I may be the world’s worst mother and the world’s biggest hypocrite. Yay me! Would you like to know why? Because I recently had the opportunity to test one of my convictions and before I even realized that I was being tested – I HAD FAILED. You see, I believe that the Competitive Mommies of the world are a truly destructive force. I try and avoid them but they’re a fairly ubiquitous presence where I live. There are all kinds, but the ones that are the most frightening to me are the “Super Stars." These are the highly educated moms who gave up successful careers to focus on raising their kids. My kids and I are also super stars, but a totally different and more awesome kind.
• If the teacher likes her, then she’ll get extra attention and good grades. (Then came the evil laugh)
• She’s starting the year off strong and that’s great because this is the year they start tracking student achievement. (And my little precious must be tracked into the extra special group… My precious… Yes, by then I was Gollum - imaginary conversations and all - I’m not proud.)
• She’s right on schedule to take over the entire world. And all because I made her copy out her challenge words ten times… (And that’s when I became Super Star Mommy, because it was all about ME.)
I spent an inordinate amount of time at dinner that night telling Thumbelina how proud I was and how wonderful she was. Then Hawk, her little brother, asked the million dollar question: “Yah yah yah. Gold star. But what’s it for?” Thumbelina replied that the value that she exemplified was responsibility. She was really proud because in our family, we always talk about how important it is take responsibility for the things we say and do.
Oh my sweet melons… I am such an ass hat.
I crumpled. I actually started sniffling at the dinner table. I hadn’t even asked her. I only cared about The Gold Star. I didn’t care about what it was for. Responsibility. I was suddenly so proud and this time, for her. For who she was. For all the good things that she must have done that whole month of school. For the recognition that SHE earned.
“Thumbelina. I couldn’t ask for a better girl. And Hawk, if you get any more awesome, they’re going to give you a Gold Star for being a dang Jedi. And you baby – are the sweetest, stinkiest little monkey in the world, and I love you all day, every day.” And the kids looked at me like I was all crazy and just kept eating like things were normal. If they knew how to whistle, they would've done so to break the awkward tension.
I owed my daughter an apology and she got it. But I think I may also owe Super Star Mommy an apology, too.
Dear Super Star Mommy,
Maybe there’s hope for all of us.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010
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