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.
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5 thoughts to “The Big F-You: Kindness Should Be Expected Of Parents Too!”
The idea of some mom calling me and screaming obscenities into the phone is just so… beyond the pale (and definitely beyond the brochure). It's sort of pathetic that parents need a code of conduct, too.
The Mom thing that goes on nowadays is crazy sometimes… Kind of like High School with a bit more money. I'm always depressed when I'm confronted with it. I'm an idealist, I guess, who wishes that we could all be sisters-in-arms regarding this whole parenting adventure. Alas, this never seems to be the case.
All that one can do, apparently, is stick their tongue out and say, "I know you are, but what am I?"
This is outrageous. I assume the school dished out a severe scolding and some sort of punishment to the offending parent?
Sometimes at schools, like in any environment, all the players do not get along. And yes, parents should act with decorum and kindness, but I will say that, in my experience at the Willows, this unfortunate exchange was an exception and not the rule. The parents that I have encountered in my many years there were, like the kids, kind and considerate.
I’ve sent the wrong email to the wrong person about a zillion times. Which is why we should all know better than to put nasty things in writing.
I hope you didn’t let her off the hook.