I Got An F In Homeschooling

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 10.30.18 AMSomeone please explain to me how several weeks ago it was “breaking news” that a 22-year-old woman is pregnant, especially a young woman with no job, no formal education, who lives in the Ozarks and is married to a teenage boy. Wouldn’t it be breaking news if she weren’t pregnant?

Okay, I’ll admit that Jessa Dugger (the expectant mother), whose sole claim to fame is that her mom, Michelle, has a very sturdy uterus and has birthed more than a dozen and half children, is a little bit of reality “star” from the TLC network show “19 Kids and Counting”. But come on, “breaking news” that she’s expecting a baby?

I get why people watch the Duggar’s TV show. I gave it a lookie loo primarily to witness a mother who has that many kids and chooses to homeschool them. I can’t imagine not wanting the euphoric relief of putting at least half of them on the school bus five days a week. If I were that mom the sweetest sound in the world would be the squeal of the school bus brakes as it stopped in front of my house.

Not that homeschooling doesn’t have its appeal. In the TV world homeschooling mamas attract viewers. You’ve got the Duggar Mom on TLC and that Pioneer lady on the Food Network.

In fact, it was fellow homeschooling mothers that helped propel the Pioneer Woman onto the radar of the Food Network. When I discovered that maybe one of the reasons she got a cooking show I felt better about the tastebuds of the world-at-large.

I have nothing against the Pioneer Woman. She seems delightful, but when your cooking show is so void of actual cooking (my theory is because everything she make seems to be based on an eight ounce jar of Ragu or a sleeve of Oreos) that the most consistent and oft-repeated camera shot is a close up of you washing your hands, well, you know you’re not really killing it in the kitchen.

I even feel a little bit guilty right now not having these two legendary homeschooling mothers’ backs. For you see, I was a homeschool mom. I’ll wait a second for you to stop laughing.

Here’s the quick back-story. My husband and I knew, sort of, that we would be moving soon and decided to not subject our then 12-year-old son to a junior high that had more lock downs than school assemblies. I was fully ready to assume the mantel of educator until my son empathetically told me, “I don’t want to get dumb so you better let me handle this.”

Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. Forget about the pressure of making sure your kid isn’t an idiot the real drama is some of those homeschool moms. Talk about cliquey – yikes!

There’s the super holy “Jesus is the reason” group, and then there’s the “toxins in the classroom are killing our kids” group which overlaps the anti-vaxxers which has nothing on the “my kids are too smart to go to school because they were reading chapter books and I mean real ones not that Magic Tree House claptrap 11 weeks post womb.”

Once moms found out I was homeschooling it was like I was being rushed for a sorority. You know, until they found out I was the “our local junior high kind of stinks so we’re giving this a try until we move in a couple of months” mother.

The one thing all the moms did share were very intense emotions regarding homeschooling. A lot of them felt like it was their calling (and I love this and it means these women are far superior to me) which explains why they’ve rallied around and I’m guessing had a hand, due to sheer numbers, of propelling the “19 Kids and Counting” Mom and the “Pioneer Woman” to fame. This all leaves me a little disappointed in myself.

What if I had embraced homeschooling and instead of Snarky in the Suburbs was Harried & Homeschooling. Maybe I would have legions of followers or dare I dream my own cooking show. (I can see the camera close-ups of my hands already)

Maybe it’s not too late for me. I still have one kid in school, my 14-year-old daughter. What if I yanked her out of 9th grade and began a most wondrous mother and child journey of educational awakening and enrichment? I’m getting serious butterflies of excitement just thinking about it.

Wait, no scratch that, butterflies are gone, way gone.

Trapped 24/7 with a hormonal teenager whose mood swings are so turbulent some days I feel like I’m on riding shotgun on a tsunami. Yeah, that’s a great big no can do.

Not any amount of fame would be worth it for either of us. The only reality show that would come out of that would be When Mothers Go Cray – The True Life Tale of a “Yeah, I Thought Homeschooling Would Be Parenting Bliss” Mom.

Not that it wouldn’t be ratings gold.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second 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! 🙂

Bridezilla – The Early Years

show-imageI confess to, on occasion, watching the trio of reality wedding shows that are on the TLC network. There’s Say Yes to the Dress, Say Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids and Four Weddings where brides attend and rate each other’s ceremony and reception. (Have I mentioned these are all on Friday night? That right there tells you a lot about my social calendar.) I usually sit on the couch, my mouth agape, thinking that none of the nonsense I’m seeing really happened. It must be sort of, kind of, scripted because it’s all too crazy.

For example, what bride gets two wedding dresses? And an even better question is why would a parent pay for two dresses? Where’s the mom saying, “Hey, there mentally unhinged daughter of mine, you don’t need a separate wedding gown for your ceremony and a different one for your reception.”

If you do the wedding math the bride is only going to wear her ceremony gown for, what, two hours, max? As for requiring a different dress for your reception – is your wedding really going to be such a throwdown that you need a back up?

I’m not a dolt. I know wedding receptions have changed, a lot, from back in my day and I have zero nostalgia for the weddings I attended as a young adult. I was a bride in the 1980’s and, trust me, no one misses wedding gowns inspired by the TV show Dynasty with puffed sleeves so ginormous they could do double duty as umbrellas and receptions held in the church fellowship hall with punch, cake and Jordan almonds. (Just why on the almonds? How did that ever become a wedding thing?)  Regardless, I’m still flabbergasted by the receptions I see on TV. There’s the cocktail hour where you pre-feed your guests a light buffet before the seven course, sit down dinner, followed by a post reception midnight breakfast. It’s like the witch in Hansel and Gretel is the wedding cater and she’s stuffing the guests so she can eat them later.

But, as of this week, all of the current wedding hoopla makes sense from the multiple dresses to the layering of the reception into three different events. You see I have found the birthplace of this foolishness. The primordial stew, if you will, from where all this festers and flows. It’s called high school homecoming. Yes, that’s right homecoming (not prom, people). A dance held in a gym, that is infused with the odor of a thousand sweat socks, is ground zero for the making of a bridezilla.

Confused? Hang on, I’m going to walk you through it. Having lived through my first homecoming as a parent of a girl here’s what I learned. A high school homecoming usually requires two outfits. A fancy-ish dress (with abundant accessories) for the dance and one for the after party which may or may not have a theme. The grooming ritual for the dance can include; spray tan, professional hair and makeup, mani/pedi and, at the very least, an eyebrow wax. Once again, lest you forgot, this is all for a dance in a gym.

The “Ho Co” activities are as follows: First, an outdoor photo session with the dinner group (which is at least a dozen kids). This can take upwards of an hour for the parents to get all the pictures their daughters are telling them they need. I have discovered that the picture-taking is THE most important part of homecoming. It’s all about the pictorial. Seriously, for most girls their dates are simply a conduit to a photo-op. Next up, is dinner at a restaurant, then the dance in the gym described as something to be “gotten out of the way” so the teens can head to the after party which, as previously stated, requires a change in outfits.

Now, if you have girls, as young as 14, being schooled in this crazy, the whole bridezilla epidemic makes perfect sense. Why wouldn’t you “demand” two dresses for your wedding if you had two for your flipping freshman homecoming dance?

This is why I felt I needed to take a firm-parenting stand. I figured it’s never to early to start waging a war against raising a bridezilla. So, I gave my daughter a two-figure homecoming budget and a Discount Shoe Warehouse coupon. Little does she know, that someday, her adult self will thank me or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

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.