Once a week I take both kids to a Little Gym class, where they dutifully tumble around on gymnastics equipment (well, to be honest: Riley dutifully follows instructions and climbs on things when he’s told, while Dylan buzzes around the room like a rogue pinball, occasionally hurling himself into thin air from the tops of the uneven bars while the teachers’ backs are turned) and I sit in an uncomfortable plastic chair in a row of uncomfortable plastic chairs, all facing a giant window which I was initially convinced was one-way glass.

(It’s not, as I discovered the first day once Dylan suddenly popped up into view, his nose pressed snoutlike to the window as he waved gaily at me and I pretended not to know him because yeah right, like that’s MY kid running in demented little circles making farty motorboat sounds while everyone else is paying attention.)

The experience of sitting in this room has made me extra-cognizant of parental douchebaggery, as I think I’ve now reluctantly overheard every obnoxious discussion it’s possible to hear, often via someone’s extra-loud cellphone conversation which they conduct with one finger plugged dramatically into one ear as they shout over the poor gym teacher’s attempted presentation about what exactly it is our children are learning today.

Vaccinations and why everyone should delay them, foods no child should be allowed to eat (#1 on the list: sugar, NOT EVER!), the best private preschools for the under-3 crowd, the right entertainment to hire for birthday parties . . . I don’t know, I’m not saying these things aren’t worth talking about, but the fact that I hear so very much about these topics every time I sit in that room has totally started reminding me of those Windows 7 commercials:

I mean, really? You get like an hour to kick back and bullshit without a kid climbing halfway up your ass, and really?

You know who I want to sit with? Someone who will join me in (lovingly!) making fun of our kids. I want to elbow someone and point at Dylan and go, “What the hell does he have in his brain, exactly? Packing peanuts?” And they’ll laugh and go, “Wait, check out my kid! He’s totally about to fall off the balance beam. This is going to be hilarious.”

I’ve eliminated any possibility of this ever happening, though. After class, as the kids came stampeding out and the parents applauded, my adorable boys rushed into my arms and shouted “MOM! MOM! WE DID SO GOOD TODAY! CAN WE HAVE MCDONALDS?”

And as fifteen pairs of eyes turned to see how I’d turn them down, I said “What the hell, guys. Why not?”


124 Responses to “Really?”

  1. Frannie on February 17th, 2011 7:25 pm

    Sure I don’t plan on finding lifelong friends at the park or gym. If I do, then that’s fine. But I find myself people watching more often than not. I don’t take parenting or myself super seriously either. I’m not even a mean person, but I find myself in conversations where I’m telling myself, “…Really?” I’m 30, and just had a baby boy last week and have a one year old boy as well. It would be nice to have other people besides my husband understand what I’m talking about and laugh together. It seems half my friends are getting their masters in underwater basketweaving and baking vegan cupccakes, vowing never having children yet wondering what it is to “grow up” and then the majority of parents I do meet are on some weird competition trip, 1-upping about their SUV’s, shitty jobs, house, their new [enter “The BEST materialistic item out this week”] etc. “Yes,” I tell them, “You win!!” I thought it was just a Florida thing.

  2. Brenna on February 17th, 2011 8:39 pm

    I had this EXACT experience at my kid’s gymnastics class last week. I told my husband about it afterward. I listened to 3 families planning their weeklong summer beach rentals for a solid hour.

  3. Jennifer on February 18th, 2011 12:05 am

    Ah, love it. Reminds me of the occasional stop-by-McDonald’s on the way home from swimming lessons (reward if we paid attention to the teacher!) We didn’t have McD’s often, but on that occasional time, it was such a treat.

  4. Jessica on February 18th, 2011 1:46 am

    If you want to switch to the Lake City Little Gym, I’ll sit with you and be that mom. :-)
    I’d say it’s an Eastside thing but it probably isn’t.

  5. Alyson on February 18th, 2011 12:04 pm

    Geez! I HATE THOSE moms! And they get even worse when their kids are older! Elite soccer, and select baseball and Mandarin classes, and robotics camp……..

    Yes, I have a straight-A gettin’ violin-playing kid. But other than driving him to violin lessons and rehearsals, and baseball practices during the season, I am out of his business. I am NOT musical, and I am NOT atheletic, I don’t hang around watching every little move and sniping with the other helicopter moms about “bad” foods, and “bad” activities, and “the very best” of whatever.

    I DO love finding really great activities for the kids for not a lot of money. Things that excite them and that they love. But elite pre-schools, private schools, and one-upping his friends’ parents at birthday parties are not things I care about.

    My 13 year old and I flip shit at each other constantly, and we talk about things that are important to him and me.

    You’re going to come out with NORMAL kids……everybody else is raising kids that will spend a lot of time with the psychiatrist.

  6. KarinP on February 18th, 2011 4:38 pm

    Stop the insantity, McDonalds? But the apple slices make it healthy, right? At least that is how I try to convince myself.
    Amen, to your post! I love your blog and the way you think. Hysterical.

  7. elz on February 18th, 2011 5:17 pm

    I learned to bring stuff to read b/c the parents watching/waiting for their kids are the most insipid “one-uppers.” The mothers at my daughter’s new gym KILL me with their discussions. They discuss how they are doing their children’s school projects…you know, b/c the kids are too bust with their fiftyfrillion after-school classes.

