will block your view of the school play, choir recital, band concert – you name it with her iPad hoisted up in the air. When not using her tablet to record every precious waking moment of her children’s life you can find her with her head down transfixed on her iPad. This mom has lost the ability to engage in the conversational arts as Candy Crush is taking up all of her free time.

Marathon Mom: You see this mom running most mornings apres school drop off.  She volunteers for events that feature some kind of physical fitness. She’s usually clad in spandex running pants, jog bra and a huge runners watch to track her time and distance. This mom is motivated and dedicated as long as school events do not interfere with her training schedule and marathon dates. The Marathon Mom can tend to her volunteer obligations all while jogging in place, checking her heart rate, de-wedging her Nike thong underwear and sniffing her armpits.

Mean Girl: Like cockroaches mean girls never die. They grow up and spawn mean children. This is the girl who made you cry in middle school, who you hid from in high school and the one you tried to keep out of your sorority by hiding her legacy references. The Mean Girl is up at the elementary school under the guise of volunteering, but it’s really to stir up trouble. She’s the mom who corrects the Friday spelling tests and then blabs about which kids got bad grades. She’s a fixture at every school function not to help, but to complain about how it is being run and/or start rumors about PTA malfeasance. No surprise her children are school bullies, yet in her eyes, they can do no wrong. She circumvents any of her child’s discipline problems by threatening to take legal action against the district.

Mom Jeans: A staple of any elementary school. The mom who time forgot. Her high-waisted jean clad lower half is usually paired with a tucked in knit shirt (that totally emphasizes the hideousness of the mom jean) and generic sneakers. Her hair is short and facial waxing is a foreign concept. The typical Mom Jean works in the background of school events preferring to keep an extremely low profile.  Although, there have been reports of Mom Jeans with superior math skills ascending to the “lofty” position of PTA Treasurer.

The Old (insert city or town of your choice here) Mom: The old designation does not refer to the Mom’s age, but her family’s social standing as in “She’s Old Dallas” translation she’s “old money” or “once upon a time money.”  Many of the Old (insert city or town of your choice here) Moms trade on the history of what once was and try to block out their more meager 21st century financial situation. This is evidenced by the fact that her children are in public schools.The Old (insert city or town of your choice here) Mom usually has at least four names, with at least one being ridiculous – like Windsor Astor Carnegie Ford.  Her friends call her Winnie or Tor. You don’t call her anything because she doesn’t make eye contact with your kind.  And by your kind, I mean those of us who not only shop at Target, but worship its mighty therapeutic powers. This Mom can be seen at school liberally name dropping and planning her 6 year olds birthday day party with a debutante ball worthy zeal.  Her volunteer skills are not wasted on the elementary school level, but saved for black tie events that may make society news.  One quirk in the Old (insert city or town of your choice here) Mom is that she is surprisingly cheap when it comes to donating to the school.  No contributions made to the school raffle, teacher birthday party fund or even a school directory purchase.  Rumors abound that she habitually forgets her wallet at lunch and one summer never paid for her children’s private swim lessons.  Her female offspring can be identified by their monogrammed hair bows and Lilly Pulitzer shorts.  Her male offspring by their collection of exclusive summer camp T-shirts.

Phoner: We’ve seen this category drop off in numbers as more and more Phoner Moms became Texter Moms or iPadders.  Although, the volume is still significant enough to warrant entry into the study.  The Phoner Mom can be seen and heard yakking into her phone during any and all school functions. Her phone turns her into a play-by-play announcer at kid’s events.  Empirical data example – at school concerts the Phoner Mom is sharing every bit of the action with her phone.  “Oh, there’s Eddie. He’s walking on stage. He looks so cute. I wish you could see him.  I’m waving at him now. He saw me. He’s waving back.”  This goes on for the entire concert. The Phoner Mom’s unhealthy relationship with her mobile device makes it impossible for her to follow school protocol and turn her cell off.  She just can’t do it. No amount of dirty looks from other parents, no intervention from school authorities is enough to break the hold the phone has on her.  She’ll need rehab and a 12 step program to successfully battle this addiction.  Research shows that the phone is a gateway drug that without treatment eventually leads to dual Texter/iPad Mom syndrome.

