Tag Archive | volunteering

Don’t be a douchey parent (or adult), Part deux

frugalistablog don't be a douche parent

Anyone that knows me in real life, knows I’m a pretty level-headed person. I’m rational, calm and quite friendly. I don’t react impulsively and I’m usually pretty good at de-escalating conflict. Okay, McSweetie would say differently. He thinks I troll for arguments with him like it’s a sport. That’s another topic entirely.

So when I feel like going all honey badger on someone’s ass, it isn’t often. And I get the pleasure of doing it virtually via my blog. Voila. Wanna vent? Get a blog, it’s cheaper than therapy. I’ve griped before – read here.

There are two categories to this rant- parents of children in sports and adults who are in charge of children, i.e. coaches or teachers.

1) Parents of Children in Sports:

Let me address you bluntly. Your kid is not the next David Beckham or the next Buster Posey. And if they are, well, they are just going to have to learn to play with the ‘little’ players. Hearing from you that you feel the team’s downfall is due to the fact that there’s new kids on the team and it’s better to have the ‘core’ team get to focus on playing time, is absolute utter bull shit and pretty much a false reality.

Do you believe in unicorns too?

So when a new kid comes into your kid’s classroom, do you ask the principal for that new kid to be moved to a different class? Wouldn’t want that ‘core’ group to be disrupted huh? All that important synergy could go down the tubes.

Or when your hot shot kid player does go pro, will he never be traded? Never be cut from a roster and forced to play on a – heavens no- NEW team?? Oh gads, the shock! Teaching our children to adapt and learn to play with others is so… uhm…. hard. Yeah.

If you haven’t figured out already- I’m being totally sarcastic here and you need to get your head out of your ass. The real world goes like this- people come and go in groups, whether it be teams, classrooms, neighborhoods… get used to it. And there’s no “I” in TEAM or GROUP. There’s ‘I’ in DICKHEAD though. And ISLAND. Perhaps you should go to one and leave the rest of us to play nicely with each other.

2) Adults who teach and coach little kids:

Let’s see, how can I put this mildly? Don’t be an asshole. Oh wait, that wasn’t so mild was it?

Don’t yell at my kid and their teammates and tell them they lost because they are a group of losers that don’t deserve to win. They are little kids. This isn’t the Marines. I’m not paying the club $100 for my child to be degraded by a parent who thinks he’s all that because he can tell a bunch of children what to do, or he’s frustrated because they aren’t executing what you’ve been coaching to them. I know- so frustrating, kind of like, uhm, PARENTING IN GENERAL. They are kids. They are still learning. They probably won’t get it the 10th time or the 100th time. But count to ten and start again. I know- sometimes PBS can be helpful.

Not sure where you got your Coaching 101 skills but even though you aren’t getting a paycheck for this gig, you need to keep your cool. If we hold our teachers to a standard in a classroom, we should hold our coaches to a standard on the field.

Is it hard volunteering and corraling herds of cats, er little shits? Yes. Trust me- I’ve organized and run 5 talent shows at my daughter’s school. Five. Wrangling 50 plus kids who are singing the latest Miley Cyrus song or banging out chopsticks on the piano for the millionth time is damn nerve wracking. But I didn’t lose my shit. I saved that for home. If I lose my shit, it will be in front of my own kids. Not the kids I’m put to be in charge of. And most of the time I just made a gin and tonic and got in the bathtub afterwards. It does wonders. You should try it.

We teach our children to use their words. To be kind. To treat others as they want to be treated. Well parents,  it’s time to go back to preschool. You haven’t been using your words kindly or treating others how you would want to be treated.

Everyone gets a chance to play, and everyone deserves a chance to be respected. So there- off to the time out chair, parents AND coaches- you’ve been naughty.

The world of a 3rd grader.

Chaperoning for field trips is not my thing. Yet, I do it all the time. Why am I suckered in to this type of thing? I volunteered for my son’s 3rd grade field trip to the science center. It exhausts me to be around children that aren’t mine. Who am I kidding? It exhausts me being around my OWN children! Which is ironic since I’m  so involved with PTA and constantly find myself with kids. My level of respect for teachers and staff in the schools always increases ten-fold after one of these instances of volunteering. How everyday they wrangle 20+ kids is beyond me. Beyond me I say.

The science center is one of those giant places that has the potential to lose a kid or two. Chaperoning to a place like the theater where they sit still in a room together then load the bus, is usually less exhausting by nature. So several hours with 8 year old boys running around with exhibits, not to mention other schools who are on their field trips, was a recipe for exhaustion and possibly an Amber Alert.

