Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Put a Mom in Charge

I consider it my sacred duty as a mother to be ready for all sorts of emergency situations, be it a torn pair of pants or a scraped knee. All moms feel the same.  However, when said parent has an anxiety disorder, the "emergency" becomes more bloody and horrific.  We can't help having visions of our precious offspring suffering some terrible malady, and we will do anything in our power to avoid such an occurrence.

When my son began to play soccer, I realized that various injuries were highly likely.  After all, soccer involves a bunch of kids running after the same ball in a swirling mass of legs and arms, trying to score goals.  Eyes get poked, ankles get turned.  What parent wouldn't be worried about that?  

The best way to alleviate anxiety is action.  Instead of being paralyzed by the vivid images in my brain, I started planning. When Zane was younger, I planned on those instant cold packs and band aids for the sidelines.  Since three year old Zane was of the opinion that an ice pack solved every ill, we were good. 

As Zane has become older, however, I've had to plan the first aid kit out more carefully.  In addition to situations requiring an ice pack or a band aid, we now have to concern ourselves with bug bites, allergic reactions, dirt in the eye, broken or sprained limbs, heatstroke, bloody noses, annoyed referees, and the occasional broken shoe lace. There's also the mud that gets on your cleats and makes a kid feel like they are running in quicksand. 

I have not sat idly by, nursing my anxiety.  I may not be able to rush out on the field when my child is hurt, but I've made sure to pack the most ridiculously comprehensive first aid kit in recreational soccer history.  At least that's what I think.  I was prepared for pretty much everything.  I've even got thermal blankets in there, too, in case someone goes into shock.   I spent one morning organizing and packing everything into a special container, labeling each bag with the contents, so my husband, who does get to sit on the sidelines near the players, can find what he needs quickly.

Except for the fact that Larry doesn't know the first thing about first aid, we're golden. 

But this exercise made me think that perhaps there were other areas in life where moms should be in charge of the planning and organizing.  In addition to first aid, moms should probably be in charge of other situations that require such preparation.  Maybe emergency management?  A mom would be able to stock up on everything needed to prepare for just about every situation.  How about managing the large crowds at a football stadium.  Moms might not be able to do crowd control, but they can spot areas of concern in an instant and they know how to fix the problem.  Moms do a lot of on-the-spot problem solving, and they should get credit for that. Whereas a man tends to be initially stymied by surprise occurrences, moms just wade right into the situation.

Maybe what this world needs is more moms in charge?    

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nobody Follows Directions Anymore

The instructions from my son's school were very clear at the beginning of the school year.   Carpool drop off was only on THIS side of the school, we were told. For everyone's safety, they said. The school even took the time to paint arrows in the parking lot to specifically outline the direction the cars were supposed to move and  to indicate where they were to line up.  Very simple.   I pulled up to the school the first day, as directed! I dropped my son off in the designated spot and headed off to work.  No problem.

Except then the additional directions began showing up in my email in-box:

Parents are asked to pull up to a specific point before dropping off their child.

Parents are asked not to 'cut' in the line.

Parents are asked not to pull out of the line after dropping their child off in some random spot.

Parents are asked not to chat with random passerby while in the carpool line.

Parents are asked not to pull into the handicapped spots instead of going through the carpool line.

**Parents are asked not to run over any of the random senior citizens who are arriving at church for the 8am Mass.

I started getting a little frustrated with all the emails.  The car pool directions were very specific and simple.  Easy to follow.  There are little yellow arrows all over the parking lot, and all you have to do was follow them.

What was going on?

Nobody was following directions.

Parents were not paying attention to the arrows carefully painted on the asphalt, so they felt that the directions did not apply to them.  Parents were in too much of a hurry to pull up to a specific spot in the line, therefore the directions didn't apply to them, either.  Parents needed to pull into the handicapped spot because it was convenient for their needs. The directions(and laws) especially did not apply to them, either.

This would not necessarily bother me in other circumstances.  I've always followed my own path.  I'm not the first person out there who thinks that some rules are kind of stupid.  But this is not about me, or those parents. It's about setting an example.  We send our kids to school to learn.  Part of learning involves following the directions. Kids are even graded on their ability to follow directions. Fer cryin' out loud, learning math is all about following directions!

How can we expect kids to follow directions when their parents can't manage it?  We punish kids who don't follow directions, and then we do the exact opposite? What is a poor kid supposed to do, when his parents can't follow the directions given by their own elementary school? 

It's the whole "do as I say, not as I do" routine that kids have dealt with for centuries. That used to drive me crazy when I was a kid, and it drives me nuts now.  I'm outraged for all the kids out there who are completely confused by these situations.  They have enough to worry about, without their parents causing such a ruckus. 

My first solution to this particular issue is to start with the shaming of those parents who can't manage to follow the directions. Knock on their car window and inform them of their error.  However, my son has informed me that I mustn't embarrass him in front of his friends and classmates.  This has thus far stymied my efforts, because my attention span is not very long these days.  I may get irritated by the behavior of my fellow parents in the car pool lane, but then I get distracted by a song on the radio or with thoughts about the coming day. 

I'm a work in progress. 

**I may have made that one up.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

100 Word Challenge: Pitcher Plant

A variety of delicious aromas wafted from the house a few times a year, tantalizing and tempting.  Many a weary and hungry traveler was drawn inside by those smells. 

The home was abandoned.  The roof had collapsed long ago, leaving the bones of the house disguised in the greenery of vines. Birds nested in the vestiges of the attic; mice furtively searched for seeds on the dirt floor.  Still, the smell of roasting turkey drew travelers inside, seeking dinner. They were welcomed, before floorboards opened, a maw of darkness swallowing their screams.

The house had an appetite of its own.

I'm trying out Tara's 100 Word Challenge once more, where the word is "dinner".  Check it out!