 Poser: This mom uses the elementary school as her own personal fashion runway.  Every foray into the school is a chance for this Mom to show you what she’s got in her closet.  She comes to pose not to participate. I estimate her morning grooming ritual takes at least two hours. Class party equals Rock & Republic skinny jeans and off the shoulder Marc Jacobs cashmere sweater.  P.T.O. meeting means Tori Burch sundress and matching flats. Her other identifying feature is gianormous bug eye sunglasses.  If the paparazzi frequented elementary schools and In Style magazine did fashion layouts featuring mom’s in the burbs then the Poser Mom’s life would be complete.

 Stiletto: The Stiletto Mom can be identified by her smoking hot shoes. I’m talking Sex in the City worthy footwear. Think Manolo Blahnik’s $965 Chiffon Open-Toe Bootie sandal/stiletto.  When she walks onto school property you hear her first. The distinctive sound of handcrafted Italy leather shoes with an outrageous heel clipping down the hall.  This mom is rarely sited on the grounds of an elementary school.  She’s a career mom with a capital C and doesn’t have much time in her schedule to make frequent appearances at school. Everything about her denotes power and prestige. Her clothes are as expensive as her footwear. She smells like money. If money smells like the Neiman’s couture department. When she shows up though she delivers. Cookies for the school party – they’re not just grocery store bakery issued.  They’re one-of-a-kind creations by a celebrated pastry chef.  Her off spring is the one that is not hugging his/her mom.  Stiletto child learns at an early age not to touch Mommy’s clothes with eager, potentially paste encrusted or magic marker stained hands.

Texter: The Texter Mom can be identified by her obsession with her smart phone. At any school event she can be found transfixed by her phone.  Cradling it lovingly in her hands as her thumbs work themselves into a frenzy.  No matter what is happening at the school her face never leaves her phone screen.  I’ve conducted several experiments over the course of the year to determine the Texter’s love affair with her phone in correlation to her motherly devotion to her child.  Sadly, I must report the phone won – handedly. Here is sampling of data from my research: Child on stage during a performance – Mom’s face staring at phone.  Child taking part in athletic event – Mom’s visual acuity focused on phone screen. Child in spelling bee – Mom’s face still implanted on phone, thumbs moving at high rate of speed.  The last bit of research that sealed the Texter Mom’s cellular preoccupation leaning towards an O.C.D. diagnosis was the Mom texting during her child’s parent-teacher conference.

Two Faced Roving Gossip: Dangerous if cornered the Two Faced Roving Gossip is a nomad moving between all the species categories. How else would she collect ingredients for her slander stew.  Her strength lies in her ability to be a chameleon changing her personality to suit each group and ferret out half-truths and facts to disseminate with the school’s parent population.

Vajazzler:  (Bling Bling Mom’s hotter sister) Her credo is: “I’m hot and you’re not.”  She works the elementary school environment just like she used to work the stage at the “gentleman’s club” – proud and loud. Her biggest challenge is remaining upright due to her overwhelming breast enhancement, that gravity being what it is, tends to tip her over at times. Look for the Vajazzler rubbing up against all the dads at school functions and not being afraid to “bust a move” during Field Day.  Beware having your child go to her house for a playdate. Rumor has it there’s a pole in her bedroom.

Worker Bee: This mom is the glue that holds the school volunteer effort together. She can been seen buzzing around the school multi-tasking at events and doing most of the heavy lifting.  Her unique trait is the ability to give a non- volunteer (i.e. The Poser) a blistering evil eye while simultaneously running the school fair and laminating children’s artwork. She also excels at self-control.  She can listen to anti-volunteer moms (i.e. The Mean Girls) complain about how “lame” a school function is and not punch them hard right in the face. Her identifying physical traits are dark circles under her eyes and hair that you know she’s going to color or highlight just as soon as the fundraiser is over.

Yoga Pant/Ugg Mom: From the first day of school to the last this is the mom who you will never see in anything but Yoga pants and Uggs. It doesn’t matter if it’s 110 degrees and the National Weather  Service has issued a heat advisory this mom will still be yanking on black yoga pants and her beloved fur-lined Uggs. This outfit is most often accessorized with a Venti Starbucks and a superior attitude.

No species groups are pure. In my research I have found that some moms are adept at shape shifting from one group to another or not being fully part of one group but having attributes of several different species.  For example, a Mean Girl could also be an Old (insert city or town of your choice here) Mom and a Poser or a Mom Jeans could also be a iPadder or a Phoner. As in any research you should factor in some degree of author bias. Yet, I think you will find my methodology holds true and my data is sound. For I am, if nothing else, a professional.

***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.