Thursday, February 11, 2010


"So here I am, up to my ass in papers; permission slips, assignment notebooks, reading logs--I'm making eggs for four kids AND I'm packing four lunches," Coffee Friend 2 is describing her morning,"and BOOM Izzy says it, 'Mooooommmmm, why don't you ever put a note in my lunch like Morgan's mom does?" Coffee Friend 2 looks at me for emphasis, "Can you f**ing believe it? A note. In her goddamn lunch. Like I got time for this shit!"

Her youngest, the five-year-old interjects here, "Mom, I can hear you." Coffee Friend 2 shrugs apologetically.

Sigh. My friend has just fallen victim to the hyper-mom-syndrome. This is what happens when you take a bunch of lawyers and MBAs and they decide to stay home with their kids full time. They take all that go-go-go energy, all that extra-credit and over-time mentality that worked so well for them in college and the career world and apply it to their parenting which really requires a different skill set altogether with the first skill being, reeelaaaxxxx.

It is not enough that they offer their kids every opportunity at every sport and artistic endeavor available. It is not enough that they sit behind me at a restaurant and make Tyler do his multiplication tables while they wait for their macrobiotic meal (mine are coloring and eating mac and cheese). It is not enough that they volunteer for every activity at school and are on every PTA-type board (which reminds me of the recently-stay-at-home bank VP who used to say "vis-a-vis" at nursery school board meetings until I once broke out into a fit of giggles--I mean really we were discussing who would bring the lemonade and she somehow worked "vis-a-vis" into the sentence). No on top of it all they must put love notes into their kids' little lunches.

And that would be all well and good if our own children would just stop looking around and noticing we do not do some of this nicey nice stuff. Who needs that? I'm still recovering from a sleep over that Lilly went to hosted by the nicest mom in the world, Khaki Voss (the same one who has a Christmas party the night of ours and siphons our friends away--she and I are going to have to have a throw down in aisle 4 of the Dominick's if this keeps up). Apparently, Khaki--known as "Ella's Mom" in this story, not only stays up late to check on the girls at sleep overs and offer them timely snacks (I close the basement door and go to bed at 9:00) but she gets up early and makes the girls pancakes! In cute animal shapes! Damn you Khaki Voss and your Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes!

"Do you put notes in the kids' lunches?" CF2 asks me at the end of her rant.

After I finish snorting hot coffee out my nose I answer, "What lunches? They make their own. Actually, Lilly once wrote herself a note and asked me to sign it. Is that wrong?"

CF2 looked relieved. I know how she feels. Sometimes it feels like you're Alice in Wonderland and you're not sure if you're crazy or everyone else is. A wise social worker once told me it's important to seek out parents who share your parenting values so you don't start doubting everything you do.

Which is why I have coffee with that wise social worker once a week. And neither of us puts love notes in our kids lunches every day.


  1. So at what age would kids start to feel embarrassed by these notes, or throw away lunch boxes altogether and have thoroughly unhealthy snacks instead?

  2. The kids around here seem immune to public embarrassment; the daughter who wanted the notes is in the fifth grade. I would say these notes appear in a lot of lunches well into junior high and are still seen as status symbols. There are moms who even bring lunch to school through high school (I've heard of such things).

  3. Hahahaha, I've read about a weblogger bringing his son's lunchbox to school into the classroom, deliberately to embarrass him, after he discovered that is son had started to leave it at home and to get some snack instead.

  4. As your still working (slaving?) SVP banker friend, I wanted to tell you I have never used the term vis-a-vis in my life (and maybe why I have survived in the banking industry for so many years). I think I am raising the kid okay. He rarely takes lunch and usually buys but last week when his card was low, he doubted my ability to fill his card timely (I had) and made his own lunch to take. I didn't even know til after the fact. Self sufficiency - that is what I am about. He does get notes from me but they are of the "feed your lizard", "charge your phone" and "don't forget your ID again" variety. Usually the words please or love are not included.

  5. Just wanted to thank you for another great laugh! I somehow stumbled on your blog and simply LOVE it.
    Great book about those crazy type A moms - "Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety"

  6. Anonymous: thanks for the kind words! I will check out the book.

  7. Thanks for telling me about your blog. I have spent the past hour enjoying the stories I have read - I only got through a few. By the way, I have been told by my highschool senior to never write "I love you" or "love, Mom" at the end of a text. Apparently, it's embarassing.

  8. Bonjour Judy
    I have been blogged under problems and took time out to check out your latest. Thanks for the great laugh. You think that the Type A suburban moms are outrageous, you should have tried raising kids in Paris where women not only work full time, raise the kids, stand in line at the market, cook 5 course meals, and run the country...they do it all while wearing heels! Pat Vive l'Amerique Home of the PBJ and tennis shoes.