Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Anti-Supermom

I’ve made one of those classic mistakes of motherhood. DramaQueen had drama classes. What about Firecracker, I thought? We can’t afford classes for her, but what else is there? Girl Scouts, I thought. And since the Daisies and Brownies met at the same time in the same place, I thought they might as well both join. They can have fun earning badges and doing community service. I am such an awesome mom! I’m going to “get involved.”

Oh. My. God.

I am never ever ever doing this again.

Firecracker won’t even stay with her troop. She gave up long ago trying to follow what was going on. They might as well be speaking ancient Mesopotamian. The clamor of a herd of Daisies is not the best environment for those with learning disabilities. “They look at me,” she wails. “I’m shy!” So she hides behind the counter on the Brownie side of the room.

DramaQueen is having a bit more fun, in a lackadaisical fashion. She’s a sociable girl once she settles in, so no hiding behind cabinets for her. She went out on a service project and rather enjoyed it. We went to World Thinking Day and she enjoyed collecting SWAPS, which seemed to me to the only point of going. There didn’t seem to be a lot of thinking going on, and most of the posters and displays about foreign countries seem to have been created by, guess who, the moms.

That was a mind-numbing experience, btw. Firecracker refused to walk around the booths, so the event was painfully boring for both of us. There was nowhere to sit down. Thankfully there were some snack machines, and since it took hours for DramaQueen to make her rounds, I was happy to feed Firecracker whatever crap she wanted. We made our escape when I saw the People In Charge do the three finger GS salute that means Shut Up, indicating that some GS ritual was about to take place. When someone called for the girls to form a circle I knew it was time to skedaddle.

Over Christmas the troop leader cajoled me into being the cookie mom. I thought, hey, I really should do something for the troop. I said this despite the fact that I hate—let me emphasize HATE—any sort of sales. But stretch yourself a bit, I thought. Hah. I didn’t even take DramaQueen door to door. I hate it when people show up at my door selling stuff, even stuff I like, and no one likes GS cookies more than I do. Unless we want to develop a generation of car salespeople, I don’t see how this is supposed to foster “leadership” skills. Oh, I am soooo not a leader. Do I think it essential that my girls grow up to be leaders? Let me rephrase that. Do I think it essential that my girls learn how to sell cookies?

You know what, since GS is so gung-ho about parental involvement, I should have just admitted to myself from the start that I don’t want to be involved. I don’t want to be one of these moms who works full time, is room mom, volunteers for the PTA, and handles set design at the local community theater. I want to take my kids to classes and let them do whatever they need to do to acquire the skills that interest them. That, to me, is a valuable lesson to learn—taking charge of your own talents and interests through personal diligence and practice. I want to come home with some expectation of relative calm, not frenetic activity because I’ve sold my soul in exchange for a Franklin Covey planner. The stuff I want to learn about does not include camping, tallying up cookie sales, teaching girls how to sell cookies, making posters about countries that no one will ever look at, making SWAPS (for heavens sake), learning the GS pledge, shuttling girls to events, haranguing shoppers at the local grocery store to buy cookies, and selling calendars (because it’s not just about cookies anymore).

So far most of the GS year seems to have been about selling something.


So far, my girls seem to agree with my assessment. Firecracker has told me she wants to learn soccer. So I’m going to look into a nice recreational soccer program (cause I hate competition about as much as I hate leading) and let her try it out. DramaQueen can keep doing her drama thing. I’m going to follow my therapist’s advice: one extracurricular activity per child. Period.


  1. I absolutely hated GS.

    I refuse to do the cookie thing.

    I've decided to let the girls do their own thing -- I'll try to support them, but don't make me be involved.

    GS are horrible. (of course, both of mine are registered but haven't been to a single meeting all year...._

  2. Found your blog via your very astute comment on RevMom's "enough" post.

    My daughter has been in GS for three years now and it has not been a positive experience for me. The cookie thing is awful (the good news is that you never have to do it again. People never seem to do it twice -- and no one wonders why?) The leadership of course varies, ours seems to value style over substance, and it's perfectly fine for the girls to be as cliquey and exclusive as they want as long as they wear their vests and do the Girl Scout salute. Humph. I don't think you'll miss much if you pass it up next year.

  3. I hate fundraisers as well. The only people I could ever sell to were my parents. 4-H didn't have any, but my school held several each year. Zap-A-Snack was the most popular.

    Each time there would be prizes involved, and it all depended on if you knew the right people. Newton Falls has a lot of family-owned businesses and such, not to mention principals/teachers who favor those students who come from said families. If you were like my family, however, no one bothered to buy from you unless they were from out of town or your own family members.

    The whole experience was horrible and elitist, and I'm glad I don't have to deal with that anymore.

  4. Elitist, huh? I'm thinking I misused and abused that word. Oops. But it was the first word that came to my mind.