Mommy wars were originally the stomping ground of the working in the home mom versus the working out of the home mom. Now most people understand no matter how you slice it, it's ALL WORK! Why bother fighting over who does what best. In my world it goes something like this, I'll make the cupcakes(disclaimer below) and you do the spread sheet. Before Excel, carpools went something like this, hey if you drive Monday, I'll drive Thursday? I can read a spreadsheet, just don't ask me to write it or even print it, I don't need 16 pages to tell me I drive on Thursdays...I digress however, the new mommy war is a foot.
The battle of the alpha mom versus the slacker mom. We've all known Alpha moms, they were usually telling you that A) they had a natural birth, upside down in the bath tub, and they nursed until their kids were old enough to go to kindergarten which is why B) their child is so advanced, they walked at 9 months and were "eliminating" in the potty at one(the last is utter BS on so many levels) C) their child plays and instrument, reads, speaks another language etc...(no,"agua" doesn't count?!) at 3 and will most likely be a genius. Somewhere in our sleep deprived brains we knew to get AWAY from those alphas and left them and their tribe to their own devices. We found our own tribe, the ones who subscribe to the "5 second rule."
You can pick a groovy pre-school and avoid their withering gaze at the park until you are all thrown in the pot again in elementary school. It gets more apparent as your child goes through the ranks and stuff starts to "count." Another ambigous term, remember when you would be threatened with, "young lady, this will go on your school RECORD!" Have you ever been denied a job because the evil Mrs. Saunders(3rd grade) added something to your school record? The purpose of elementary school is to learn the basics, a little math, reading, writing a complete sentence, acting human versus animal-like, practicing your "inside voice" and other helpful skills that ideally will allow you to learn a lot more as you make your way into middle school, high school and finally college. In the big picture, NOTHING in "ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNTS." The infamous STAR test, it will go the way of your school record.
The Alpha mom hasn't figured this out yet, they are the parents with the 1st grade Science project of working solar panels, ten different types of goop and a comparitive analysis of the goopiest . Most 1st graders are still amazed at how much their baby tooth decayed in glass of Coke and are pretty sure the tooth fairy isn't going to pay them for this one!
My current mantra is, "hey you, Alpha Mom, you've already done 4th grade, how about we let the short people have at it?" My current rant has been triggered by the second round of the "kelp forest project." Que bad music. Two years ago I survived this same project. Pretty straightforward, make an animal that dwells in the Kelp Forest. Each kid was assigned an animal. Stretch got the red octupus. He, not being very interested in art, deemed the Sunday before the project was due to request the trip to Michael's Craftstore. Bright and early, we were off and he bought a pink styrofoam egg, some wired irridescent ribbon, some brown paint(apparently red octopi are only sometimes red, but mostly brown) and some googley eyes. He played around with the supplies and a couple hours later had an octopus. I was thrilled, he was thrilled it was a WIN! My only doubt about this "kid" project had been raised on the Friday prior when I ran into my co-room parent. When asked about her plans for the weekend she said, "I just spent $145 on leopard print velvet and I'm on tap to make Goldilocks her (lifesize) Leopard shark for the Kelp forest with my new sewing machine." I asked our local version of Mr. Hooper if this sounded accurate, he laughed and explained that his oldest had done the same project a few years earlier and stapled and stuffed some paper cutouts together. She found out the day it was due thatshe was the only person without a life-sized, sewn, stuffed and or robotic sea creature. He said, "it's all about the parents."
However, since all the projects were due on the same day I opted to not share this with Stretch and he made his Red Octopus with little fear that it was less than perfect. Shorty came home two weeks ago and announced he had WON the Harbor Seal. I must have inadvertently rolled my eyes because he quickly said, "it's ok mom, I can do this myself, we can even use paper!" He foraged some grey paper and squirreled away some newspaper. I happened into class last week to drop off a forgotten lunch as a 6 foot long, crushed blue velvet, Whale Shark was dragged in by a lanky 9yo. Shortly thereafte,r a two-tone grey, Great White shark(also 5 feet long) made an appearance. One look at Shorty and I knew he was realizing his paper version wasn't going to be "good enough." After school, he came home and announced that the seal was going to be way too hard, he wasn't good at it and he should just lose the 100 points or whatever it was worth. I explained that I would help him, but it had to be something he could actually do, since I've already been to 4th grade and I have the sugar cube Mission to prove it. He looked highly skeptical, as I'm very open about my craft impairedness, but he thought it was worth a try. I made the dreaded Michael's trip and opted for felt, they only had black for $3.69 versus the $15 a yard "mottled grey"velvety stuff. I figured he could cut the felt and if he screwed it up neither of us would be too upset. I picked up a glue gun, some stitch witchery, stuffing, googley eyes and still spent almost $60, how is this NORMAL?
Today we found a picture of a harbor seal swimming, luckily they look a lot like a fat torpedo. We drew it in chalk, cut it out and stood over the ironing board with our stitch witchery stuff. He then very carefully stuffed it and we took a break to resume tomorrow. He is pleased so I am pleased but this wasn't necassary. Please don't tell me that anyone let their 9yo take scissors to $80 worth of fabric or run it up on the sewing machine. The Alpha mom thinks she and her offspring are winning but where is the WIN in mom doing the project? Granted the seal looks more like a finless killer whale but Shorty couldn't be happier because it's comparable(ok it's fabric) to his peers and he did it. We need to remember that we had our chance at 4th grade and now it's their turn, no vicarious living please. Do something mom-like and shame me with a spotless house, carpool spreadsheets or kick my butt in the local fun run but stay clear of the classroom, it's not fair to the little guys!