Are You A Slacker Mom?

Last week, USA Today ran a front page Life article about so-called Slacker or "Beta" Moms. The piece described the movement away from Super or Alpha Moms, those hyper-organized, earnest parents who turn parenting into a high-pressure career with 24/7 obligations and non-stop stress (unfortunately, however, without the accompanying promotions and pay raises). My e-mail was flooded by people sending me the article, I'm hoping for professional reasons, not as in Hint, hint, Leslie, this is you.

"Our children are people -- not projects," one Slacker Mom was quoted. "Motherhood is not a contest."

So -- fess up. Are you a Slacker Mom (or Dad)? Or an Alpha? Tell us your most extreme parenting moments -- or ones you've witnessed in others. Have you consciously chosen a particular parenting style? Or did it choose you? Where is the happy medium between being a perfectionist and a couch potato when it comes to parenting?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  May 18, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
Previous: Can You Make the 4-Hour Workweek a Reality? | Next: Spoiled Rotten (By Us)


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



f.i.r.s.t!

Posted by: Bryn Mawr | May 18, 2007 7:19 AM

Parenting is not a competitive sport, but ISTM that way too many parents see it that way.

I see nothing wrong with being a "slacker parent"; I guess both of mine were that type. If my behavior needed correcting they took swift action, but my life wasn't scheduled to death and their lives didn't revolve around making sure any of us were busy 100% of the time.

Posted by: John L | May 18, 2007 7:33 AM

Haven't we done this before?

Posted by: DC lurker | May 18, 2007 7:33 AM

'Where is the happy medium between being a perfectionist and a couch potato?'

That would be me! Emphasis on happy, despite swipes by people like Leslie.

Posted by: experienced mom | May 18, 2007 7:34 AM

I LOVED that article -- though I didn't send it to Leslie. FOr me, my funniest encounter by far with the Alpha Mom's has to have been when I received a call from a swim instructor in a Fairfax County Rec Center class. She was dropping my three-year old from the swim class I had signed her up for because she was "holding back the other children." I remember trying to explain to this woman that all I really wanted was for my daughter to enjoy splashing around in the pool, and that I really wasn't hoping to turn her into some kind of Junior Olympic hopeful. And being told that the other mothers had complained. Apparently they WERE expecting to raise Junior Olympic hopefuls -- and my daughter was barring their precious childrens' progress.

NOw that we no longer live in Northern Virginia, we see many fewer of these Alpha Mom's -- but those stories still make me shudder.

My husband and I were talking about it the other night though -- and we were talking about how scary it is to be a parent today. There are so many things to be afraid of -- abductions, school shootings, terrorism. I think many of these moms have somehow or other convinced themselves that if you work hard enough at it, you can somehow make your kids immune or invulnerable -- getting them into the 'right' school or program or camp can keep them safe somehow, and prevent them from ever suffering or getting hurt. I wish there was some magical vaccine that would keep my kids from ever experiencing failure/loneliness/hurt, but unfortunately there's not.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | May 18, 2007 7:35 AM

armchair mom, very insightful.

I know lots of kids, juniors and seniors in high school, who were pushed by their parents at a young age. Most of them rebelled, and didn't become the olympic swimmer or basketball superstar that the parents were dreaming of. Let your children follow their own path. Pay for the extras that they are interested in, and develop your own hobbies. Don't let your children think the world revolves around them, that can result in a spoiled, obnoxious, hard to employ young adult.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 7:40 AM

What such a negative term for a parenting style? Being laid back with parenting is not a bad thing.

As Armchairmom points out with her swim story, there is an abundance of "toxic" parenting out there. That's a good word for it--can't wait to see how the little ones of these toxic parents will end up being like as adults--oh yeah, we're seeing some of that now with lazy 20 somethings who won't work for their rewards. That's what happens when children are the center of the universe with no consideration for the rest of the family or anyone else.

Posted by: working mother | May 18, 2007 7:43 AM

Slacker Mom and proud of it! I feel very sorry for women who take a razor-sharp competitive edge (which is more appropriate in the workplace) to ensure that their kid is faster/smarter/prettier/more popular.

Fortunately, I haven't run into very many of them. There's one in my neighborhood whose antics I watch with a bit of alarm. For her four-year old's birthday party, she rented a pony to do pony rides in the front yard AND a horse and carriage (the kind found in larger cities for "romantic" carriage rides) and the kids got rides up and down our street. It was also a costume party, and Mom -- dressed as Snow White -- was in the carriage every time. I think she was living out a fantasy. She clearly needs better fantasies.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 18, 2007 7:45 AM

I actually like the term Slacker Mom. Cool ring to it.

Motherhood changes you -- it can make you more obsessive or more easy going. Hard to predict in advance. But I think parenthood is far more enjoyable when parents are more laidback. And it is better for kids.

Three reasons why parenting has become an extreme sport:

1) number of moms with college degrees has doubled in past 20 years -- natural that they turn parenting into more of a "career" than it used to be

2) dads are far more involved with kids today, spending three times as much time with children vs. their own dads

3) fewer kids. on average we have 1.9 kids today vs. 3-4 per family a generation ago. you don't see many Alpha Parents with 5 kids...you just can't pull it off when you have more than two kids.

Posted by: Leslie | May 18, 2007 7:54 AM

Hey, what does having dads involved in raising children nowadays have anything to do with making parenting a competitive sport?

I know plenty of dads who are active in raising their kids who aren't Alpha Dads, although there is one who's so hard-core (the mom's description) to make sure his daughter goes to all her soccer practices/games that mom had to take off work this week to take her to practices/games when dad was unavailable.

Posted by: John L | May 18, 2007 8:04 AM

I'm definitely not an Alpha Mom, but not sure I'm a total Slacker/Beta Mom.

I definitely don't feel the need for my kid to do certain activities etc. just because "everybody else is doing it" and I don't intend to overschedule/micromanage her life. That said, I do look for activities and experiences that I think would be fun for her (and me, as I'm currently a SAHM) so it's not like I sit around doing nothing and letting her completely raise herself.

I think a lot of the moms in DC get really caught up in the "what everyone else is doing" stuff and that tilts them towards being Alpha Moms even if they aren't naturally inclined to be that way. We're currently out of the area (out of the country!) and not feeling that quite so much for the time being. It's actually kind of refreshing to do your own thing.

Posted by: Vienna Mom | May 18, 2007 8:04 AM

'you don't see many Alpha Parents with 5 kids'

right, the kids learn to share and do things for themselves. that is a good thing.

Posted by: experienced mom | May 18, 2007 8:06 AM

"I wish there was some magical vaccine that would keep my kids from ever experiencing failure/loneliness/hurt, but unfortunately there's not.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | May 18, 2007 07:35 AM "

--------------------------------

Really, armchair mom? I think that's what makes us grow as people. There are few lessons more valuable than failing. Just my $0.02

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 8:20 AM

That was me. Sorry.

Posted by: atb | May 18, 2007 8:21 AM

Slacker mom, here! I let my kids put away their own laundry which means they get shoved into drawers to wrinkle. When when they wear them to school they look like (gasp!) they slept in them. Oh, well!

We have found that the positive side of having two working parents is that the kids know without a doubt that they are not the center of the universe. They need to learn to fend for themselves and be independant. Fortunately we have flexible work arrangements so we end up having more time to spend with them, but not enough to do everything for them. We find it is a good, happy medium!

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 18, 2007 8:30 AM

Snow White? Did she marry Prince Charming or one of the dwarves?

This topic seems so familiar...
I thought we only talked about fun topics on Fridays, like hair, shoes, and such.

I don't like the term slacker mom, because it suggests that there's something WRONG with living your own life and letting your children live theirs -- trying to achieve *balance*.

I don't understand the big deal:
Let them play sports, but don't push them to play at a higher level than they want.
Let them play music, but don't make them practice 3 hours a day.
Let them join scouts but don't try to turn them into Marlon Perkins.
Be sure they study, but don't make every quiz into the SAT exam.
Don't overschedule.

Don't dress like a teenager. I don't care HOW buff you are -- a mother wearing a babydoll tee with Juicy on it in sparkly letters and a dad in baggy denim both look ridiculous. When I was a young teen, the cliche was the 40-year-old guy in a silk shirt and gold chains. Don't be this generation's version of that guy.

And, most importantly:
DON'T LOSE YOURSELF in your kids.

I wanted to be touching and profound, but the best quote I can come up with is from Moonstruck. This is to all the 'alpha' parents out there:
Cher (SLAP) to Nicholas Cage, (pause, SLAP again):
SNAP OUT OF IT!

Posted by: educmom | May 18, 2007 8:32 AM

I think there is a difference between Alpha Moms (or parents), who overschedule their kids, push them beyond reasonable bounds, and turn parenting into a competitive sport - "Well, MY kind can _____ - can yours?" - and parents who just spoil their kids rotten. The first type of parents seems to want their kids to do for themselves, even if they want the kids to do too much, while the second wants to do things for their kids. Not saying either makes for a well-adjusted kid (or adult), or that they are mutually exclusive, just that they are two different types of parents. And full disclosure, I have a little bit of both in me.

Posted by: BLE | May 18, 2007 8:37 AM

I don't know...really, I don't.

I don't think I'm THAT organized and I certainly don't have enough money to be an Alpha Mother.

But I do keep my kids fairly busy in order to ward off their unfortunate predilection for t.v.-watching, 24/7 if they could have it.

As has been mentioned before, "I'm bored" are deadly words to use around me (leads to room cleaning or getting locked outside until further notice). So is squabbling in my presence, that also leads to unpleasant scut-work.

Is there another category to choose from?

Who's making the drinks for the after-hours blog party? KLB, isn't this your cue?

I hope there is a GURPS night this weekend, I can really use a role-playing game with the kids & the other adult who plays. I came *this* close to making him (adult) laugh so hard he wet his pants!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 18, 2007 8:39 AM

Totally a Slacker Mom!

We just had our third child - in part to ensure that we wouldn't become Alpha parents. Three is a little more than we can handle, so our lives are sure to be filled with a little too much chaos and not too much ambition/control. I know I have the tendency to do all that I can, and this way I've ensured "all I can" won't be too much!

Posted by: Carrie | May 18, 2007 8:42 AM

"Let them join scouts but don't try to turn them into Marlon Perkins."

Very dangerous! Jim, you go first.

I insist that my boss only hire "Jims", no more "Marlons". Not since the time a "Marlon" almost got me very badly hurt. Fortunately a fellow "Jim" was on hand and we were able to deal with the issue. It was one of the few times I really and truly was frightened on the job. (And yes, I know that by the time Marlon was on-screen he was much older and more protective of his digits.)

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 18, 2007 8:42 AM

Sometimes good enough is good enough.

Posted by: moxiemom | May 18, 2007 8:45 AM

Hey, ParenPreneur, have I got a story for you!

I WAS the kind of child who would put on the next day's clothes and sleep in them (took my shower first). So if they didn't look rumpled it was because I had stayed up all night reading instead.

Yeah, the kids do chores and I'm really surprised at the fact that a fair number of kids the same age as the eldest DON'T have as many chores. In fact, the kid is now being resented slightly because parents talk, and once other parents know that MY kid can and DOES do chores, they join in.

It's the Evil Mom in me that comes out. Evil adds a little extra "oomph" to punishments too. Particularly when they involve physical labour AND a loss of electronic privileges.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 18, 2007 8:51 AM

I suppose Jim had a good insurance policy...

Posted by: educmom | May 18, 2007 8:51 AM

I suppose Jim had a good insurance policy...

Mutual of Omaha, of course.

Posted by: MdM | May 18, 2007 8:53 AM

"Parenting is not a competitive sport, but ISTM that way too many parents see it that way."

What in God's name is ISTM?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 8:54 AM

We knew from the start that our children would not be applying for admission to Harvard. So we never felt it necessary to build up a "resume" of certified, approved activities beginning almost at birth. I guess that excludes us from the category of Alpha mothers and fathers. That does not mean that we were "slackers" in any way, though.

One thing we did do was purposely fail to repair the television set when the picture tube went out when our children were aged 5, 3 and 0.5 years. On their own, they found all manner of worthwhile activities, starting with throwing the baseball, football and soccer ball around on the County land behind our home, or building with Legos indoors, or drawing pictures and homemade maps. The older two taught their little brother how to read because he asked what the letters and numbers on the back of baseball cards meant.

And we talked to the kids a lot, all the time. And there were plenty of books and magazines in the house. Also, the kids had friends living down the block and around the corner to play with, and schoolmates they could visit -- most of them also from non-TV homes.

Although our children will have to muddle through life as best they can with non-Harvard educations, I believe they have turned out OK and are on their way to becoming respectable citizens of the community and good parents in their turn.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 18, 2007 8:55 AM

I thought I'd heard it all until the one about the 3 year-old dropped from swim class for "holding back" the other children. Geeze....

Sometimes your children let you know you need to be a slacker. The little angels start doing (or not doing) whatever they choose, and put up big fights to keep it that way.

For me the first years were the years of the Alpha Mom. We did it all. Then by about 5-6 grade they started doing their own thing. I wasn't the Alpha anymore, they took their own lives over.

Posted by: RoseG | May 18, 2007 8:55 AM

ISTM = It seems to me

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 18, 2007 8:58 AM

We just had our third child - in part to ensure that we wouldn't become Alpha parents.

Let me get this straight. The only way you could figure out how not to be an Alpha parent was to have more kids than you could handle? Maybe not the best solution.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 9:11 AM

I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I can't be an alpha with 3 kids and working. I would lose what little sanity remains. #1 just turned 5 and we had a party in her class. While going to her school, the vegetable tray that I had prepared (to combat the pizza) flipped over mixing all the vegetables together from their individual sections. I started to sort them back out and then smacked myself mentally and stopped. Sometimes when we obsess on minutiae, we have to step back and remember that they're kids and some of this just doesn't matter.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | May 18, 2007 9:13 AM

As I noted before, my sainted mother was a slacker mom as she did not make me finish my PhD in Physics in utero! (But I did enjoy the Karate lessons!)

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 9:13 AM

I'm a total ALPHA MOM...is there anything really wrong with that???? I have one child, so I can give him 110% of my attention. I volunteer in his classroom three days a week, I'm his scout leader, I have him signed up for enrichment tutoring at a Score center, etc. And for his last birthday party, we hired a "mini circus" for the back yard, and had a moonbounce and pony rides. The kids had a blast!

I've had other moms criticise me for being a helicopter mom. But you know what, my son is very happy, well adjusted, and doing great in school So, is there anything wrong with that?

Posted by: Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 9:16 AM

Alpha Mom,

Do you really think that he will learn many life lessons if you are there to monitor his environ at all times? Sometimes you have to let kids screw up, even FAIL (spectacularly) so that they learn a lesson now. Not later when they are free from your hovering and running up huge credit card bills.

Give him some breathing/screw up space too.

And chores. Never forget chores. At least that way there is some hope that his roommate(s)/lover won't be picking up after him and complaining that he never pitches in with money or effort. Because they will blame you if he is THAT clueless and selfish.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 9:20 AM

Do you think your son has friends who like him, or do they just like him for his stuff?

Watch for that. You may not be raising a child who will be a functional adult. Or one who feels he can simply buy anything or anyone he wants.

Posted by: to Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 9:21 AM

There are also negatives to being a slacker mom- a.k.a the moms who let their kids have the run of the playground/school as they hit, yell at, push, torment other kids etc ("oh, they'll work it out on their own" as their child nearly breaks another's arm)...
You know, the ones whose kids throw spaghetti at restaurants and run all over the stores. The ones who "will turn out just fine" without any guidance. The moms/dads of high schoolers who don't intervene with drinking and drug use.


That's what I think of what I see "slacker mom" in print.

As with most things in parenting, there are times to be very involved and times to let your kids find their own way. I think it's a parent's responsibility to ge their kids involved in activites and stay abreast of what they're doing in school.

"Slacking" is honestly not a word in my vocab when it comes to parenting. It's hard work and I dno't think it's beneficial to think of it as something that will just be fine if you sit back and not guide them to constructive things.