  8. Jillian on February 18th, 2011 5:44 pm

    Sounds like we’re living parallel lives only, I have one more boy, live in Aspen and am working on tweens.

    glad to find you!

  9. Jen on February 18th, 2011 7:18 pm

    Why the hell not. Really. We could so be friends.

  10. Rhonda Fairman on February 19th, 2011 9:58 am

    I’m a MichaelPollanreading-nutritionobsessed-tryin’tobearawveganbutsometimesIjustfindmyselfatTacoBell parent of an 18 year old, but this week when he lost his regional champion wrestling match and afterwards asked to go to McDonalds, of course we said yes.Because that’s what loving parents do.

  11. The Informal Martriarch on February 19th, 2011 6:17 pm

    You need to come to the Little Gym we go to. We always make fun of our kids and talk about everything under the sun. I love that place.

  12. Kristen on February 20th, 2011 2:16 pm

    I have an entire website devoted to lovingly mocking my child (and myself), for the entertainment of friends and family. That aside, I have found making friends in Seattle, particularly since having my kid, nearly impossible.

    What’s very interesting is how many people here chimed in to say “Wow, you’re speaking for me” and “If you you lived in City X, I would totally hang out with you.” Maybe your calling is to get a forum up, or start a meetup group, or something…Match.com for sarcastic mommies?? I think it would work. I’d join.

  13. Laura on February 21st, 2011 6:56 am

    I call them the multi-hyphenates. They aren’t just parents, they are a walking, talking parenting philosophy. We have them here in GA and they are usually the loudest, most judgemental people in the waiting room. Having worked with kids for many, many years I just kind of ignore those parents because what they don’t know is kids are humans and won’t subscribe to a philosphy. Give it a few years and they will realize that they wasted a lot of time being so uptight and rigid and judgemental. As for me, I don’t subscribe to any rigid dogma, I just do what feels right and works for us. I consider any day where my kids and I are still standing at bedtime to be a good one!

  14. Deanna on February 21st, 2011 1:34 pm

    Hey- I miss your Survivor reviews. Too bad you are not doing an Amazing Race play by play.

  15. Laurie on February 22nd, 2011 3:03 pm

    Love it! I would so sit there and laugh and them with you.

  16. JAB on February 22nd, 2011 9:13 pm

    Too bad we live in different states…I think we would be fast friends :)

  17. Meaghan on February 22nd, 2011 10:16 pm

    Argh. There’s nothing I hate more than other parents criticizing my parenting.

  18. Brian on February 23rd, 2011 12:32 pm

    You are my hero. I would love to sit next to you.

  19. Ser on February 25th, 2011 5:29 am

    I recently blurted out, to an unknown mommy in my kickboxing class, “Sometimes I imagine my children while kicking and punching.” Why the hell can’t we all be honest about the highs and lows of parenting? Luckily, she laughed.

  20. Aviva (omyc.wordpress.com) on March 1st, 2011 6:43 pm

    It’s funny…. I brought my little guy to a trial class at one of those gyms and the parents were nothing like the ones you describe. The only other parent even paying attention to his child was criticizing and threatening him (“If you don’t listen [to the instructor], we’re going home NOW!”) and the other moms were just blabbing to each other about… whatever boring crap they were blabbing about. I’m actually an anti-McDonald’s mom. I don’t care what other parents do, but here’s the other side of this: I’m so sick of people telling me I am cheating my child by NOT taking him there. I have a hard enough time getting him to eat healthy food as it is; I don’t need help from a place that serves overly sweet, poor quality crap that makes people fat and ill. And believe me, I am not against sugar and not against french fries, hamburgers, pizza, etc. But I don’t want him to get the taste of that pseudo-food because he will keep asking for it.

    But everything in moderation. There’s nothing wrong with lovingly laughing at your kids. Sugar and crap food is okay in small quantities. None of us is the perfect parent and none of our kids are perfect, either. We’re all just doing our best and we’d do better to learn from each other instead of trying to one-up and look down on each other.

  21. Andrea Fox on March 6th, 2011 7:28 pm

    oh my god this is hysterical. I especially love that your paragraphs are usually one long sentence. great writing!

  22. Anonymous Pregnant Woman on March 25th, 2011 7:26 pm

    My daughter took a “creative dance” class and the moms who parked themselves out in the hallway were a nightmare. I actually made sure to pick a completely different time/location so I’d never have to see the same cluster fuck again. One of the mom’s had this grating baby voice and would go on and on about how “awesome” everything in her life was. I can’t even recall all of the nonsense I endured. I just remember my son who used to wait with me spilled blue Gatorade on the floor and before I even saw it she was quick to rat out my son. Even implying that he was acting like he didn’t do it. What is wrong with people?

  23. Lisa on April 1st, 2011 9:43 pm

    For all the times you wanted to say something to “That Mom”.

  24. Martha on May 13th, 2011 1:41 pm

    Man, I just love reading your blog. You CRACK ME UP! I can so relate. I would totally love to chat about packing peanuts in the brain with you – my son is coming up on 3 in June. Just catching up on your entries. Love it!

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