Los Angeles, CA. September 7, 2010, 9:15 a.m.-- FU******K YOU, a mom from one of my kid’s classes screamed into the phone, before hanging up on me. It was the first day of school. I had just dropped off the kids and returned home before the phone started ringing. And ringing. And ringing. My short conversation with this mom wasn’t exactly what I was expecting on the first day of school. I was just hoping my kids would have a good day and all would go well for them.
This mom’s behavior was uncivilized and pathetic. She came unglued. A lame apology that blamed me was emailed several weeks later. You’re probably wondering what happened? Our kids didn’t have a fight. We didn’t volunteer together. We barely know each other. Certainly nothing that would justify that kind of a phone call!
We recently asked readers in a poll on this blog if it was important to have friends at your kids school. Most said yes. I agree. I need friendships with other moms at my kids’ school to help me get through the ups and downs of school, parenting. A Girls Night Out is fun too every once in a while! I’ve decided, however, after a few years at the school, that I only need a FEW friends. It took a while to make those really close friends, but our friendships have withstood the test of time…and of school politics.
My second year at The Willows, I co-chaired the school’s biggest parent-run fundraiser, the auction. We raised more than $200K. Great, you think? Not according the the head of the parent association (this position also comes with a board seat). After the event was over, I was exhausted, completely worn out. It was early evening when I received her email. It was a write-up thanking the auction co-chairs that would be printed in the school’s newsletter. I read it. The head of the parent association had nice things to say about my co-chairs. Then I read her blurb about me: “arrogant”, “extremely skilled at getting donations”, “a true Dr. Jekell, Mr. Hyde personality”. WHAT? This computer illerate had accidently sent the nasty email to ME and ALL MY CO-CHAIRS. Needless to say, there was collateral damage.
My conclusion about all this? When we ask–or demand–kindness, fairness and civility from our children, we must insist on the same from their parents. I’m not perfect! I admit to being difficult to work with sometimes. But, I’m a mom at a school doing volunteer work. To be insulted in the way I have is a sign of entitled wretchedness. Getting that early morning call at home on the first day of school isn’t what you want with your morning coffee. It speaks to a culture of mean-girl behavior.
Bullying is a big problem at many private elementary schools, which struggle to deal with bullies and mean kids. If schools insist on nice-girl (and boy) behavior from our kids, they should insist on it from the parents too.