I don’t like having conflict with other moms. It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward. It’s juvenile. It’s “Momflict.”
But every now and then a girl has to speak up, right? So I did. And it was uncomfortable. And it was awkward. And it was just a weeee bit juvenile. It happened last week when my daughters were in the school play. Make that the school “production.” Yes, production is a better word because by the way the director and posse of mom volunteers carried on with their headsets and coordinating hats you’d think we were on Broadway. Or that some major talent scout was in the audience. But it was really just an elementary school play that was taken to the next level by a few zealots (read: imperious moms).
Just for the record I like a school play that really has the markings of a school play. One where kids make their own costumes, where sets and props are cut out of poster board and stuff goes wrong. Stuff like kids saying their lines too early, or costumes being just a bit askew. Maybe you even hear a bit of the crew backstage when you’re not supposed to hear them. Yeah, that’s a good one. Because that’s what makes the videos funny in ten years. If I wanted to see a perfectly polished production I’d pay for it. Oh, wait, they make you do that too. If I wanted to see a perfectly polished production, I’d fly to New York and head to the Gershwin on West 51st. When I’m in a gymnasium I seek gymnasium quality.
So when I gladly gave up my Sunday (and previous week of evenings might I add) to volunteer for not one, but TWO performances of said musical “production” for my five- and eight-year-old daughters, I assumed my act of volunteerism would be met with open arms. Except when you have moms who are wearing headsets and coordinating hats yelling at you every five minutes and telling you what is and what is not allowed in the “green room” (really?) for a five-year-old, it doesn’t exactly work that way. What can be even more annoying is when you have to escort one of the 40 (yes, 40) young children you’re supervising to the bathroom in between costume changes and are told he is not allowed to pee. Who tells a five-year-old kid that he is not allowed to pee?
And this is where my momflict comes in. Because after trying desperately to sneak into the hallway when a microphone clad/coordinating hat volunteer mom was out of sight, another one came flying out from nowhere to scold me. Poor little Charlie really had to go. And I mean REALLY. So when microphone clad/coordinating hat volunteer mom started in (that is how I will refer to her for the next ten years or until she apologizes), I pushed back. I tried to be nice. Really. I used words like “Please let these children go to the bathroom” and “Please consider giving them a cookie while they’re waiting for three hours backstage” but it didn’t work. In fact, when a (gasp!) patron left the theater only to run into a cast member in the hall, all hell broke loose. “Actors shouldn’t be in the hallways in costume!!! What if a patron sees them!!!” But what if the patron is the cast member’s grandmother?!! Aren’t these the only people who come to school plays anyway?
Well, let’s just say that a momflict ensued. My niceties turned a bit ‘not so nice’ as I was unable to contain my frustration when poor Charlie stood there with his knees crossed begging to go to the bathroom at the “inappropriate bathroom time.” I had to break free. I had to show microphone clad/coordinating hat volunteer mom that she didn’t intimidate me with her Britney Spears get-up. She was obstinate. I had to get through. She was yelling. I was yelling. It was ugly. And I left feeling bad about the whole day after I marched into the men’s room myself with little Charlie (who was now crying).
Momflict can creep up on you when you least expect it, especially in the most innocuous of places: the soccer field, the gymnasium, the carpool line, outside of a teacher conference or anywhere where a mom is feeling the slightest bit competitive about herself or her kid. This is why I believe moms should work or have hobbies outside of their children. If nothing else, it serves to dilute the amount of energy they use to obsess about their kids. I usually stay out of this stuff but if I feel really strongly about something I speak up. And sometimes it gets me into trouble. Oh well.
So tonight’s Kitchen Chaos is for both the controlling moms out there who exercise their control best in elementary school environments domineering over really nice, easy-going other moms (read: me). And it’s also for you really nice easy-going moms who put up with the controlling moms (read: microphone clad/coordinating hat volunteer).
Try stopping me from eating this for dinner. I dare you.
And serve with red wine. Makes all the Momflict go away.