I sound a little too sanctimonious right now :)
But neither extreme works!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | May 18, 2007 9:22 AM

Put me with the slacker moms...I have three kids so like Carrie said it's just too hard to be an Alpha mom. Even my two year old twins have "chores." It is fun for them and a help for me. We get some creative table setting this way. Once we had our neighbors over for dinner and they were shocked that our kids set the table, cleared their places after dinner and with the help of the oldest went in the bathroom and washed their hands. My oldest plays one sport per season so he does something pretty much year round but he chooses the sport and plays for fun.

My favorite "alpha" mom encounter happened just a few days ago. My oldest is 5 and still uses training wheels on his bike. Apparently, her child who is "only 4" is training for the Tour de France because he's been riding without training wheels for "over a year." I wanted to tell her that the calculus lessons had interfered with his bike training but I refrained.

Posted by: MOMto3 | May 18, 2007 9:26 AM

I prefer the term "benign neglect", myself. As in, the kids get to entertain themselves for the most part, and the parents just make sure that nothing is harmed/burned down/repainted/destroyed.

It worked for my parents, I hope it works for me!

Posted by: John L | May 18, 2007 9:29 AM

Do you think your son has friends who like him, or do they just like him for his stuff?

Watch for that. You may not be raising a child who will be a functional adult. Or one who feels he can simply buy anything or anyone he wants.

Posted by: to Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 09:21 AM

______________

My son is generous to a fault. If I let him, he'd give away all of his toys!

Posted by: Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 9:33 AM

Do you think your son has friends who like him, or do they just like him for his stuff?

Watch for that. You may not be raising a child who will be a functional adult. Or one who feels he can simply buy anything or anyone he wants.

Posted by: to Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 09:21 AM

______________

My son is generous to a fault. If I let him, he'd give away all of his toys!

Posted by: Alpha Mom

Which gets back to my point. Is he being generous, or is he trying to buy their friendship?

And remember, you don't want him to be a hot-house flower. At some point he has to do for himself. And that WILL involve failure. Let him do it. Let him figure out what/how to do to clean up the mess. Don't jump in with suggestions or "Oh, let me!"

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 9:36 AM

I'm naturally inclined to be a slacker mom, largely because my happiest moments from childhood were when I was just allowed to play--run around the yard, pull out all the toys in the basement, ride my bike in the neighborhood, etc. I had a disgustingly idyllic childhood and would like my kids to have the same.

That said, with a child with autism I have to force myself to be more pushy with him--constantly ask him to try harder, to attempt to say a word when he wants something, to get him to extra speech therapy and behavioral therapy every week, always staying within arms reach of him so he doesn't run off or hurt himself or someone else. So who knows? Maybe if he were "normal" I'd put that energy into pushing him to excel in chess or piano or lacrosse or something.

But I can't stand how the alpha parents (unfortunately quite common in my corner of Howard County) make it difficult for us slackers to let our kids have organized fun. My DD, now 8, is showing some interest in learning to play soccer--something she had no interest in or inclination for in the past. OK, great, soccer is kind of fun, good exercise, etc. Yeah, right. Just TRY to find a soccer league that has a basic/beginner level team for an eight year old! All the kids in soccer here started at age four and have half a lifetime's experience under their belt.

The saddest example of alpha parenting I've seen took place in the locker room of a community gym. The pool is used for a youth swim league and my visits tend to overlap with their after-school practices. One day last year I saw a mother screaming at her seven year old DD who was in tears. The little girl didn't want to keep swimming--she didn't like it, she was tired, she just wanted to go home. But the mother was causing a scene, yelling at her daughter for being lazy and being a quitter and then adding "and if you quit, how do you expect to be able to pay for college? The only way I got to go to college was because I had a swimming scholarship and that's the only way you'll be able to get to college, so if you quit now, your life is over!!" (I'm paraphrasing--the mother wasn't nearly so succinct.) OMG, I just wanted to take that little girl home myself to get her away from such a toxic mother!

Posted by: Sarah | May 18, 2007 9:36 AM

Alpha Mom...probably not. Slacker mom...maybe something inbetween. With 4 kids, it IS definitely difficult to be an ALPHA. One activity per child is MORE than enough. With 2 loads of Laundry a day (at least), working 30hrs/week and running the household, I don't have TIME to be ALPHA. I am very organized as one would imagine I'd have to be with 4 kids. Yes, I've said before I'm one of those moms who tries to come up with ubercreative ideas for parties/brownie activities/whatnot, so does that count as ALPHA?

One of the things that always ticks me off are those people who don't have THEIR stuff together, so they try to shift the focus away from their shortcomings by attacking others. Example: when I had only 1 kid, I was very into scrapbooking and organizing playdates/parties/egg hunts/etc...for friends & family. Several other moms (both SAH and WOH) would say "when you have more kids, you won't be able to do these things...you be too tired and burned out."

I don't know...I took great offense at this and maybe I took it as sort of bizarro challenge, but I have 4 kids now (more than everyone else I know by 2 kids!) and I'm still the one who orchestrates everything. I LIKE to socialize and do these things. Does THAT make me an ALPHA?

If so, how do I change?

Posted by: 2girls2boys | May 18, 2007 9:37 AM

Ways I slack:

Laundry pretty much never gets into the closet/drawers. It goes from the kids to the wash to the laundry basket and the whole cycle repeats.

I haven't used an iron in YEARS.

Easy/lazy dinners: pancakes, cheese toast, pb&j, pasta. I actually love cooking and try to make more complex and yummy meals on the weekends, but it's too much trouble sometimes during the week.

TIVO: I think it was on this blog that someone said "I will *hore myself out before we get rid of the TIVO". Second that notion. Now we watch TV on our schedule instead of the network's. I don't care if it's a VLI, it's life-changing.

I'm sure I can think of more, but that's what jumped into my mind.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 18, 2007 9:39 AM

Well, I wouldn't categorize myself as an alpha - it would be too exhausting. But I understand people's fears - it seems like there is something in the news once a week about how colleges are becoming more selective because the number of applicants continues to increase, and how costs are rising also. As someone who does NOT think I "owe it" to my child to pay for his college (although admittedly, that position might be influenced by the fact that I don't really know whether I'll have the means) it makes me nervous that he might not be able to go ... I do find myself saying "the choices you make now have a big impact on your future" - so maybe I am an alpha mom in my head, but repress the urge in my life :)

Posted by: TakomaMom | May 18, 2007 9:46 AM

I am such a slacker dad that I took off work today simply because the weather is beautiful. (I'll have to catch up next week on work). First time I have taken a day "off schedule" in years! Gee, I just ruined my son's entry into Harvard. What an example I have set for him today!

Posted by: Slacker Dad | May 18, 2007 9:49 AM

I also read books to my son when he was an infant. My family thought I was nuts! But now he's a very strong reader, with an excellent vocabulary, and very bright! I don't think there's a thing wrong with being an alpha mom.

Posted by: Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 9:51 AM

I am such a slacker dad that I took off work today simply because the weather is beautiful. (I'll have to catch up next week on work). First time I have taken a day "off schedule" in years! Gee, I just ruined my son's entry into Harvard. What an example I have set for him today!

Posted by: Slacker Dad | May 18, 2007 09:49 AM

Where do you live? It's cold and grey here in the DC Metropolitan Area.

Posted by: TO: Slacker Dad | May 18, 2007 9:52 AM

Example of being an alpha parent hurting the parent child relationship - story related to me by dd.
Her and her friends were talking about whether they were going to try to get in Thomas Jefferson High School (for those out of the area this is the magnet highschool for fairfax county - the kind of school where multiple students get perfect on the SAT, win national science contests etc.) Many of DD friends don't want to because of the intensity and they want to be in high school with thier friends. One of DD friends doesn't want to go, but her parents really want her to try - they have even hired a tutor to help her prepare for the test (this child is an A student in the gift and talented program so she is pretty smart). My DD and other friends suggested that if the first friend really didn't want to go to just fail the entrance test. I of course told DD that she shouldn't encourage deception, however I felt sorry for the girl that she wasn't able to talk to her parents.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | May 18, 2007 9:54 AM

If you're looking for soccer in Howard County - try SAC or Western Howard County. My DD is in college, but she started soccer around 3rd grade (can't remember for sure -- guess I'm a slacker). I found that there were many type A parents, but the league tries to keep it recreational. The stars move up to "A" league or travel. The purely rec level has rules about play time and skills development that are inclusive for all. If you try it and it doesn't work out, ask for a different team. We ran across one intense coach who was overly concerned about winning, but all the other years she played, it was about doing your best and having fun. She actually considered trying out for HS team, but decided that she liked her rec team and coach too much to give it up. She was lucky in the fact that she had the same (great) coach from 8-12th grades. There were other girls on the rec team who were also played (sat on the bench) for their high schools for one year, and then gave up high school soccer in favor of SAC soccer.

Posted by: to Sarah | May 18, 2007 9:56 AM

I am a slacker mom on some things. I also read books to my daughter when she was a baby. My neighbor is an alpha mom. She runs the PTA, is on the HOA, and the kids are in sporting events everynight.

I have lots of energy, but that is just to much for me. I have never heard of a three year old being cut from the swim team. That is crazy.

Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 9:56 AM

at her seven year old DD who was in tears. The little girl didn't want to keep swimming--she didn't like it, she was tired, she just wanted to go home. But the mother was causing a scene, yelling at her daughter for being lazy and being a quitter and then adding "and if you quit, how do you expect to be able to pay for college? The only way I got to go to college was because I had a swimming scholarship and that's the only way you'll be able to get to college, so if you quit now, your life is over!!" (I'm paraphrasing--the mother wasn't nearly so succinct.) OMG, I just wanted to take that little girl home myself to get her away from such a toxic mother!

Posted by: Sarah | May 18, 2007 09:36 AM

____________

Maybe the mom's tactics weren't great...but she was teaching her daughter the importance of not giving up. That's a good thing!

Posted by: Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 9:56 AM

Just slighly to the west of the front that is pushing thru the DC area right now.

Posted by: Slacker Dad | May 18, 2007 9:58 AM

I also read books to my son when he was an infant. My family thought I was nuts! But now he's a very strong reader, with an excellent vocabulary, and very bright! I don't think there's a thing wrong with being an alpha mom.

Posted by: Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 09:51 AM

Slacker parents often read to their infants too. Strong, bright young readers are not just a result of alpha parents. But if you believe that being an alpha parent is working for you, go with it. You're in the best position to know.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | May 18, 2007 9:58 AM

I make my son read the Sunday comics every week!

Posted by: Slacker Dad | May 18, 2007 10:01 AM

Slacker mom here. I do things for my kids yet give them thier space to do as wish...read a book, watch tv, put together a puzzle, etc.

I give my oldest the option to choose what sport she would like to play instead of forcing her into something I like. Her dad did that with soccer for many years and this school year (9th grade) she pushed back and said no more. She was tired of playing a sport that HE played in high school. She wants to be involved in what she wants which is swimming at that YWCA.

Posted by: 2xmami | May 18, 2007 10:02 AM

I also read books to my son when he was an infant. My family thought I was nuts! But now he's a very strong reader, with an excellent vocabulary, and very bright! I don't think there's a thing wrong with being an alpha mom.

Posted by: Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 09:51 AM

Slacker parents often read to their infants too. Strong, bright young readers are not just a result of alpha parents. But if you believe that being an alpha parent is working for you, go with it. You're in the best position to know.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | May 18, 2007 09:58 AM

________________

Y'know, my posts today have all been tongue and cheek (and not really very truthful--we couldn't fit a circus, moonbounce, and pony rides in our little 1/2 acre plot of land). But you hit the nail on the head that there really isn't a definition of an "alpha parent" or a "slacker parent" (in my opinion). There are just moms and dads who truly in their heart of hearts believe they're doing the right things for their children. Even the mom at the pool pushing her 7 year old--no matter how misguided her words or actions may be, she truly believes she is doing what's best for her daughter, or she wouldn't be doing it. We all bring our own experiences (and anxieties) to parenting...and I don't think that any mom or dad is a "slacker" parent or "alpha" parent. They're just a parent...and parenting with their own individual style! Some alpha, some slacker...and hopefully lots of love!

Posted by: Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 10:05 AM

Reading to your infant/toddler doesn't make you an Alpha mom. Taking your infant/toddler to reading enrichment tutoring does, though.

The thing with Alpha Moms and Dads is it's all about control and winning. But too often, the child pays the price for the parents' aspirations. My nephew has been driven all his life. He went to TJ High, set his sights on MIT when he was still in elementary school (initially fostered and then helped muchly by mom and dad) and was supremely focused on being the best student/sportsman he could be. He got what he wanted, but he almost flunked out of college in his first semester and barely made a C average in his second. He's drinking and dating and having a grand old time. He's having a BLAST finally, out from under the parental thumbs, but he's going way overboard because he never was allowed to just BE.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 18, 2007 10:07 AM

Reading to your infant/toddler doesn't make you an Alpha mom. Taking your infant/toddler to reading enrichment tutoring does, though.

The thing with Alpha Moms and Dads is it's all about control and winning. But too often, the child pays the price for the parents' aspirations. My nephew has been driven all his life. He went to TJ High, set his sights on MIT when he was still in elementary school (initially fostered and then helped muchly by mom and dad) and was supremely focused on being the best student/sportsman he could be. He got what he wanted, but he almost flunked out of college in his first semester and barely made a C average in his second. He's drinking and dating and having a grand old time. He's having a BLAST finally, out from under the parental thumbs, but he's going way overboard because he never was allowed to just BE.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 18, 2007 10:07 AM

___________

Maybe that's the reason he "went wild" maybe not. My parents weren't tight on us...but my brother and I both let loose freshman year of college. I think it was just the fun of going away, and living in a building filled with peers! It's very different than living at home, no matter what your parents were like.

Posted by: Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 10:13 AM

It's very, very easy to play "armchair quarterback" judging other parents. But we're not living in their heads, we haven't experienced their lives...and we truly don't know if their children would be any different (or not), with a different set of parents.

Posted by: Alpha Mom | May 18, 2007 10:16 AM

I'm definately a slacker dad. My kids don't even have a bed time. As long as they aren't watching TV or playing video games, they can stay up as long as they want.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 18, 2007 10:20 AM

Alpha Mom, I let loose, too, in college. I had my fun, believe me, but I never got put on academic/social probation or even close, and still graduated with a 3.2. There's a difference between what I did and what my nephew is doing. He's almost flunking out. He could seriously screw up his life.

I also saw this with kids when I was an R.A. in college. More often than not, the ones whose parents hovered (as in, came down on the weekends to help their child do laundry, contacted teachers about failing grades -- IN COLLEGE of all places -- and were a constant virtual presence in their child's life) were the ones who spun out of control.

I understand that you've had one child so you can be super-diligent about raising him/her. But don't you think it's possible that a kid could suffer from that laser-beam intensity?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 18, 2007 10:26 AM

Sorry I have never met a slacker mom. It is like the dodo bird -it doesn't exist.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 10:30 AM

It is necessary to teach children to read at a young age. They are taking spelling out of schools. For a bleak picture check the parenting blog for my rant.

When you take away the building blocks of learning, you cannot build anything. Eventually what you have falls into disrepair and collapses.

There is a vast difference between teaching basics such as reading at a young age, and pushing them into something, such as in Sarah's example.
--------

update:

After nearly an hour of trying to get someone at the VA on the phone yesterday who knew enough to get an answer, my wife got the results. Her count was a full point higher than in the previous tests. Not good news. Next step is likely a bone marrow test.

The reason for the long delay? They never put her doctor's name in the computer system, so all her messages and requests for the results were ignored and trashed. Finally someone put two and two together and checked her file.

Posted by: Chris | May 18, 2007 10:32 AM

I've seen many more problems with kids whose parents jsut let me "be" than kids who had too many rules. Many times, after a brief rebellion, the kids of Alpha parents turn into alphas themselves, while the kids of slackers have absolutely no clue how to control or limit themselves.
I even have this problem with my own husband! He had the ultimate slacker parents and still has trouble following rules (his chief reason for joining the military, actually) It took outside sources- the military and his wife and child- to teach him what his parents should have done!
My very closest friend has an alpha mom and now she's an alpha- it's a nightmare. I can barely be friends with her anymore- she's literally turned into what she HATED growing up (we've been friends since 10 yrs old)

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | May 18, 2007 10:34 AM

I'm probably somewhere in the middle. We have high expectation for academics. However, if they're truly not "getting it" we don't come down on them for a bad grade.