But you know what? It wasn’t so bad. Yes, I soaked in the tub that night for a half an hour and went to bed a whole hour early, I couldn’t cook dinner and had to get take-out, but aside from the physical exhaustion, the day went without a hitch.

My group of boys was well behaved, yes it included Owen, and three others. All pretty quiet, well behaved, stayed together- I didn’t have  to put out a search party, they did what I asked. Pretty awesome. This doesn’t mean there weren’t other kids that needed to be rescued after straying from their group (Oh Betty, when you hide behind poles and crawl on the floor, your chaperone can’t see you.) Or boys on the bus that I wanted to pull a can of whoop ass on who just wouldn’t sit. still. (Dougie…cough<<ritalin>>cough)

Oh did I mention that on the way to the city I sat in the very back seat of the bus? Oh snap. If I wasn’t going to toss my cookies in front of a bunch of little kids. If it weren’t for the little whipper snapper Susie who sat in front of me asking me riddles and jokes the whole way, I might have lost it. More on Susie later. (And yes, children’s names have been changed to protect their security. Or keep me from being sued. Whichever.)

Riddle: If a cowboy rode out to the desert on Friday, stayed three days and then rode out on Friday, how was that possible? *Answer to come later.

As if my day with little kids wasn’t enough, that evening was a fundraiser for the school at the local McDonald’s. Where the staff is working as employees, and a percentage of profits go to your school. Owen was dying to go. He needed to check out his posse. Translation, I think he wanted to see if the girl he is crushing on was going to be there.

Earlier in the day, Susie- the funny riddle one, was acting as informant to Owen regarding his gal pal crush- Dahlia. Yes, the whole class is aware of Owen and Dahlia’s relationship. I think a relationship in 3rd grade exists in terms of your friends talk to their friends and tell them what you think or like while out on recess. No actual interaction takes place. It’s all about the relaying of messages between your people and her people.

Susie was reporting on Dahlia’s whereabouts during the day. Susie is one sharp cookie. And then she cleared it up to me, his mom, “I like Owen as a friend, just a friend.” Thanks for clearing that up.

At McDonald’s that night, Owen put on his faux leather jacket and a cap. Not a baseball cap, a skate boarder cap. It’s got a little more edge. His faux leather jacket is really cool. He was excited when he got it. It’s black and has a ‘Fonz’ edge for this millenium. So with his jacket and cap, off we went for McFlurries.

It was packed! Our local McDonald’s was standing room only and a-buzz with families and staff from the school. Owen scoped out the staff working behind the counter. He was distracted checking out the room so much he didn’t know what to order. We went with milkshakes. But just for him. No fake dairy crap for this vegan wannabe.

We waved at a few people, acknowledged friends but I followed Owen letting him take the lead. Where to sit? This was tricky. Well, there wasn’t much choice. So we took the only free table over by the corner where he didn’t see anyone he knew. But not to worry. Because out of nowhere comes Susie! ‘Hey Owen, when did you get here?’ She saunters over with her ice cream sundae. She was clearly working the room. Saying hi to folks, keeping tabs on parents, you know- I see her in PR or something in twenty years. She mentions casually to Owen, “Lily is here you know”.

Owen, “cool. I didn’t see her.”

Susie, “Yeah, I told her you were here. She just kind of was like, oh my gosh, and then was like ahhhh, and then laughed and then was like, okay”

Owen, (laughs casually) “cool.”

Susie walks away.

Me, “Who’s Lily?”

Owen, “The other girl that has a crush on me and I have a crush on too. Both Dahlia and Lily like me, and I like them both too.”

Me, “Gosh, you’re quite the popular one huh?”

Owen, “Yeah, it’s because of my blue eyes, and blond hair.” (Smiles, flicks his bangs Beiber style.)

Me, “I didn’t see Lily, where is she sitting?”

Owen, “Over by the door, I saw her earlier.”

Smooth buddy, you never let on.

Then I see this boy about Owen’s age, call over, “Hey Owen- ‘sup?”

Owen- “Hey Juan. ‘Sup?”

They each nod at each other, then go on their separate ways. What is this?? School of Snoop Dogg? I’m just laughing at some of the ‘maturisms’ these kids have picked up from what they see on adults, teens, and media. So far so good. But I’ve got my eye on them.

So we left. Owen said it was a good thing he didn’t go over and talk to Lily, she would have just stood there in awe.

Now don’t get the wrong idea. He doesn’t do any of this with swagger. He’s pretty straightforward, no nonsense. Just his observations and honesty. I guess he pulls off the suave without even trying.

No offense husband honey- but where does he get this from?

Oh, and the answer to the riddle above: His horse was named Friday. That’s how he rode out three days later.

Kids these days. Sigh.