Laziness is another story. Our daughter had a very bad (3 D's) report card due to her blowing off in school. While I tried to talk to her about it she was huffing and puffing and rolling her eyes. My husband stepped in "Don't worry, you don't need to study. All you need to know is, 'Do you want fries with that?'" Cue the tears. I didn't know whether to laugh or take him out back with a switch! To this day it's a family joke whenever one of us is being lazy. And they do feel terrible when they see a middle aged person working the drive thru.

Key to raising accomplished kids wihout being Alpha.

- Turn off the TV
- Lots of books, puzzles, legos, etc.
- Chores
- Let your house be the place the neighborhood kids like to hang. They get to organize their own soccer games that way.
- Don't ask other class parents how their kids performed on a test (who are these people?)

Posted by: HappyMom | May 18, 2007 10:36 AM

alpha parent is really a misnomer. There are parents who are really competitive and weird. Then next are parents who are involved in their kids lives who get a bad rap from generally older people who hardly lifted a finger to be in their kids lives and always say 'well, we didn't do that and our kids turned out ok" or some similar theme. My pet peeve is grandparents who didn't use car seats or seat belts and use that line. Just because you were a lucky idiot does not mean that safety should be ignored.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 10:39 AM

Educmom wrote:
Don't dress like a teenager. I don't care HOW buff you are -- a mother wearing a babydoll tee with Juicy on it in sparkly letters and a dad in baggy denim both look ridiculous.

Thank you for mentioning this! These women that want to show their bellies make me crazy. Tiny t-shirts with low-rider jeans and high-heeled sandals to "volunteer" (I say strut) in the classroom is silly and embarrassing.

A lot of parents want their kids to be "social butterflies," but it is really just a social thing for the parents. In our neighborhood there are kids that never come home after school because if they aren't in an "enrichment class" after school - they are going to a different friend's house for "play dates" - on top of sports practice or music lessons. It is usually so the parents can gossip between pickups and drop offs, and every one of them is holding a Starbucks coffee cup - ALL DAY! What do these people do - run to starbucks 3 times a day between shuttling kids?

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2007 10:43 AM

"3) fewer kids. on average we have 1.9 kids today vs. 3-4 per family a generation ago."

Leslie,

A generation ago was not exactly the olden, golden days. And the 3-4 kids per family is an inaccurate figure.

Don't you remember all the old jokes (er, no, you wouldn't -- too young) about the average couple having a nice house, two late-model cars, a golden retriever, and two-point-something-something (2.15?) kids?

I'm fifty, and two to three kids/family was pretty average. It's been quite a while in this country since we've had an average of three to four.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 10:47 AM

Educmom wrote:
Don't dress like a teenager. I don't care HOW buff you are -- a mother wearing a babydoll tee with Juicy on it in sparkly letters and a dad in baggy denim both look ridiculous.

Thank you for mentioning this! These women that want to show their bellies make me crazy. Tiny t-shirts with low-rider jeans and high-heeled sandals to "volunteer" (I say strut) in the classroom is silly and embarrassing.

A lot of parents want their kids to be "social butterflies," but it is really just a social thing for the parents. In our neighborhood there are kids that never come home after school because if they aren't in an "enrichment class" after school - they are going to a different friend's house for "play dates" - on top of sports practice or music lessons. It is usually so the parents can gossip between pickups and drop offs, and every one of them is holding a Starbucks coffee cup - ALL DAY! What do these people do - run to starbucks 3 times a day between shuttling kids?

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2007 10:43 AM

This is why parents should avoid the suburbs like the PLAGUE.

Our nice neighborhood in the city is filled with educated and diverse parents who would never dream of acting like that- the worst we get is a chanel-suited mom in pearls. Better than hoochie-mama barbie "I drive a land rover" mom

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 10:49 AM

Every family is different and every family knows or eventually figures out what works for them.

My five year old DD has a dance class on Tuesday nights. We will take the summer off and continue with the class (at her request) in the fall on Wednesdays.

We read, listen to classical music, play indoors and outside when we can but we do not schedule every minute of our lives. I have a lunch date with her in about an hour at preschool.

Posted by: shdd | May 18, 2007 10:52 AM

Every family is different and every family knows or eventually figures out what works for them.

My five year old DD has a dance class on Tuesday nights. We will take the summer off and continue with the class (at her request) in the fall on Wednesdays.

We read, listen to classical music, play indoors and outside when we can but we do not schedule every minute of our lives. I have a lunch date with her in about an hour at preschool.

Posted by: shdd | May 18, 2007 10:52 AM

I try to be an Alpha mom but my son blocks my every move. He is five. He has a love for music so I thought the Levine school of Music would help him select an instrument to become proficient in and I will proudly attend recitals where he is the star pupil . I'm thinking the violin, piano, trumpet. At the end of 6 weeks at Levine he tells me we wants to play the electric guitar and he will not be moved! We get him into one of the best private schools in DC but when you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up he replies, for all to hear " A ROCK Star" with a huge grin lighting up his little face. I have spent hundreds of hard earned dollars buying a wardrobe fit for a prince but my DS refuses to wear "smart clothes" because they are just not cool. He will only wear sweat pants and tops and we have a "fight" every morning before school about his attire. I am failing miserably in my quest to be the Alpha Mom. I say this tongue in cheek but its all true.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 10:53 AM

"This is why parents should avoid the suburbs like the PLAGUE"

Well, I live in the suburbs and never saw moms who dressed like that. I'm 50 and haven't volunteered in elem schools for 7-8 years now, so maybe it has changed. Or, maybe it is only suburbs where the moms can afford Juicy clothing (I sure can't).

Posted by: haha | May 18, 2007 10:55 AM

Wow. You folks take these labels really seriously, don't you? Like they're academically sanctioned, sociological categories for inclusion in which you have to present an effective argument.

You're really obsessed with "I'm a this" or "I'm a that" or "I'm half and half."

Do you have any notion of how ridiculous you all sound?

Posted by: amused | May 18, 2007 10:55 AM

"listen to classical music" -- I shudder at the thought.

Good ol' rock and roll for me.

Posted by: anon for this | May 18, 2007 10:58 AM

I try to be an Alpha mom but my son blocks my every move. He is five. He has a love for music so I thought the Levine school of Music would help him select an instrument to become proficient in and I will proudly attend recitals where he is the star pupil . I'm thinking the violin, piano, trumpet. At the end of 6 weeks at Levine he tells me we wants to play the electric guitar and he will not be moved! We get him into one of the best private schools in DC but when you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up he replies, for all to hear " A ROCK Star" with a huge grin lighting up his little face. I have spent hundreds of hard earned dollars buying a wardrobe fit for a prince but my DS refuses to wear "smart clothes" because they are just not cool. He will only wear sweat pants and tops and we have a "fight" every morning before school about his attire. I am failing miserably in my quest to be the Alpha Mom. I say this tongue in cheek but its all true.

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 10:53 AM

Don't lose perspective- your son sounds AMAZING. I think it's great. I beam with pride when my daughter shows her independent spirit and wears mismatched clothes that she picks out- do you know how proud they are in these cases??

Your son sounds really cool :)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 10:58 AM

I'm not sure what I am. With four kids who all have activities, school, or classes, we're busy - but we don't push our kids to win win win, just do their best. They pick their activities, not me.

But I do tend to overbook myself in terms of volunteering/organizing/etc. for their activities and schools so it probably looks like I'm an Alpha mom to other parents. But really, I just like to "do stuff" and stay busy myself. I'm not saying "it has nothing to do with my kids" because obviously it's their schools and teams and etc. that I'm working for. But it's really just my personal preference to be involved on that level - to be the one planning the track meet picnic and not just attending it, running fundraisers and not just giving money, etc.

Posted by: momof4 | May 18, 2007 11:01 AM

"This is why parents should avoid the suburbs like the PLAGUE.

Our nice neighborhood in the city is filled with educated and diverse parents who would never dream of acting like that- the worst we get is a chanel-suited mom in pearls. Better than hoochie-mama barbie "I drive a land rover" mom"

She forgets the crime, drugs and crappy schools but she loves the " diversity". What a load of crap.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 11:01 AM

I am not sure where this falls on the Slacker/Alpha Parent continuum. This is regarding my children's nutritional health.

Some background info first: My oldest son falls under the Autism Spectrum Umbrella, with a diagnosis of PDDnos. At school he has an IEP, which gives me enough to obsess about. Between OT, and speech therapy, extra work helping him get through his homework and brush up on his reading skills there is little time left over for the extracurricular activities. Though his has been involved with Cub scouts this year, so that he can get some social interaction.

Anyway, my main concern has been getting him to consume foods which are not just full of empty calories but also nutritious. He has always been an extremely picky eater and dinner has always been a nightly battle-ground. He hates certain textures, and colors and smells, and anything that is new or different. Instead of wanting more to eat, he routinely goes on starvation diets and his daily intake keeps dropping. This pickiness also trickled down to his younger brother "monkey see, monkey do".

A fellow OT mom suggested an incredible book which revolutionized the way that I tackle getting nutrition into my son's diet. The book is called the "Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids Favorite Meals." It is an incredible book which outlines how to sneak the healthy stuff into the foods which your child will actually eat (like Mac-n-Cheese, pizza, cookies, even milkshakes). If you are at your wits-end and your child seems to be subsisting on a diet of plain white pasta and white bread, then I suggest that you check this book out. Or even if you just want give an extra boost to your child's already balanced diet. This book offers the first practical advise on how to sneak vegetable purees into the food so that they are undetectable! The author has done all of the guess work for you and explains which purees hide well within each food. It also explains how to make complete protein pairs and introduce whole grains in a very easy to follow, step-by-step way.

I love this book! By-the-way, I am in no way shape or form affiliated with the author. I have tries out many of the recipes and techniques with my own family and they work! My husband and I are also getting a extra healthy dose of veggies and whole grains with our meals, and no more cooking 2-3 different meals each night for various family members!

Anyways just wanted to pass this along to other parents who are exhausted over the mealtime battles but still concerned over their child's nutritional intake.

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 11:03 AM

"They are taking spelling out of schools."

Good! The only thing a speling test taught me was to crak the book open 5 minuets befor the test. I got straight A's, but can't spell worth a dam.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 18, 2007 11:06 AM

Our nice neighborhood in the city is filled with educated and diverse parents who would never dream of acting like that- the worst we get is a chanel-suited mom in pearls. Better than hoochie-mama barbie "I drive a land rover" mom

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 10:49 AM

The hoochie mama's are annoying, but I have to stand up for diversity in our area - cultural and economic. Right on our block we have families from Nigeria, India, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Romania, England and Portugal. We joke that the EU is taking over the neighborhood, but it has been fantastic for our kids. The parents work in varied professions from the World Bank, Geico, technology industries and owning a lawn service co. Some mothers stay home, some work PT and FT. The hoochie momma's live in the McMansions up the street - they drive Suburbans and Hummers. I think the chanel suits could be equally annoying.

As for city vs suburbs - there are benefits to both. I grew up in the suburbs so I'd wilt in the city. If we had our choice we'd be in a small town with a couple acres in Southern VA - but at this point that is not an option.

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2007 11:07 AM

Maryland Mother,
I haven't been able to read much today - work is insane. I will not be doing Happy Hour today as I am going with a friend to a nursery to help her pick out plants for her planters.
I am sure that at some point an adult beverage will be consumed but probably not during blog time.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 18, 2007 11:08 AM

How about a song Alphas vs. Slackers?

Maybe along the lines of You say tomato and I say tomato?

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 11:12 AM

This is why parents should avoid the suburbs like the PLAGUE.

Our nice neighborhood in the city is filled with educated and diverse parents who would never dream of acting like that- the worst we get is a chanel-suited mom in pearls. Better than hoochie-mama barbie "I drive a land rover" mom

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 10:49 AM

__________________________________

Nice theory, but at least in my part of the city, the public schools are not an option. Our top priorities for our daughter are safety and a good education, neither of which we can find in the DC public schools. We'll be out in the burbs shortly. Now, the question is whether to move to VA, where everyone carries a gun, or the equally ridiculous Montgomery County, where they just banned trans fats in restaurants. (Yes, I'm trying to draw fire from both sides.)

Posted by: Anon | May 18, 2007 11:15 AM

Avoid cliches like the plague.

Posted by: Chris | May 18, 2007 11:15 AM

Chris,
I hope all goes well with your wife.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 18, 2007 11:17 AM

I also think the 5 year old rock star sounds cool. What a great kid, and a great opportunity to teach him guitar! What's with parents wanting their kids to play violin and piano? BOOOOORING. I love when it's obvious a kid has picked out his clothes. My GF's son went through a stage where he only wanted to wear a camo T-shirt with green pants from his easter suit. He liked that they "matched," both being green and all. This is like the battle over hair. I say, what battle? But then, I have a history of tattoos and piercings, so I'm pretty relaxed about that kind of stuff. I do draw the line at prosti-tots. Gag. Usually daughters of those Juicy-wearing moms.

Posted by: atb | May 18, 2007 11:20 AM

I know what you mean about Montgomery County. I resently found out that my son's school has banned any chasing games from the playground. Due to injuries and the potential for "bullying." What the H-ll are they supposed to do during recess? I don't remember a time when we did not play chasing games during recess. I am pretty sure that it is an important developmental stage. Yes Montgomery county has its share of Saftey Nazis, but they do have some incredible schools and services.

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 11:20 AM

sorry the word is spelled "recently"

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 11:22 AM

dcdesigner,
So I guess the kids don't play dodgeball anymore then huh? Man was that fun as a kid. We would go home with nice welts sometimes. You learn how to move fast :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 18, 2007 11:23 AM

I have a hyper-competitive Type A personality -- as does my husband. We have 2 kids, and we are trying very hard not to be competitive with their activities/schooling etc. As a matter of fact, my almost 6 year old is in absolutely no activities because she goes to school full-time M-F and I want her non-school time to be unstructured fun/imaginative play-time. But, when she starts kindergarten, we will have her start one activity (maybe soccer or swimming or gymnastics -- I need to talk to her). But we had parent-techer conferences last week and my daughter is doing well and I almost asked the question -- how is she doing compared to the other kids. My husband laughed at me and I realized that it was a horrible and irrelevant question. It will be a struggle for me, but I am aware of the "problem" and am working to control it.

Posted by: Marie | May 18, 2007 11:25 AM

This sue-happy area kills me. For instance, adults can't go into a pool that's 3 feet deep at an apt complex when the lifeguard isn't there. Huh? That's insane. Playgrounds are lame, since all playground equipment has been labeled dangerous and banned. Kids aren't allowed to run. Give me a break. I hate bullies as much as the next person, but that's simply stupid. There certainly is something to be said for raising kids in the midwest and south.

Posted by: atb | May 18, 2007 11:26 AM

DCdesigner--thanks for the book suggestion. We have the odd problem with DS that he eats a very limited diet, but it is well balanced enough that the doctors don't worry about his nutrition. Like your child, he'll just let himself go hungry for days on end if we don't offer him the six or seven foods that he'll eat (and conversely, given the opportunity, he'd subsist on nothing but Doritoes if we let him), so I'm always torn on whether I should pressure/encourage him to expand his diet or just leave well enough alone and keep giving him those same six things.

Posted by: Sarah | May 18, 2007 11:27 AM

"The reason for the long delay? They never put her doctor's name in the computer system, so all her messages and requests for the results were ignored and trashed. Finally someone put two and two together and checked her file."

Chris - that's brutal! I am constantly amazed at the lack of compassion and understanding, not to mention extra effort of people in the healthcare system. I bet you never even go so much as a "sorry". My doctor's office says they won't call if the results are positive to which I say, you also won't call if they are lost! Sorry I'm so concerned about my health! Hang in there, I wish you both the best.

Posted by: moxiemom | May 18, 2007 11:27 AM

Is anyone else insulted that we have to be categorized as either a) an Alpha-mom or b) a Beta/Slacker mom? Since when does the media get to decide what we are and who we are, stuffing us into neat little boxes that we don't really fit into? (I know, I know... since forever!)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 11:27 AM

I've always been somewhat confused by the idea of "Alpha Parents" versus "Slacker Parents." It always seemed like a false dichotomy to me.

I guess I prefer thinking of things in terms of the language used to describe parenting styles that I learned from my Childhood Development/Child Psych courses while I was studying to be an educator. If I remember correctly the terms were Authoritarian, Permissive, and Authoritative, but that's not really the big reason why I liked them. It was the fact that they were not mutually exclusive.

I know my style as an educator (and babysitter) is pretty far towards the authoritative camp (I try to teach using choices from what I have selected rather than by telling the child what to do, or letting them do whatever they want), but I know that I have a lot of permissive tendencies especially with older children.

The main thing I always thought is that no matter which style you have, approaching it from the perspective of being warm, close, and loving will help guide your actions (and also temper them as in the case of the mother yelling at the child who wanted to stop swimming).

Posted by: David S | May 18, 2007 11:28 AM

I really don't like the term slacker mom, it gives the impression that normal parenting is not the way to go. Instead, you have to overschedule and overprotect your kids...and that's just wrong. I am on being a parent, not an alpha or slacker mom.

Posted by: MV | May 18, 2007 11:28 AM

Sorry, I still believe that some of the best games growing up were always the ones which were just a little dangerous like dodge ball, wall-ball, red-rover, and chasing games. I was a tiny little kid too, only in the 10% percentile for height and weight, but I was fast! ;)

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 11:28 AM

accckkk -- "teacher" not "techer"

Posted by: Marie | May 18, 2007 11:28 AM

let me clarify - positive test results mean that the outcome is positive, not necessarily the test.

Posted by: moxiemom | May 18, 2007 11:30 AM

Well, imagine how you would feel if your child was the one being beaten up during a fun jolly game of dodge ball. Or your kid was the one being pushed onto the ground and stomped on by other kids.

Maybe if THOSE kids were actually civilized human beings tag and other games would still be allowed.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 11:32 AM

i think i fall more to the slacker end of things. i signed my son up for activities more when he was younger (he's 7) than i do now. i did it when he was young so i could get out of the house.
i don't worry too much about college for my son. while colleges are getting more selective there is a college somewhere that he will get into. it doesn't have to be a "name brand" college. it will be the one that he wants to attend. i won't even mind if he attends the community college & then transfers to a 4 year college. his birthday party will be foam swords so they can beat the snot out of each other without getting hurt. a wading pool so they can splash each other. cake & ice cream. and maybe a couple of games. kids don't need fancy to have a blast or they don't unless they've get jaded.
sometimes the drawback to being an alpha parent is that when they are children you set the bar too high. the sense of entitlement just grows. when they become adults they can't maintain the kind of lifestyle and then they get bitter.

Posted by: quark | May 18, 2007 11:34 AM

My kids have always played chasing games, dodge ball, foot races, anything with running. When they were younger - 6 and 3 - they were playing "Monkey in the Middle" and the neighbor girl, who was 7 at the time, was playing with them with a couple other kids. Her mother came rushing out of the house and told them all to stop because the game would "hurt someone's feelings." I almost gagged. I told my kids to keep playing but the other little girl had to go inside so her emotional well-being could remain intact.

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2007 11:37 AM

I'm not a helicopter parent. I'm a submarine parent. Most of the time I have my head underwater, and I ignore my kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 11:39 AM

Well, imagine how you would feel if your child was the one being beaten up during a fun jolly game of dodge ball. Or your kid was the one being pushed onto the ground and stomped on by other kids.

Maybe if THOSE kids were actually civilized human beings tag and other games would still be allowed.

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 11:32 AM

--------------------------------------

Those kids are jerks and probably have jerk parents. Kids obviously should be watched at recess and punished if they bully. Taking away all the fun games defeats the whole purpose of free time. It won't be too long before recess is as gone as gym class. Sad...

Posted by: atb | May 18, 2007 11:40 AM

I don't know why kind of Mom I am/was. I worked all their lives; however, the kids were always kept by family members. I always wanted my kids to have opportunities I didn't have (traveling, education, sports, music lessons, etc). Our life was more crazy due to parents going to college at night in addition to working and kids activities. A lot of stress in the household.

I'd say chose a parenting style that minimizes stress in your household, but permits happiness and laughter.

Also, make your kids be responsible. Don't do everything for them. They should learn they are part of the household and as a result they need to help maintain the household. There is no reason they can not take out the trash; set and clear the table; help to cook; do their own laundry, etc.

Posted by: C.W. | May 18, 2007 11:41 AM

Chris, sorry to hear about your wife's results and the poor treatment you received. Good luck to you both with the next stages.

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 11:41 AM

Dodgeball isn't politically correct. It should be referred to as circumlocute the spherical rubber mass. Mass, as we know kids, is a form of fundamentalist teaching, and is bad. Therefore, recess has been cancelled to make way for moral relativism appreciation class, in which we will learn to appreciate the liberated minds of so-called terrorists and others labeled unfairly as "bad." That's right kids, everyone's ok!

Posted by: Chris | May 18, 2007 11:41 AM

What? No more "Smear the Queer"?

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 18, 2007 11:41 AM

Florida just passed a bill requiring gym class- I think we'll start to see the trends reversing since our kids are so fat

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 11:44 AM

I think forced dodgeball in gym class is one thing, and a pick-up game at recess is another. If you're likely to be smeared, don't play. There were plenty of kids hanging out on the swings and seasaws. The only rule I remember was you had better be moving. Sitting was never allowed. The teachers wanted us to get..it..out..of..our..systems. Run and scream, please.

Posted by: atb | May 18, 2007 11:46 AM

My child has a long road ahead, and many personal obstacles to overcome. However, he is never going to learn how to become a self-sufficent adult who has managed impulse control if we keep trying to wrap our school-aged children in the equivalent of bubble-wrap. Life is sometimes difficult and unfair. I want my children to understand that sometimes you don't come in first. Some kids are better at X, and some are better at Y. But most importantly, I want my children to know this: "You are my child and I love you and support you. I want you to have the tools to make your own decisions and stand on your own two feet."

My children will have to face some rejection and disappoint in their lives. And I want them to learn those lessons while they are young and in more controlled environments like school, recess and the playground, not when they have gone off to college or are job-hunting for the first time.

That is just my take on playground politics.

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 11:46 AM

Isn't it kindof Alpha-parent-ish to even say "I won't live in the city because I want my kids to get the BEST education?"
I don't care one way or the other, but it does strike me that way.

Posted by: TakomaMom | May 18, 2007 11:49 AM

What is this blog today? High school? Alpha, Slacker, Jock, Artsy, Pact/Boces, Prep ...

Stereo typing is a cop out.

Pete Seger and Little Boxes comes to mind as I read the all too easy criticisms of other parents today.

Posted by: Fo3 | May 18, 2007 11:49 AM

No, Father of 4, but there is an educational class for that subject too...

Posted by: Chris | May 18, 2007 11:50 AM

"Is anyone else insulted that we have to be categorized as either a) an Alpha-mom or b) a Beta/Slacker mom? Since when does the media get to decide what we are and who we are, stuffing us into neat little boxes that we don't really fit into? (I know, I know... since forever!)"

Yes. See comments by "amused," above.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 11:52 AM

I'm not the room mom or the PTO mom, but I did work with my daughter to help get her into a highly sought-after performing arts/college prep charter school. I tutored her in math, and she was very good about doing the extra work. It paid off.

That said, I am thankful to the mothers who are willing and able to put the time in to organize the parties and fundraisers.

On a lighter side...I love the comments about the hoochie moms. You guys ain't seen nothing 'til you've been here in Scottsdale or Ahwatukee, the Phoenix suburb where I live. Wall-to-wall Hummers and Escalades in my kid's current school parking lot (the arts school is much more diversified, one of the attractions). And I think I've already mentioned that women here get breast implants like women back east get a new pair of shoes. Wall-to-wall fake boobs to go with the Hummers. It's Stepford!

Posted by: single western mom | May 18, 2007 11:54 AM

Good luck Chris. I hope your wife is okay.

On the suburbs vs. City thing, there are no juicy moms in my suburb. There are quite a few SAHM, but there are also doctors, project managers, and nurses, etc.


If you like the city good for you and have fun, but the suburbs are nice too.

Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 11:55 AM

Thanks everyone, for the encouragement.

Posted by: Chris | May 18, 2007 11:56 AM

My mother would just count noses at bedtime. If she ended up with the same number she started out with in the morning, she had done her job.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 11:56 AM

I don't want a future conversation with my child to go something like this, "I'm sorry honey but that judge just won't budge. He says that he cannot ignore the fact that you were driving on a suspended license after multiple DUIs. How about is Mummy comes by on Saturday and brings by some designer curtains to help you spruss up your cell, will that make things better? Or better yet, we will take a fabulous European vacation together when you get out, we can just put this entire thing behind us and forget the whole incident."

Posted by: snarky | May 18, 2007 11:58 AM

Chris, I think throwing a snowball on school grounds has changed to "hurling a projectile" and can be a suspendable offense, same with saying "queer". (my bad). Also cops and robbers, imagine ha kid olding his hand like a gun pointing it at someone and saying "bang".

Prayers from me to your wife and you.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 18, 2007 12:03 PM

My mother would just count noses at bedtime. If she ended up with the same number she started out with in the morning, she had done her job.

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 11:56 AM

oh, what a lovely picture of childhood and parenting.

she did a job alright- a pathetic one.

raising kids isn't a factory position

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 12:03 PM

Thanks, Mummy ;>)

Posted by: Paris Hilton | May 18, 2007 12:04 PM

Chris,

Good luck to your wife and yourself. I'm sorry to hear about that most frustrating delay.

KLB,

Oh, fine. I'll mix my own drink tonight.

What's goes with buttered popcorn?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 18, 2007 12:05 PM

Maryland Mother, with speech like "What's goes with buttered popcorn?", it sound like you've already begun hitting the sauce.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 18, 2007 12:12 PM

boring

Posted by: p | May 18, 2007 12:12 PM

Is anyone else sad about the demise of the diving board?

Posted by: moxiemom | May 18, 2007 12:15 PM

What goes with buttered popcorn? Hot chocolate!

Posted by: Orville Redenbacher | May 18, 2007 12:15 PM

Maryland Mother, with speech like "What's goes with buttered popcorn?", it sound like you've already begun hitting the sauce.

'Fraid not. But it's movie night at home (with buttered popcorn planned) and I want a drink.

Posted by: Md Mother | May 18, 2007 12:16 PM

Is anyone else sad about the demise of the diving board?

Posted by: moxiemom | May 18, 2007 12:15 PM

Mememe!

Posted by: BRain damadged | May 18, 2007 12:18 PM

What goes with buttered popcorn? Hot chocolate!

Posted by: Orville Redenbacher

With rum!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 18, 2007 12:18 PM

Moxiemom:
Our pool still has one diving board. they removed the high-dive, after the insurance company said that they did not want to insure our swim club anymore if they did not remove the high dive. But we still have the regular diving board. Don't tell me that they are going to come and take that away too!

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 12:19 PM

"Hot chocolate!

Posted by: Orville Redenbacher

With rum!

Posted by: Maryland Mother"


Personally I prefer Irish Whiskey in my hot chocolate....mmmm....

Too warm here for hot chocolate, so I'd say margaritas with the popcorn. I mean you've got the salt on the rim, so it seems compatible somehow, if perhaps also a bit odd.

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 12:21 PM

"Is anyone else sad about the demise of the diving board?"

They're taking the diving boards away too? Man, that sucks.

On playgrounds, in my dad's town there's a playground in a park that's sort of out of the way of the main town - definitely not a park that is used by the throngs of tourists that mob the place in the summer - so it's basically neglected and hasn't been updated in I don't know how long. It's so funny because it is so clearly different from newer playground equipment - the slide is really, really high with really tight turns, there's all sorts of ladders and stuff that the kids are perpetually falling on, and there are none of the weird psuedo-educational things on it. Needless to say, it is so much fun. All the kids, including my son, love it. I confess it makes me anxious sometimes watching him on it but I also like that it's there.

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 12:28 PM

Articles like this one strike me as just one more way for some people to flaunt their self-perceived superiority over other parents. These so-called slackers are every bit as competitive as the "alphas" they revile; they're just competing to see who can be the more laid, back, "cool" parent.

My kid's too small for me to have developed an identifiable parenting style. I suspect I'll end up leaning towards the more-involved end of the spectrum, but it's also important to me to make sure she has plenty of freedom to grow without interference from me. Can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 18, 2007 12:31 PM

I don't know what kind of mom she was, but I would like to give the Bad Parenting of the Year Award to a mom I saw in a shoe store last weekend. Kid (about 6, not sure exactly) was throwing a large metal coin/token thing into the air and failing to catch it every time. One time, it almost hit a woman sitting nearby. At which point mom said, "I should apologize in advance in case he hits you."

The other woman laughed nervously. Had it been me, I more likely would have said, "Then let me apologize in advance for spanking his little behind, which is what's going to happen if he continues to do that and hits me. Since you obviously won't, I will."

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD???

Posted by: teacher, not parent | May 18, 2007 12:33 PM

If we are giving out Bad Parenting of the Year Awards how about the people who left their four year old sleeping in a hotel room with their two year old twins?

Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 12:39 PM

I for one don't like the soul-sucking stress of city life, well at least the traffic. Not enough room... same for suburbs. In Texas of all places we had a cookie cutter with just enough land to have to walk between 2,375 sq/ft houses. We were there for only 2 years and nearly went nuts!
Living in a tiny apartment really sucks (especially when there is more than one person in the kitchen) but we see it as a stepping stone to a decent house in a small town in the mountains... we were both hoping for time to speed up so we could scrape together enough to pay for some things, but if the next test does not go well, we'll be wanting time to slow down so we have as much as possible.

So, how do you "balance" dreams of the future, a dream for children when there have been medical setbacks, and a dream of quality time together, in the face of a life threatening illness and the potential for another at a relatively young age, with the reality of needing to work long enough to afford the dreams?

I suppose the answer is over-simplistic, and that is to live for today. Hard when you're not even sure what is going on, and hopefully it's nothing, but it sure is making me want to treasure each moment a lot more, whereas before I wanted to just get to the next chapter.

Posted by: Chris | May 18, 2007 12:41 PM

I'm the ultimate slacker mom - I have no kids! :)

However I am an alpha mom to my dog. Hmm.

Posted by: Lisa | May 18, 2007 12:44 PM

"Stereo typing is a cop out."

Is this when you type with both hands?

(Sorry - had to do it for some levity on a dreary Friday.)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 18, 2007 12:47 PM

I do agree that the teaching part of the job in the shoe store should have involved the mother telling the child that this was not the appropriate place to be tossing a coin because he/she might hit someone. Then the parent should direct the child to an activity which is more productive, like helping Mommy find a black sling back in size 7. Some parents just don't get it, that it is not just all about the child, it's about the fact that Mommy needs some really cute shoes!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 12:49 PM

"What? No more "Smear the Queer"?"

Now THAT was a great game! These policies are setting kids up for a fall. Sometimes in life you do get wailed on like in dodgeball but you pick yourself up and fight another day. Learning to overcome adversity is an invaluable lesson and promotes self esteem.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 12:53 PM

"My mother would just count noses at bedtime. If she ended up with the same number she started out with in the morning, she had done her job."

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 11:56 AM

You are destroying my self esteem and the image of my sainted mother. Mom was such a slacker that she would not count noses--that would require effort on her part-- but make us "sound off" with our number! I am and always will be number 4.

(May have to quote a song later--Stuck in the Middle!)

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 12:55 PM

"Then let me apologize in advance for spanking his little behind, which is what's going to happen if he continues to do that and hits me. Since you obviously won't, I will."


LOL,TEACHER NOT PARENT, I think I love you. HAHA

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 12:56 PM

Moxiemom:
Our pool still has one diving board. they removed the high-dive, after the insurance company said that they did not want to insure our swim club anymore if they did not remove the high dive. But we still have the regular diving board. Don't tell me that they are going to come and take that away too!

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 12:19 PM

I don't think there is a single diving board in our area. they all have really cool slides, but there is something about the diving board and screwing up the courage to take on the high dive and then chickening out. Plus they don't make the pools much deeper than 5ft anymore so kids can't dive off the side either. I always loved when there was a really bouncy low board and I could do flips and land flat on my back or stomach because I over rotated.

Posted by: moxiemom | May 18, 2007 12:57 PM

We all have days when we deserve the Worst Parent of the Year award. Like when you are so distracted by your older son's incesant demands, that you end up shutting the car door on your younger child's foot! Or you are so stressed out and tired from working extra hours at work, because you have to catch up on projects which you could not work on while on vacation. So at 7:00 pm you end up yelling at your children to get into their PJs and go to bed now! Mommy is having a very bad, terrible, no good Day!! To which your youngest son tearfully replies, "Don't say that Mommy, today is a good day, and I want you to be happy and stop yelling."

Yes, I am saving up for youngest sibling's therapy now.

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 12:57 PM

Patrick did you by chance catch according to Jim the other night. It was about how everyone is a winner and even if you lose you get a trophy. When I was growing up, if you lost, you lost and you worked harder to win next time.

Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 12:58 PM

Chris, I agree with all of your points. We are constantly striving to pay off debt, save for retirement, save for college, pay off debt - for what? unless there's a next chapter, and preferably a next chapter together. My prayers are with you and your wife and I hope the medical care you get is head and shoulders above the administrative challenges with which you've already dealt.

Posted by: MN | May 18, 2007 1:00 PM

"I always loved when there was a really bouncy low board and I could do flips and land flat on my back or stomach because I over rotated."

Oh man, I can feel the sting just reading that! I loved diving backwards - I was the first one who was willing to try it and scored major points for a while until the other kids finally tried it.

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 1:01 PM

Patrick did you by chance catch according to Jim the other night. It was about how everyone is a winner and even if you lose you get a trophy. When I was growing up, if you lost, you lost and you worked harder to win next time.


Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 12:58 PM

and walked 10 miles to school, uphill, through the snow, with no shoes, after doing several hours of chores.

cue the world's smallest violin, please.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 1:05 PM

"oh, what a lovely picture of childhood and parenting.

she did a job alright- a pathetic one.

raising kids isn't a factory position"

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 12:03 PM

Hey 12:03, buzz off! Sometimes having even one child is like a factory! The fact is in large families, even 4 like we have, more than a bit of organization and regimentation is necessary for daily life. You know that this might even prepare children for life in the real world as most places that I have worked are big on the "team" concept".

BTW, get a humor transplant while you are at it.

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 1:05 PM

Patrick did you by chance catch according to Jim the other night. It was about how everyone is a winner and even if you lose you get a trophy. When I was growing up, if you lost, you lost and you worked harder to win next time.


No but I totally agree with you. Everyone is NOT a winner. I was on bad teams and did not win a trophy but I practiced harder and when I won, it was a very sweet feeling because I knew I deserved it. I will not allow my kids to have participation trophies pretty soon. I feel we are just deceiving kids and setting them up for a fall. Life does not hand out participation trophies.

Posted by: pATRICK-TO SCARRY | May 18, 2007 1:05 PM

"When I was growing up, if you lost, you lost and you worked harder to win next time.


Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 12:58 PM

and walked 10 miles to school, uphill, through the snow, with no shoes, after doing several hours of chores.

cue the world's smallest violin, please."

Amoeba award of the week?

You must be 18 then, and accustomed to "participant" awards.

In real life, you will win and lose. You do NOT always gets the job.

No violins needed.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 1:07 PM

A restaurant we go to frequently has those end of year "everyone gets an award" party for the soccer and softball teams. Sometimes the coach/parent has to really stretch to find a reason to give one of the players his trophy.

"And...this one is for Franklin, who provided great backup for 1st base and always made sure the next batter knew who was on base."

It sounds really sad, sometimes.

Re: hot moms in suburbia. There's plenty of them down here in my subdivision!

Posted by: John L | May 18, 2007 1:09 PM

First, I send sincere wishes for good health for your wife. My following remarks are sent with no disrespect toward you or her.

Regarding balance in the face of illness - did you hear about the man in England (?) who was diagnosed with cancer? He spent all his money, sold his house, ran up credit cards, and did everything he wanted with his remaining time. Except..., it was a misdiagnosis and he is not dying and he is broke. Although happy with the news, I believe he is trying to sue because of the misdiagnosis.

Posted by: to Chris | May 18, 2007 1:09 PM

Ah, memories of diving boards... When we moved in with my grandmother, she had a pool with a diving board. The diving board was very old. I had a friend over and we dove off of it a couple times, and then when he walked out on it and barely went to jump it just snapped in half. It was so comical I couldn't stop laughing... while checking to make sure he was ok, of course.

Posted by: Chris | May 18, 2007 1:10 PM

If everyone is special than no one is special" -The Incredibles. So true

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 1:12 PM

You must be 18 then, and accustomed to "participant" awards.

hahahhah

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 1:13 PM

A restaurant we go to frequently has those end of year "everyone gets an award" party for the soccer and softball teams. Sometimes the coach/parent has to really stretch to find a reason to give one of the players his trophy.

"And...this one is for Franklin, who provided great backup for 1st base and always made sure the next batter knew who was on base."

It sounds really sad, sometimes.

Re: hot moms in suburbia. There's plenty of them down here in my subdivision!

Posted by: John L

Very uncomfortable to witness, isn't it?

I find myself on the fringes of lunacy (or something) because if I host a birthday party for one of my kids, I provide cake, pizza, soda, the opportunity to play games, do some activities of some sort (bring your bathing suit, we'll turn on the sprinklers, for example) but I don't send kids home with a goodie bag.

I think there is something really weird about those goodie bags--it smacks of bribery or something.

I want the kids to have a good time, but I don't "get it".

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 18, 2007 1:14 PM

dc designer, I am so there with you. Who hasn't had those moments? And how rarely do we fess up to them?

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 1:15 PM

Amoeba award of the week?

You must be 18 then, and accustomed to "participant" awards.

In real life, you will win and lose. You do NOT always gets the job.

No violins needed.

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 01:07 PM

speaking of needing a humor transplant, see above for emotional overreaction.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 1:17 PM

(THE BARBIE BANDITS) Johnston's mother, Lisa Johnston, wept as she told ABC how she had hoped to instill positive values in her children by doing something special with them every day.

"I hoped that would instill and pretty much guarantee me wonderful adults," she said. "But I guess there's no guarantee."


Probably a roomful of those GD participation trophies....

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 1:18 PM

Ahh...participation trophies. My kids got these but were told by the coach that everyone gets this for participating. No one was told that they were winners anyway. And the large first and second place trophies were clearly visible to those who only got small participation trophies. There was a definite distinction between winning and losing.

Fast forward to high school. DD got a certificate for a jv sports team for 'most enthusiastic'. She laughingly explained that it was "that's what they give to all the kids who are not good".

Getting the participation trophy does not teach them that they are always winners and will never learn to lose. It's a souvenir basically. It's what the parents and coaches teach them about winning and losing that sticks with them in the long run.

Posted by: just sayin' | May 18, 2007 1:20 PM

Alpha mom: you are doing what you think is correct.
Many people disagree with you. Are you digging your heals in because you think you are doing the right thing in regards to raising your son or is it your need to be right (there is a huge difference there-if you are someone who just has to prove others wrong and you never take another view into account, there could beserious implications there, but I don't know).

Posted by: atlmom | May 18, 2007 1:23 PM

to maryland mother, i'm with you on the goody bag thing. last year i gave plastic cups (either yu-gi-oh, spiderman, or disney princess) with a bag of goldfish inside. that was as far as i was willing to go with the goody bag thing. i will not buy candy & useless plastic crapola for children. one boy told me that my goody bags were lame. he didn't take his. he isn't coming to any more parties that i throw for my son.

Posted by: quark | May 18, 2007 1:24 PM

pATRICK,

I'll stick up for one positive aspect of participation trophies for younger kids, though. When our son was 4 - 6, he couldn't have cared less whether we signed him up for soccer, basketball, t-ball or whatever. He enjoyed them, but didn't yet have a passion for any particular sport. We wanted him to be exposed to those sports and chose low-key (YMCA, Optimist Club) rec clubs so he'd have a positive, 8 - 12 week experience, and begin to see fitness and sports as routine components of a healthy lifestyle. He LOVED his trophies and the end-of-season acquisition was key to him enjoying those early sports experiences. Now he's in it for love of the game, but it a participationg trophy is motivating for young kids, I see no harm in it. Ending it when love of sport should take over is the missing part for some organizations.

Not everything is a metaphor for life, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 18, 2007 1:25 PM

Maryland Mom: I love it!

Evil Slacker Mom...what a nice ring!!

Posted by: ParentPrenuer | May 18, 2007 1:26 PM

Here is another topic. THE POLITICS OF KIDS BIRTHDAY PARTIES. I run into this more and more as we try to pare these suckers down. My son this year was supposed to have 5 friends, guess what? We had 16!, 16! Because of all the politics. I promised myself next year it will be five no matter what. Anyone else get frustrated?

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 1:27 PM

just sayin' said it better.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 18, 2007 1:27 PM

Given the discussion of participation trophies I thought some of you might get a kick out of this -

AMERICANS WITH NO ABILITIES ACT (AWNAA)

WASHINGTON , DC (AP) - Congress is considering sweeping legislation, which provides new benefits for many Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA) is being hailed as a major legislation by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.

"Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society," said Barbara Boxer. "We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they do a better job, or have some idea of what they are doing."

The President pointed to the success of the US Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 74 percent of postal employees lack job skills, making this agency the single largest US employer of Persons of Inability.

Private sector industries with good records of nondiscrimination against the Inept include retail sales (72%), the airline industry (68%), and home improvement "warehouse" stores (65%). The DMV also has a great record of hiring Persons of Inability (63%).

Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million "middle man" positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance

Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given, to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations which maintain a significant level of Persons of Inability in middle positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires!

Finally, the AWNAA ACT contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the Non-abled, banning discriminatory interview questions such as "Do you have any goals for the future?" or "Do you have any skills or experience which relate to this job?"

"As a Non-abled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them," said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, MI due to her lack of notable job skills. "This new law should really help people like me." With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel..

Said Senator Ted Kennedy, "It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her adequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation!"

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 1:27 PM

"one boy told me that my goody bags were lame. he didn't take his. he isn't coming to any more parties that i throw for my son."

I'm curious. Is he the one who said he is not coming to any more parties, or is it you saying you are not inviting him to any more?

Posted by: to quark | May 18, 2007 1:29 PM

You mothers are raising a pathetic bunch of whiney wimps. "Participant awards?" Good grief. Like in "Meet the Fockers" when they had an award for 9th place? No wonder the world is going down the toilet. Imagine what this generation of kids will do to it.

Lisa: Good for you! We need more women like you.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 1:29 PM

Ahh...participation trophies. My kids got these but were told by the coach that everyone gets this for participating. No one was told that they were winners anyway. And the large first and second place trophies were clearly visible to those who only got small participation trophies. There was a definite distinction between winning and losing.

Posted by: just sayin' | May 18, 2007 01:20 PM

This is absolutely the best way to go. Although I prefer ribbons for participation because they take up less space.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 1:31 PM

Megan, I'm on a webinar right now, and I had to press mute after I snorted when I read your post. That is hysterical. The Onion???

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 18, 2007 1:31 PM

pATRICK, what politics? Are you inviting extra kids to avoid hurt feelings? Or are inviting cousings because you don't want to offend their parents? or is George W. your next-door neighbor?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 18, 2007 1:32 PM

" He LOVED his trophies and the end-of-season acquisition was key to him enjoying those early sports experiences. Now he's in it for love of the game, but it a participationg trophy is motivating for young kids, I see no harm in it. Ending it when love of sport should take over is the missing part for some organizations."

MN, I said for 4-6 year olds it is not a problem and I agree. But 8-15 year olds? No way!Remember in MEET THE FOCKERS when Deniro says "oh, I didn't know they handed out trophies for 9th place". That was perfect!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 1:32 PM

Mega,
That is hilarious! Is it from the Onion?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 18, 2007 1:33 PM

For alphas, motherhood becomes a social advancement tool, a vehicle for unfulfilled dreams. The child is an extension of the mother. What a way to live. I guess I'm a beta. I do enough, and have a happy 5th grader who sings around the house, and begged me to spray his hair pink before going to school to day. I complied. Don't give a darn what anyone thinks.

Posted by: lurkerfortoday | May 18, 2007 1:35 PM

I'm actually not sure of the source - a friend forwarded it and it wasn't clear where she got it, but The Onion seems like the safest bet!

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 1:35 PM

"pATRICK, what politics? Are you inviting extra kids to avoid hurt feelings? Or are inviting cousings because you don't want to offend their parents? or is George W. your next-door neighbor?"

MN, surely you are not obtuse. My wife's friends kid, the kid who sits at the table at lunch, the kid who invited your kid to their party etc. It is neverending

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 1:36 PM

Go, Alpha Mom. Way to stick up for yourself (and your child). To each her own. It's nice to hear your side of the story.

The reason I cited dads increased involvement in their kids' lives as a factor is because it IS a key factor in helicopter parenting. This isn't all moms' fault. Plenty of dads apply pressure to their children to be perfect and high-achieving on multiple fronts. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. (That's really for the kids to decide -- one kid's ideal parent is another's nightmare.)

The equation is More Involved Moms & Dads - Fewer Children = Helicopter Parenting.

Posted by: Leslie | May 18, 2007 1:37 PM

I run into this more and more as we try to pare these suckers down.

posted by pATRICK

Just asking, by why the need to "pare these things down"?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 1:37 PM

"I run into this more and more as we try to pare these suckers down.

posted by pATRICK

Just asking, by why the need to "pare these things down"?"

Cost and planning mainly. I think that huge birthday parties are wasteful and encourage greed.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 1:40 PM

one boy told me that my goody bags were lame. he didn't take his. he isn't coming to any more parties that i throw for my son.

Posted by: quark | May 18, 2007 01:24 PM

Well, they were lame. ;) If you don't want to do goody bags, don't. But don't expect what you gave would make anyone happy.

If this kid is young, cut the kid some slack, he is only telling the truth and probably hasn't learned how to control his words for social reasons.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 1:45 PM

pATRICK, I've been accused of many things, but obtuse is a new one :>) I honestly did not know how politics played into your invites, which is why I asked. We've never felt forced to invite anyone we didn't want to invite, but then we are of the invite the whole class mentality. We don't invite relatives, next door neighbors, and kids who are children of our adult friends.

I distinguish between inviting friend's kids (are they even friends with your child?) and a reciprocal birthday invite. The reciprocal birthday invite is reflected in adult society. You invite me to your house for a dinner party; I have to (and want to) reciprocate within a reasonable period of time, or I'm a mooch. Part of teaching manners and civility, it seems to me, is teaching that reciprocal invites are a part of life and if you don't want to invite Sam to your birthday party, don't accept Sam's invite to Sam's birthday party. Step 1 to party planning for me is to add up the kids to whom my child owes a reciprocal invitation, then decide what activity makes sense for that number of kids plus 1 - 5 depending on your capacity for large groups.

Why do you care, btw? Are you having at-home parties? Is it the annoying goody bags? the cost?

Posted by: MN | May 18, 2007 1:47 PM

re: goody-bags

Breaking these out is like declaring "PARTY'S OVER", but you don't have to say it.

If you give out candy and don't include chocolate in the goody-bag, yes, that's lame.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 18, 2007 1:48 PM

pATRICK - you can always offer the child a very special activity that he/she can only invite their best 1 or 2 friends to. The family friends will understand as the relationship between the children isn't there and usually the other children understand the best friend(s) bond.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | May 18, 2007 1:48 PM

"The reason I cited dads increased involvement in their kids' lives as a factor is because it IS a key factor in helicopter parenting"

You can't sign the kids up for every possible sports/music/enrichment activity if the dads can't help with the driving :).

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 1:50 PM

Obtuse eh? I'd rather be a cute.

Posted by: Fo3 | May 18, 2007 1:53 PM

Father of 4,

I do like the Pavlovian effect of the goodie bags. Party's over - Go home now! Fortunately, in all the birthday parties we've thrown, we only had 2 parents who didn't show up at the appointed hour to retrieve their children. Actually, that would be one parent.

The other one waited until noon Sunday morning after we had a slumber party for 11 8 year olds and said on the invite (and confirmed orally at drop-off the night before), pick 'em up between 10 and 12. Every other parent understood we'd be exhausted and ready for them to go and showed up to retrieve their dirty, tired, happy young men between 10 and 10:45. One parent took us at our word and was the last to pick up her (devil!) child. Having met her son, I wouldn't have retrieved him any earlier than necessary either.

Posted by: MN | May 18, 2007 1:54 PM

(to the tune of "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off")

You say Suzuki (method)
I say Suzuki (bike)

You say Blueberry (phone)
I say Blueberry (muffin)

Suzuki, Blueberry
Blueberry Suzuki

Lets all call a truce

I say Cadbury (candy)
You can Cranberry (juice)

I say dodge ball
You say not at all

Cadbury, Cranbury
Dodge Ball , not at all

Lets just be friends

You say the Gipper
I say Flipper

You say Bach (playing)
I say Rock (playing)

Gipper, Flipper
Rock, Bach

Let's let kids be kids!

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 1:54 PM

" but then we are of the invite the whole class mentality. We don't invite relatives"

You invite the whole class but not grandparents?

pATRICK, I'm with you. Each family has to decide for themselves how many children they care to host (and have room and budget to host). Then the child may choose the guests within that number. I completely disagree with the idea of recripocal invitations for children's birthday parties. They should invite who they wish to celebrate with. Turning down invitations to parties for children they wouldn't invite to their own is a nice theory. But if one child has room for 30 kids, should your kid say no because they will only have 10 at their party and the kid hosting 30 is #11 on the friend list?

Posted by: huh? | May 18, 2007 1:55 PM

I know Chris. Chris is a friend of mine. And Fred, you're no Chris. But if you'd like I'll give you a trophy for effort ;-)

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 1:59 PM

pATRICK - you can always offer the child a very special activity that he/she can only invite their best 1 or 2 friends to"

Yes this was our idea and it went bad. We still had a good time. But we are trying to get a couple of friends and go somewhere. We in our group of friends have had those inside bounce house places and invited like 20-25 kids. Now that he is getting older we want to pare down. A big part of the prooblem is my son really is a social butterfly and really has lots of friends, church, soccer, school, neighbor hood, basketball etc. so part of that is our fault.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 1:59 PM

well, huh? I don't know any grandparents, of any age, who desire to hang around and watch 4th graders skate around a roller rink for an hour and a half. We have no local grandparents, but if yours are, I would think they'd much prefer to come over to your house on the day of the actual birthdate and share cake with the family. YMMV, obviously.

We will just agree to disagree on whether one should accept invitations from people whose hospitality you like but about whom you don't care enough about to invite to your own party.

Posted by: MN | May 18, 2007 2:01 PM

Patrick I think that some kids are just born to be social butterflys. My daughter loves everyone and has lots of friends.

Your son probably can't help himself.

Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 2:01 PM

My son this year was supposed to have 5 friends, guess what? We had 16!, 16! Because of all the politics. I promised myself next year it will be five no matter what. Anyone else get frustrated?

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 01:27 PM

We had 16 kids too! It was for my 6 year old - not next year though. Luckily it was nice outside and the kids were in the backyard running around and eating cake. It was too many kids though - organizing the games was tough because of all the wiggly bodies.

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2007 2:02 PM

I know Chris. Chris is a friend of mine. And Fred, you're no Chris. But if you'd like I'll give you a trophy for effort ;-)

Posted by: catlady

Give him a ribbon, it takes up less space :-)

Personally, I like it when the kids get to keep their uniform (or in the case of wrestling, the team sweatshirt. The singlet just isn't the same!). Trophies are for first & second place. Team parties are for EVERYONE--and that's cool with me. Especially if the parents pull together some photos and/or little videos of especially cool moments. Including the one where my son was caught on tape losing blithely and spectacularly and bouncing off the mat to finish playing demolition derby with a friend and teammate. He couldn't have cared less that his match was over in less than 10 seconds.

Made for a short meet for me! Hurray!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 18, 2007 2:04 PM

MN, you must lead a charmed life. Not inviting the kid next door makes for a very frosty relationship unless it is obvious that they don't play with each other. Somehow, I just get this image of you throwing a hoe down and squaredancing, don't know why. ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 2:04 PM

You say to pick the children up between 10 and 12, and then dis the parents who show up ON TIME.

If someone said that to me, I would not "understand" that they would be exhausted and wanting the guests out as soon as possible. I would think pick-up time was between 10-12.

Posted by: to MN | May 18, 2007 2:04 PM

"I know Chris. Chris is a friend of mine. And Fred, you're no Chris. But if you'd like I'll give you a trophy for effort ;-)"

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 01:59 PM

Yes, I know. I do want the participation ribbon though!

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 2:05 PM

I don't get the goody bags either. Since when do you get a gift for going to someone else's party. Sometimes its not about you. Sometimes its about letting someone else have the spotlight and all the loot. I always thought that the party itself was the gift to the friends. I also vote no for trophies. If everyone gets a trophy for participating, then what do we give to the kids who really win. MN I disagree about motivation. If they need a trophy to participate, then maybe they shouldn't be playing yet. My 2 cents.

Posted by: moxiemom | May 18, 2007 2:05 PM

Our pool has diving boards - low and high. It also has a rope swing and a zip line that both go off of the high dive. Maybe we're just tough here. ;o)

Posted by: momof4 | May 18, 2007 2:08 PM

I must admit the mechanics of these parties wear me out. Paying for everything, getting a cake, setting up goody bags (paying for them especially) then writing and mailing 16-20 thank you cards. My mom used to get a cake go to the park and we ran around and that was a gas. Now everything needs to be "special". Maybe I am turning into a scrooge.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 2:09 PM

Fred, I've delegated Frieda to give you your prize.

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 2:09 PM

Chris,

On your current situation, We extend our sympathy.

Fred and Frieda

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 2:09 PM

Yes, I know. I do want the participation ribbon though!

Don't be a sore loser, take the ribbon.

Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 2:11 PM

MN, you must lead a charmed life. Not inviting the kid next door makes for a very frosty relationship unless it is obvious that they don't play with each other. Somehow, I just get this image of you throwing a hoe down and squaredancing, don't know why. ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 02:04 PM

Honestly, no one in our neighborhoods feels compelled to invite neighbors' kids to parties. We all understand that parties are about them and not us -- or at least I've never even heard a snark about it from someone about someone else, so maybe I've been spared.

"You say to pick the children up between 10 and 12, and then dis the parents who show up ON TIME.

If someone said that to me, I would not "understand" that they would be exhausted and wanting the guests out as soon as possible. I would think pick-up time was between 10-12.

Posted by: to MN | May 18, 2007 02:04 PM"

2:04, I dissed her on an anonymous blog, not to anyone else. Clearly, you wouldn't understand but this group of parents is pretty cool, and given that we provided everyone with free Saturday night babysitting and we were having a large group of boys at our house overnight, they were awed by our taking one for the team. But since you don't understand, I merely wish for you the stupidity to have a sleepover for a bunch of 8 year old boys and we'll laugh about it afterwards.

Posted by: MN | May 18, 2007 2:11 PM

"We will just agree to disagree on whether one should accept invitations from people whose hospitality you like but about whom you don't care enough about to invite to your own party."

Snarky, MN. First of all, we have home parties for the children. Grandparents are given the option of coming during the festivities, or afterward for just family time. Second, we live in a small townhouse with a small yard. Physically, there is just not enough room to invite the entire class, so guest list is limited. When I issue invitations to
my home for anything, it is because I care to invite the people and not because I expect a reciprocal invitation in return. I assume that when my child is invited somewhere, it is not because the parents expect a reciprocal invitation from us.

Posted by: huh? | May 18, 2007 2:12 PM

oopps, don't have my glasses on, I thought you said you didn't want the ribbon. Which is what I would have said as a I walked uphill in the snow backwards, oh forget it.

Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 2:12 PM

a suggestion for the birthday party thing - just don't do it, or make rules ahead - we've already decided that there are immediate-family only parties only for birthdays that don't end in a 0 or a 5... this is keeping up the joneses at its worst

Posted by: b parties | May 18, 2007 2:13 PM

Chris, I just went back to search for what others are referring to. I'm so sorry to hear of your wife's discouraging test result, and especially the callous way her records were initially handled. I hope there will be better news for you both in the coming weeks. Take care.

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 2:14 PM

scarry and catlady

Don't I get any credit for putting Bach and Rock together?

Oh, that was Move over Beethoven (Not Bach)

Oh well back to scrubbing toilets and washing towels!

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 2:15 PM

I don't know about a participation ribbon... The much coveted 2nd place default trophy goes to Fred! YAY!

And with that (to quote someone I knew), "I'm out like a fat kid in dodgeball!"

Gotta use that one a lot before the thought police make it illegal!

Posted by: Chris | May 18, 2007 2:16 PM

The idea of reciprocal invitations only would apply to similar type parties - if you have been invited to a co-workers holiday open house with 100 people in attendance, you don't automatically invite them to the sit-down dinner for 8 you are planning for New year's eve. If you have only two children over for a sleepover your child doesn't have to turn down the party invitation that went to everyone in the class (unless they don't like the kid).
You can be reciporical with other items than b-day party= b-day party. The idea that you may take your co-worker out to lunch would be reciprocal, and your child could schedule a play date of some kind with the child whose birthday party they went to.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | May 18, 2007 2:18 PM

"But since you don't understand, I merely wish for you the stupidity to have a sleepover for a bunch of 8 year old boys and we'll laugh about it afterwards."

Been there, done that. What I don't understand is your stupidity to say pick-up til 12 if you didn't really mean it. Next time say 10:00 sharp.

Whether or not you dissed on anonymous blog is really beside the point. the point is that you are dissing someone for following your guidelines.

Posted by: to mn | May 18, 2007 2:18 PM

But since you don't understand, I merely wish for you the stupidity to have a sleepover for a bunch of 8 year old boys and we'll laugh about it afterwards.

Posted by: MN | May 18, 2007 02:11 PM

Since you don't understand, you said between 10 and 12, they came at 12 and you were pissed.

And I've had a sleepover for a bunch of 8 yo girls, so I do understand. (I wanted the invite to say: we will call you the second they get up, if your not here within 10 minutes, we will sell them to the highest bidder)

If you wanted them picked up earlier, you should have said so. Why did you write 10-12? To expect people to read between the lines, is asking for a misunderstanding.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 2:18 PM

Hey Chris,

When you can catch your breath, remember Fred_and_Frieda@hotmail.com

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 2:19 PM

It's "Roll Over, Beethoven."

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 2:19 PM

MN: Why put pick-up between 10-12? If you wanted them out at 10 - just list 10 - beieve me, I know how you feel after a slumber party. It takes me 2 days to recover.

Every slumber party we have had listed a pick up at 10, and if someone had to pick up early or late they told us when they dropped off.

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2007 2:25 PM

Awww- I can't wait for my daughter to have sleepovers!

And I remember my brother's sleepovers at around age 8 ( was 10)- it was nothing short of torture for all involved.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 2:27 PM


I don't get the lambasting of trophies. What's the harm in giving kids a little $6 geegaw as a memento of 10 weeks of practices and games, 2-3 times a week, with a team that's now come to an end? It's just a memento, a rite of passage, a way to say goodbye, glad you were part of the group.

The kids seem to like the bobble-headed trophies lately . . . I mean what part of say 'Tigers, Spring 2007' is so worthy of mockery?

Posted by: KB | May 18, 2007 2:28 PM

Geez, Louise, people. If you're determined to be bent out of shape, go back to the initial message on this topic and note that I did NOT say she was late. I was not pissed. I found her choice interesting in light of the behavior of her child.

But to make it real easy for you to review, here's the statement:

"Fortunately, in all the birthday parties we've thrown, we only had 2 parents who didn't show up at the appointed hour to retrieve their children. Actually, that would be one parent."

We did mean 10 - 12, primarily because we wanted parents to be able to attend church services of their choice and timing, and pick up their children either on the way or afterwards. In that community, this approach was customary and considered thoughtful. This is not a big issue either for her or for us, only for anons here.

KLB, have you fixed those drinks yet?

Posted by: MN | May 18, 2007 2:28 PM

`Slacker` is the perfect word to describe this column and the denizens who inhabit it.

Posted by: Mister Methane | May 18, 2007 2:31 PM

It's "Roll Over, Beethoven."

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 02:19 PM

Well,Catlady, SOME versions are like that! See if I invite you to my dance party. I am giving out participation trophies. You just gotta' show up to win!

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 2:31 PM

MN,

Since you are going back to original post, don't forget this line "Every other parent understood we'd be exhausted and ready for them to go and showed up to retrieve their dirty, tired, happy young men between 10 and 10:45."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 2:32 PM

MN,
Yours is the second request I have had for adult beverages today. Am I the blog drunk now? :-)
I am still at work but, after the day I have had I would love one. Unfortunately it will be a while as I am going out after work with a friend to pick out flowers for her planters. She isn't gardeny at all.
Rest assured there is a margarita in my future when that is done.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 18, 2007 2:32 PM

MN: Why put pick-up between 10-12? If you wanted them out at 10 - just list 10 - beieve me, I know how you feel after a slumber party. It takes me 2 days to recover.

Are these Alpha slumber parties? My kids had many slumber parties when they were young, and I never felt like I needed days to recover (or even hours).


Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 2:34 PM

Are these Alpha slumber parties? My kids had many slumber parties when they were young, and I never felt like I needed days to recover (or even hours).

You probably were not watching them.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 2:39 PM

Everyday was a young and teen male slumber party at my house!

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 2:41 PM

MN, got to take you to task. A pet peeve of mine is when people say 10-12 and really mean 10. My wife is like you, she would think it's rude to show up at 12.00. I think it is juvenile to get snarky when YOU set the parameters and others use that as their guide.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 2:42 PM

who didn't show up at the appointed hour to retrieve their children

-MN

But they did show up at the appointed time, which is the only point I am making.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 2:42 PM

Helpful Birthday tip:
We decided to start paring down the birthday experience as well, prior to this year I invited whole classrooms or playgroups of kids to destination parties at Chuck-E-Cheese or Gymnastics (son's Birthday is in the middle of winter).

This year, I decided that it was not financially acceptable to spend so much money on a party, and my son could learn a valuable lesson about moderation. So I sat down with my soon-to-be 7 year old son a month before his Birthday party and said that he was allowed to invite 8 guests to his Birthday party. I told him that the party was going to be at our house, and that 8 guests was the maximum number of kids that I would like to have inside our house in the middle of January. I also told him that home-made cupcakes and juice were on the menu (I did not tell him that I was done with expensive store-bought cakes which taste like card-board, and not interested in springing for delivery pizza).

My son was excited that he got to make up his own guest list and pick a party theme. We decided on a swash-buckling pirate theme and had fun coming up with home-grown party games like pin the eye-patch on the pirate and an amusing round of limbo.

We ended up with 6 guests attending and we had a blast. I found that if you include your child in the party planning, then the event becomes more fun and less overwhelming for everyone.

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 2:43 PM

Was there an actual topic today?

Posted by: Just Wondering | May 18, 2007 2:44 PM

"We ended up with 6 guests attending and we had a blast. I found that if you include your child in the party planning, then the event becomes more fun and less overwhelming for everyone."

Thanks for the tip, I will try that. For the record, my wife's, daughter's and son's birthdays all fall within 2 weeks of each other.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 2:46 PM

My daughter's BDay party fell on last fall's Michgigan v. Ohio State game. My DH reasoned that no one would even take the time to drop the kids off during the game, so we should invite the families. That's 18 kids, Moms/Dads, and sibs. It was a ton of work, but what a riot! The dad's were all downstairs drinking beer and trying to put a foosball table together (3 tries). The kids (4th grade boys and girls) were outside playing football. The moms were the only ones hanging at the TV watching the game. Later the kids TP'd our yard in the blue and yellow streamers from the basement.

Next year she get two friends and a movie.

Posted by: HappyMom | May 18, 2007 2:48 PM

Fred wrote: "Everyday was a young and teen male slumber party at my house!"

No wonder your mom was sainted!

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 2:48 PM

pATRICK,
If the collective birthdays are in the summer be on vacation - no parties at all - just family fun.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 18, 2007 2:49 PM

To Just Wondering, who asked "Was there an actual topic today?"

Yes, it was whether one is an Alpha or Slacker parent. The matter of what kind of child's birthday party to throw falls squarely within the announced ambit.

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 2:51 PM

all the other kids loved the cups & thought they were great. there were several discussions on whether to get the yu-gi-oh or spiderman cup. we let them choose their own. the kids also loved the goldfish. once again we had several different types & the kids got to choose their own. all expect this one kid. he is also the kid who had a temper tantrum when he didn't win one of the games and sulked in the corner. i've had him over to play with my son since the party & he does have a sense of entitlement.
it doesn't take much to make kids happy.

Posted by: quark | May 18, 2007 2:53 PM

"If the collective birthdays are in the summer be on vacation - no parties at all - just family fun."

I don't think pATRICK was trying to avoid birthday parties, just trying to keep them within reasonable parameters.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 2:53 PM

Fred wrote: "Everyday was a young and teen male slumber party at my house!"

No wonder your mom was sainted!

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 02:48 PM

We certainly cannot call Catlady obtuse!

(Take some lessons from her, MN!)

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 2:55 PM

I found that if you include your child in the party planning, then the event becomes more fun and less overwhelming for everyone.

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 02:43 PM

Until your little 8 y.o. starts planning her June party in March, asking you everyday "can we do (insert some wild a$$ idea)" that could run you big $$$, continually changing her mind and asking permission that you will give (and forget about) out of sheer exaustion.

The result being; "you said on 4/3 that we could have the "cirque du solei (sp?)" and on 4/12 mom said we could have a sleep over for 22 kids. So I decided to combine the two and have the circus people sleep over too. Is that OK, dad?"

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 2:55 PM

Catlady,

I am playing "Red River Valley" by the Sons of the Pioneers for you! No Paganini today!

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 2:57 PM

Hey, Fred, MN is my friend, too, so no divide-and-conquer allowed here!!!

Isn't it amazing that the blog has (more or less) stayed on-topic this late on a Friday? Maybe Blog Stats can figure out whether that's some kind of record for a Friday.

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 2:57 PM

devils advocate,
And don't forget the elephants and horses!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 18, 2007 2:58 PM

Interesting topic for a blog...aren't all of you who read this Slackers?

Posted by: Me | May 18, 2007 2:59 PM

Are these Alpha slumber parties? My kids had many slumber parties when they were young, and I never felt like I needed days to recover (or even hours).

You probably were not watching them.

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 02:39 PM

Since when does watching kids need two days to recover? There is a huge difference between supervising 8 year olds at play and being completely engaged every minute with every single thing they are doing.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 2:59 PM

Fred, I'm afraid Sons of the Pioneers is more to DH's taste. I'd prefer the Paganini, or some fine New Orleans jazz.

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 2:59 PM

devils advocate,
And don't forget the elephants and horses!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 18, 2007 02:58 PM

They come with the circus, don't they?

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 2:59 PM

who didn't show up at the appointed hour to retrieve their children

-MN

But they did show up at the appointed time, which is the only point I am making.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 02:42 PM

sigh. devils advocate. I excluded my 12 noon pickup from the group of 1 who were late. She was not late as I went on to explain.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:01 PM

The biggest problem I ever had with slumber parties is when the 16-year-old daughter thought her guy friends should be allowed to stay.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:02 PM

devils advocate,
Not with cirque de soleil (sp).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 18, 2007 3:03 PM

OK, both MN and Catlady can come to my dance party.

Red River Valley

From this valley they say you are going
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you are taking the sunshine
That has brightened our path for a while

Come and sit by my side if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
But remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

Won't you think of the valley you're leaving
Oh how lonely, how sad it will be?
Oh think of the fond heart you're breaking
And the grief you are causing to me

As you go to your home by the ocean
May you never forget those sweet hours
That we spent in the Red River Valley
And the love we exchanged mid the flowers

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 3:04 PM

Mais oui, KLB!

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 3:04 PM

For all you moms out there of young daughters trying to make a guest list for the birthday party:

Round about 10, your daughter runs into the dilimma, "But if I invite Jessica, Ashley will refuse to come..."

The guest list gets a little dicey, and within a 2 week period, the enemies and friends can switch places...

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 18, 2007 3:07 PM

OK,

Paganini's "Caprice 24" followed by The Doors "Light my Fire"

My taste in music does run to the eclectic.

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 3:09 PM

Yes, I am proudly being a slacker today! I work hard and need a little time to goof-off every now and again!

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 3:10 PM

Father of 4 is so right that the dynamics of "But if I invite Jessica, Ashley will refuse to come..." are really fluid. I'm afraid my reply would be along the lines of, "That's Ashley's problem."

Posted by: catlady | May 18, 2007 3:10 PM

Since when does watching kids need two days to recover? There is a huge difference between supervising 8 year olds at play and being completely engaged every minute with every single thing they are doing.

So, when do kids sleep during a slumber party? The noise alone will keep most people up.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:12 PM

"So, when do kids sleep during a slumber party? The noise alone will keep most people up."

I think that you answered your own question about why the parents need the two days to recover.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:14 PM

"So, when do kids sleep during a slumber party? The noise alone will keep most people up."

I can still handle all-nighters. ha

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:14 PM

Father of 4 is so right that the dynamics of "But if I invite Jessica, Ashley will refuse to come..." are really fluid. I'm afraid my reply would be along the lines of, "That's Ashley's problem."

Yes but of course you are a reasonable adult whose entire life does not hang in the balance by your guest list! LOL (and rolling my eyes)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 3:15 PM

I can still handle all-nighters. ha

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 03:14 PM

With a little speed, anyone can!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:16 PM

devils advocate,
Not with cirque de soleil (sp).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 18, 2007 03:03 PM

If you don't tell her, I won't either. ;)

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 3:16 PM

We had our Field Day today, so I just got back to my computer. Y'all are FUNNY!!

We put a pool in our yard several years back (and, no, I will NOT tell you where I live) and I wanted a diving board. Well, did you know that you can't get a springy diving board any more? The boys had fun with it anyway, but COME ON! It was in MY FENCED BACK YARD!! Who was going to sue me -- myself?? And I don't invite the hoochie mamas over either. Yes, I'm that insecure ; )

If reading to your child is a sign of an alpha, then I might actually be one. I read to them all the time. I even taught #1 the alphabet using flash cards. I did lighten up when #2 learned his letters from Sesame Street, and would ONLY sit still for Where the Wild Things Are. I did dramatic readings, including roaring, gnashing and rumpusing. He's 18 and I STILL know the stupid thing by heart!!

But, as a teacher, it's important to read to your kids but not so much to teach them to read. There are studies that show that verbal interaction at young ages has a positive effect on learning. Also, while spelling lists may be passe, and their effectiveness is not obvious, there are important reasons to understand spelling rules...

AAUGHHH! What am I DOING!?!? It's Friday!! I'll stop now -- sorry!

Posted by: educmom | May 18, 2007 3:17 PM

That's funny about the boy/girl sleep over. I have known people who let their kids do it and go to those kinds of parties.

Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 3:18 PM


MN, got to take you to task. A pet peeve of mine is when people say 10-12 and really mean 10. My wife is like you, she would think it's rude to show up at 12.00. I think it is juvenile to get snarky when YOU set the parameters and others use that as their guide.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 02:42 PM

pATRICK, wow, considering that you raised this topic by complaining about having to invide one or more kids to your kids' parties, I'm surprised you'd lob "rude", "juvenile" and "snarky" my way in the context of a sleepover (with a bit of rain and mud thrown in) for more than 10 8 year old boys - at our house, no less. In the several years since this occurred, I've thought about it once - today and placed a throw-away comment on an anonymous blog. This mom and I have had more than a few beers together over the years and there's no angst or issue. I didn't think she was capital W wrong - I was merely surprised that she set herself apart by her choice. If we still lived there, her son would be amongst the invited for our son's next party - which will never be another slumber party, LOL.

Posted by: MN | May 18, 2007 3:19 PM

Hey, with all the snarky people that visit this blog, I bet we can get some hilareous Jeff Foxworthy "You just may be a redneck...", but instead "You may be an Alfa Mom..." quotes.

I'll go first...

If your 5 year old daughter has ever given a piano recital...

wearing her soccer uniform over her team swimg suit...

You just may be an Alfa Mom.

(Lame, I know, but I'm sure there's people here that can do much better)

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 18, 2007 3:20 PM

Since when does watching kids need two days to recover? There is a huge difference between supervising 8 year olds at play and being completely engaged every minute with every single thing they are doing.

So, when do kids sleep during a slumber party? The noise alone will keep most people up.

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 03:12 PM

We had 2 slumber parties where the girls did not sleep at all. It was one girl keeping anyone up that she could - seems like there is always one kid.

If you can stay up all night - meaning 36 hours (24 hours plus another 12) - then get up and click your heels the next day - congratulations! I need one more day to recover - thus the 2 day recovery.

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2007 3:20 PM

Limits people, we need to set some limits here when is comes to parties, bed-time, computer/TV time, playing with knives/guns, what have you. I mean who is really running the household here the 7 and 8 year olds?

Posted by: What happened to sanity? | May 18, 2007 3:22 PM

"The biggest problem I ever had with slumber parties is when the 16-year-old daughter thought her guy friends should be allowed to stay."

"But Dad they are just friends." To a girl they are friends, to a 16y r old boy, it is a golden opportunity to get laid. Sometimes I am thankful for being a little wild when I was young. It gives you great insight.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 3:22 PM

MN, you seem a little sensitive. If it seemed snarky, then accept my apologies. You certainly are not on my snarky radar.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 3:25 PM

Don't shoot guns in the house, take it outside.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:25 PM

Since when does watching kids need two days to recover? There is a huge difference between supervising 8 year olds at play and being completely engaged every minute with every single thing they are doing.

So, when do kids sleep during a slumber party? The noise alone will keep most people up.

Posted by: | May 18, 2007 03:12 PM

We had 2 slumber parties where the girls did not sleep at all. It was one girl keeping anyone up that she could - seems like there is always one kid.

If you can stay up all night - meaning 36 hours (24 hours plus another 12) - then get up and click your heels the next day - congratulations! I need one more day to recover - thus the 2 day recovery.

Posted by: cmac

Put something festive in the punch so the little buggers will sleep!

This is an especially funny idea because you KNOW there will be one parent who will call you with, "Wow. How in the world did you get that kid to sleep? I haven't had a full night's sleep in _______!!! What's your secret?"

"Vick's nighttime formula, straight from the bottle, actually."

I wouldn't do it, but boy! I have been tempted in the past.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:30 PM

You may be an ALPHA mom if you actually allow yourself and/ or child to be interviewed for a preschool.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 3:32 PM

A little DRAMAMINE also works!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:34 PM

Hey, MN, just a shout out to let you know I read your post about the 12:00 as just a lighthearted laugh at the fact that the woman with the devil child of course came at the last possible moment. Not sure why everyone's wiggin out on you about that.

Possibly this is after watching one of my friends in law school, who had two girls, do battle with the stepford wives in her town over birthday party weirdness. Her final act of revenge was the going away party for her girls when they moved after school - she did a "make-your-own-sundae" bash with a water balloon fight in the late afternoon, so all the kids went home high on sugar, sticky, dirty and wet right at dinner time. Cruel, but amusing.

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 3:35 PM

Sometimes I am thankful for being a little wild when I was young. It gives you great insight.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 03:22 PM

Or not, it only gives you insight based on the child you were.

Most people view the world through the lense of their own experience. If their experience was significantly different than the child they are thinking about, the motives, reactions and actions that they expect may be totally different.

For example, if the mother of the child above was "wild" when she was young, she maybe thinking the 16 y.o. girl is only looking at it as a way to get laid. When the truth is, these kids are really just friends and the thought of them getting laid would have the on the floor laughing their a$$es off.

Don't know if that made sense, but I am basically trying to say, if you were not trustworthy as a child, you will not expect your child to be trustwothy too.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:36 PM

Megan:
How dare she let the children get dirty, sticky, wet and high on sugar. Don't you know that those things are practically outlawed where I live?

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 3:39 PM

I just saw a video on cnn.com. Are working moms the cause of childhood obesity?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:39 PM

dcdesigner, LOL, they were in her town too!! MWA HA HA HA HA!! Needless to say all the kids had a blast, as did I.

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 3:43 PM

"For example, if the mother of the child above was "wild" when she was young, she maybe thinking the 16 y.o. girl is only looking at it as a way to get laid. When the truth is, these kids are really just friends and the thought of them getting laid would have the on the floor laughing their a$$es off.

Don't know if that made sense, but I am basically trying to say, if you were not trustworthy as a child, you will not expect your child to be trustwothy too."

Only the greatest fool would trust a 16 year old boy to "laugh his A$$ off" at the thought of getting laid. Even "trustworthy" boys have penises and hormones, good luck, you will need it.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 3:44 PM

Only the greatest fool would trust a 16 year old boy to "laugh his A$$ off" at the thought of getting laid. Even "trustworthy" boys have penises and hormones, good luck, you will need it.


Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 03:44 PM

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 3:49 PM

"We had 2 slumber parties where the girls did not sleep at all. It was one girl keeping anyone up that she could - seems like there is always one kid."

I've experienced this as well. But, so what? The girls stayed up, but I went to sleep. We set the rule for the noise limit, and once most of them are asleep, the others just whisper and giggle quietly.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 3:52 PM

With a little speed, anyone can!

Pseudoephedrine - mommy's little helper.

Re: sleepovers - whatever happened to "if you guys don't stop talking I'm going to separate you!" That's what my mom did. We don't have sleepovers yet, so I may well be missing something. co-ed sleepovers - that's what college is for - not in my house.

Posted by: moxiemom | May 18, 2007 3:53 PM

How come all you Alpha Mothers know about these drugs?

Posted by: Drug Question | May 18, 2007 3:55 PM

""For example, if the mother of the child above was "wild" when she was young, she maybe thinking the 16 y.o. girl is only looking at it as a way to get laid. When the truth is, these kids are really just friends and the thought of them getting laid would have the on the floor laughing their a$$es off.

Don't know if that made sense, but I am basically trying to say, if you were not trustworthy as a child, you will not expect your child to be trustwothy too.""

Co-ed sleepovers for teenagers are inappropriate under any circumstances and have nothing to do with whether or not you think your child is trustworthy. Be a parent, not a friend.

Have the co-ed birthday party, send the boys home, and the girls can sleep-over.

Posted by: get real | May 18, 2007 3:55 PM

How come all you Alpha Mothers know about these drugs?

Their favorite is soylent green....

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 3:56 PM

"For example, if the mother of the child above was "wild" when she was young, she maybe thinking the 16 y.o. girl is only looking at it as a way to get laid. When the truth is, these kids are really just friends and the thought of them getting laid would have the on the floor laughing their a$$es off"

So, the daughter and the boy may be just friends, but who knows what kinds of relationships the other boys and girls have. Do you want to be responsible for teen-age sex in your house? You are responsible for what goes in when you are the adult and the teens are still legally minor children.

Posted by: huh? | May 18, 2007 3:58 PM

Be a parent, not a friend.

This is the best advice ever and so simple too.

Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 3:59 PM

Only the greatest fool would trust a 16 year old boy to "laugh his A$$ off" at the thought of getting laid. Even "trustworthy" boys have penises and hormones, good luck, you will need it.


Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 03:44 PM

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 03:49 PM

Oops, hit submit by accident.

And only a fool would think those thoughts are limited to 16 y.o. boys. I won't need any help because coed sleep overs for 16 y.o. will never be attended by my daughter. (I'm not stupid)

My point (which was intended to go beyond the specific situation above) is, just because you thought that way, doesn't mean every boy thinks that way. He may be gay, he may really have is sights on someone else, he may be saving himself for marriage, there are many reasons why getting laid with that girl could be the far from his mind. He might even be a good kid who, while thinking about it, will never act on those thoughts because he respects the parents who have put trust in him.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 3:59 PM

"I didn't think she was capital W wrong - I was merely surprised that she set herself apart by her choice"

So, I guess you would have been Ok with everyone showing up at 12.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 4:02 PM

Just to make the point clearer, co-ed sleepovers for teens are a really stupid idea. I was in no way condoning them or implying that those that allow them are making a responsible decision.

pATRICKs post just made me think about applying one's personal experience to other people.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 18, 2007 4:05 PM

Moxie - that is a good question about control at sleepovers, but you would be surprised - or probably not - about how brazen some girls are. Telling them "that is it" or "you'll be seperated" works for about 15 minutes till someone starts tittering again. I ended up sleeping downstairs with the girls both years and they still would not shut up. I ratted the culprit out to her mother one year and she was mortified, as would I have been. Plus even if the girls are quiet for say - an hour - you still aren't really sleeping - and neither are they. It is exhausting and hard not to lose your temper with a snarky kid at 4 am.

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2007 4:11 PM

"I ratted the culprit out to her mother one year and she was mortified, as would I have been."

Serious here, not snarky. What was it you ratted her out for? Staying awake? Talking? Were they loud?

I fully expect that the kids will stay awake and fight sleep as long as they can. Isn't that the point of a sleepover? As long as they are not loud enough to keep me awake, I don't really care if they are up all night.

Posted by: to cmac | May 18, 2007 4:15 PM

Who really expects party guests to sleep during a "slumber party"? I don't recall ever sleeping. We did have clearly defined noise limits, from the parents. We were allowed to play music until x hour. At mid-night it was lights out and indoor talking voices only. The parents were usually separated from the party goers by a few flights of stairs and the host's Mom usually stuffed her ears with tissue before retiring for the night.

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 4:19 PM

Serious here, not snarky. What was it you ratted her out for? Staying awake? Talking? Were they loud?

I fully expect that the kids will stay awake and fight sleep as long as they can. Isn't that the point of a sleepover? As long as they are not loud enough to keep me awake, I don't really care if they are up all night.

Posted by: to cmac | May 18, 2007 04:15 PM

I ratted them the girl out for being loud and waking the other girls up. Everyone was asleep and I could hear this girl waking the other girls up by jumping on them (at 3-4 am), the other girls were actually telling her to go to sleep. She also turned the TV back on 3 or 4 times after several very stern warnings - one coming from my husband. She is normally a nice kid but was just a monster that night.

The next year it was 2-3 girls giggling and trying to stay awake but not being obnoxious, just 8 year old girls. I did not rat them out.

And yes, I do rat out bad behavior and I expect other parents to do the same. I know most of these parents and I'm not rude about it - just matter of fact "Suzy had a rough night last night and didn't get any sleep. She had a hard time following the rules." That about says it all.

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2007 4:24 PM

Not to beat a dead horse, but the 16yo daughter who wanted her male guest to stay for the slumber party was just doing what she does best, test the limits. This is the perfect opportunity to parent here. A parent sets limits and tells the daughter and the boy that you do not allow co-ed slumber parties or male overnight guests of your daughter. End of story, you cannot control what your daughter "told" her male friend. You cannot be your daughter's friend or enabler. She may say that she hates you, so be it. At least some day, she may grow to respect you.

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 4:26 PM

The parents were usually separated from the party goers by a few flights of stairs and the host's Mom usually stuffed her ears with tissue before retiring for the night.

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 04:19 PM

I remember our slumber parties as the same, but I don't feel comfortable being 2 levels away with tissues in my ears. That's just me.

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2007 4:27 PM

Also, why would any girl want a boy at her slumner party unless she liked him. Likewise for the boys. I am with Patrick on this one. Plus, if they want to do it they will find a way, but why give them the time and place.

Posted by: scarry | May 18, 2007 4:28 PM

'Just to make the point clearer, co-ed sleepovers for teens are a really stupid idea. I was in no way condoning them or implying that those that allow them are making a responsible decision."

But you refuted that by implying that they could be trusted. Can't have it both ways. Part of being an adult is making decisions based ON experience. Once again blindly trusting 16 yr old boys is a bad idea and putting them in positions of opportunity is stupid.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 4:29 PM

DD attended a slumber party where the girls stayed up all night and the parent of the birthday girl did "rat out" a couple of the girls for disrespectul behavior. Staying up all night is fine. Leaving your trash all over the house, smearing birthday cake into the carpet, going into rooms you've been asked to leave alone, being snarky to a younger sibling -- those are grounds for ratting. I agree with cmac. My friend told me the offending girls would not be invited back to her house. I was just astonished that the girls had the moxie to behave that way in the first place.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 18, 2007 4:30 PM

""Suzy had a rough night last night and didn't get any sleep. She had a hard time following the rules." That about says it all."

CMAC, that's some fine parent-speak - I'm impressed. It's so funny how there are all these things we say as parents that we would never say in any other context and which other parents completely understand and/or identify with. I would have had a hard time figuring out how to "rat out" the girl without being a creep. I will have to remember this line for when I need it! The things you learn on a blog...

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 4:35 PM

I agree that disrespectful behavior needs to be dealt with. The house rules should be clear and party guests should be expected to follow them. I suppose that if things got really out of hand, I would resort threatening to calling the offending girls' parents in the middle of the night and asking that they be picked up. Just the thought of being picked up in the middle of the night by a groggy, agitated parent should do the trick in getting the message across that the girls need to tone things down.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 4:37 PM

"My friend told me the offending girls would not be invited back to her house. I was just astonished that the girls had the moxie to behave that way in the first place."

I didn't do anything like that but did see it done at parties. Sometimes friends aren't friends at all. I still remember repainting a wall inside our house because my sister's friends thought it would be funny to write all over it in permanent marker. Thank God we still had the paint. My sister's still nearly hyperventilates at the thought and that was 20 years ago.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 4:39 PM

Does someone always end up crying at teen girl sleepovers anymore?

Posted by: moxiemom | May 18, 2007 4:42 PM

But you refuted that by implying that they could be trusted. Can't have it both ways. Part of being an adult is making decisions based ON experience. Once again blindly trusting 16 yr old boys is a bad idea and putting them in positions of opportunity is stupid.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 04:29 PM

No, pATRICK, I only quoted this part of your post:

"Sometimes I am thankful for being a little wild when I was young. It gives you great insight.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 03:22 PM"

because it was the only part I wanted to comment on. I used the situation we were discussing only as an example. If it came across as condoning the sleepover, my apologies. (I guess I write with the clarity of an engineer)

If I wanted condone coed sleepovers, I would have done it specifically. (and ananymously, I'm not a masochist)

You say blindly trusting 16 y.o. boys is a bad idea, what about 16 y.o. girls?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 4:45 PM

"Not to beat a dead horse, but the 16yo daughter who wanted her male guest to stay for the slumber party was just doing what she does best, test the limits"

Actually, that was my post originally, and it wasn't just a male guest, it was the entire group she hangs out with - about 8 girls and 5 or 6 boys.

BTW, I also don't believe in taking a boyfriend along on family vacation, although many people do this. If they can't handle a week or two separation as teenagers, then maybe there's a problem with the relationship (too controlling?). They are not engaged, they are not married, and they are not adults. Bring along a same sex friend if you want companionship on vacation.

My aunt allowed my cousin's boyfriend to go with them on vacation - separate rooms, etc. Then the boyfriend's family wanted my cousin to go with them. My aunt said no and the boyfriend's family was highly insulted. "We trusted our child with you, why don't you trust your child with us." My aunt felt that she knows her own level of supervision, but can't really be sure how lax others will be, and since she had the girl who would be the one to have a baby if she were to get pregnant, she wouldn't allow her daughter to go.

If she didn't allow boyfriend/girlfriend vacation at all, she would have saved herself a lot of trouble.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 4:45 PM

Light as a feather
Stiff as a board
Light as a feather
Stuff as a board

Bring back any memories?

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 18, 2007 4:47 PM

Teenage coed sleep-overs? Just spend a day with Frieda and see how many truly good kids from good families end up in a "family" way.

BTW, "Mr. Wonderful, I will love you forever" seems to disappear after about 6 weeks.

Posted by: Fred | May 18, 2007 4:50 PM

"Sometimes I am thankful for being a little wild when I was young. It gives you great insight."

If you want to guard against the foxes, who better to know their tricks than another fox? That is thrust of this point

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 4:50 PM

I was the smallest, so I was always 'levitated'.

Posted by: to Vegas Mom | May 18, 2007 4:50 PM

I am typing to you from typo-land.

Light as a feather
Stiff as a board
Light as a feather
Stiff as a board

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 18, 2007 4:51 PM

but maybe they are not all foxes.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 4:51 PM

Off topic alert

Hey, scarry and anyone else away from the DC area. What are your gas prices these days for regular unleaded? Are you city, suburb, or rural?

Howard county, MD is $3.05 - 3.09 today.

Posted by: to scarry | May 18, 2007 4:53 PM

"but maybe they are not all foxes."

Better safe than sorry. It's not like they don't have homes to go to.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 4:54 PM

Sounds great to me.

Just paid $3.17 yesterday in Vegas.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 18, 2007 4:55 PM

Here in Colorado I noticed $3.19 last night driving home.

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 4:56 PM

"Sometimes I am thankful for being a little wild when I was young. It gives you great insight."

If you want to guard against the foxes, who better to know their tricks than another fox? That is thrust of this point

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 04:50 PM

I know, and in this situation you are probably right. ;)

But it also limits you you to your own expeience and actions, and may cause you to under (over) estimate the character of someone.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 5:04 PM

Vegas Mom, looks like we in the West are getting it worse! These are days where I love my little fuel efficient car even more so than before...

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 5:07 PM

"But it also limits you you to your own expeience and actions, and may cause you to under (over) estimate the character of someone."


That is true of course but like all things in life you have only your morals, experience and common sense to guide you.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 5:10 PM

Megan --

I'm a little surprised gas is higher in Colorado. LV has all of one gas pipeline and it comes from CA. That means we get CA gasoline, with all of its mandated additives, extra refining etc. It's the reason CA gas is usually the highest priced in the nation (that and all the extra taxes CA tacks on). Even though LV doesn't mandate all that extra stuff, we have no choice but to take it and pay for it.

I too am glad I have a fuel efficient car. Can't believe all the huge SUVs I see in the parking lot at school. Back when gas prices were really cheap, one of my SUV-driving friends confessed he got about 9 miles to the gallon. Yikes!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 18, 2007 5:17 PM

[Does someone always end up crying at teen girl sleepovers anymore?]


"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, Wah." Actually funny antidote, all of my teen parties ended badly. Usually hearts were broken, friendships destroyed. At my 16th Birthday Party, my best friend confided in me that she slept with my ex-boyfriend while we were still dating.

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 5:17 PM

$3.05/gallon for regular gas today in Pittsburgh, PA.

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | May 18, 2007 5:19 PM

That is true of course but like all things in life you have only your morals, experience and common sense to guide you.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 18, 2007 05:10 PM

True. But you should always be examining your self in an effort to better yourself.

So, if you can realize that, while your experience is real, it is not universal. You can learn to better understand others motives and perceptions and as a result learn to get along with them better.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 5:21 PM

Not sure of the current gas price, I only fil l up about every two weeks. It is nice to have a fuel efficient car and a short commute. Gloat, gloat.

Posted by: dcdesigner | May 18, 2007 5:22 PM

Vegas Mom

Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary
I'm not afraid of
Bloody Mary

How whacked were we? Who else did the Ojuia (sp?) board?

Posted by: moxiemom | May 18, 2007 5:24 PM

Vegas Mom, that is strange, given what you said about LV's supply I would expect it to be higher than here.

It could be that the gas station I noticed was on the high end, or that I misread the sign and was looking at the price for mid-grade. Last time I filled up (sometime last week thanks to previously mentioned effecient car!!) I think I paid $3.23 for the mid-grade (87 octane). But I can't remember.

I am with you on the huge SUVs - my colleague bought one recently and was complaining that it now costs her $40 in gas to drive between Colorado Springs and Denver. It costs me about $10-$12, which I told her with some jokingly exagerated glee, as she has previously given me a lot of grief about driving a small foreign car - including saying that real Americans don't care about mileage. HA! ;)

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 5:27 PM

Ouija = yes-yes (French oui + German ja)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 18, 2007 5:28 PM

I looooove the Oija board! What's with the past tense on that one?

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 5:29 PM

Though I will never admit it to my kids we did the Ojuia board, horribly brutal Truth or Dare (trust me, you wanted to tell the truth rather than take the dare), used the school director to make crank calls to the boys we liked. During Homecoming, we snuck out and teepeed the football players houses. We were very very bad girls. We may have been guilty of trespassing, vandalizm and possible wire-fraud, but at least we weren't out drinking, doing drugs or getting knocked up.

Posted by: anonymous | May 18, 2007 5:30 PM

Megan,

I've heard gas is up to $4/gallon in parts of CA, so we are still doing pretty good by comparison.

CO may have high gas taxes, which always adds a lot to the price of a gallon of gas.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 18, 2007 5:35 PM

"I don't know what kind of mom she was, but I would like to give the Bad Parenting of the Year Award to a mom I saw in a shoe store last weekend. Kid (about 6, not sure exactly) was throwing a large metal coin/token thing into the air and failing to catch it every time. One time, it almost hit a woman sitting nearby. At which point mom said, "I should apologize in advance in case he hits you." "

LOL, you reminded me of one of my all-time favorites.

Grandma to child in sandbox, who is throwing sand at the other children -- "Be careful when you throw that sand."

Posted by: Vegas MOm | May 18, 2007 6:01 PM

$3.05/gallon for regular gas today in Pittsburgh, PA.

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | May 18, 2007 05:19 PM

Yunz goin' dahntahn to get some gas?

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2007 8:12 PM

Chris, hope your wife is okay.

I think I'm a failed alpha mom -and- a failed slacker mom, 21 months into it. I did go to some classes when my son was about 6 months old and tried really hard to take it all very seriously, but I couldn't. It was watching a mother keep her clearly tired 5 month old awake (or try to) for another song to the tune of "Frere Jacques" that did me in.

So then I tried to be really zen about it and drove myself up the wall.

I love my kid and 21 months seems like a really good age, but sometimes I am really bored. But he does need supervision, so I can't just go off and work which is probably what I would do otherwise (I work 20+ hrs a week but that's pretty mommy-tracked.)

So sometimes I think I would like to push him into some weird kindermusic thing just for me, but then I see how happy he is to play in the local park sandbox and I just get out my notebook and fool around for the 5 min of peace before he gets up to go grab some other kid's shovel or try to kill himself going up to the big kid slide... at the bottom.

I do like playdates which are admittedly much more for the parents at this point, and worth a bit of driving for (and my son loves other kids; he just lights up around them... until the toddler toy grab starts, at least). I do think the overscheduling is weird but I don't fundamentally see a problem with playdates for young kids and yes, I have been known to bring a coffee... not Starbucks though; too pricey!

Posted by: Shandra | May 18, 2007 8:48 PM

My thoughts: Alpha Parent-itis never goes away. It just becomes a new disease Helicopter Parent-itis.

When I first read this post, I thought of an article that I saw in the Wall Street Journal last year that talked about Helicopter Parents. Was going to post a comment and then decided against it, BUT THEN today, as I was looking through the Atlanta paper, what did I see? An article on helicopter parents!! So I decided to come back and post. See below for link.

I guess my concern about Alpha parents is that by making all of the decisions for their children and solving all of the problems that their kids have, Alpha parents deny their children the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills and decision-making skills (and many, many other skills as well; we could have a huge conversation about the decrease in creativity in today's kids because of the prevalence of mind-numbing electronic games but I will save that for another day)and we subsequently end up with kids that are underdeveloped according to the standards of past days.

It seems like a great parent would be a combination of a Slacker parent and an Alpha parent.

Click here for Ajc.com article: http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/stories/2007/05/29/0530bizhelicopter.html

I encourage you to take a look. And no, I didn't write the article; and no, I am not related to the person who wrote the article; and no, I don't know the person that wrote the article. I just thought that you and your readers would enjoy reading it.[smile]


***

Boomer parents hover over careers of offspring

By TAMMY JOYNER
Published on: 05/30/07

Shortly after one Emory University student was rejected for an internship at a prestigious Wall Street firm, the student's mother called Emory's career center: Could someone there get the firm to reconsider?

Never mind that the student had missed a sitdown session and canceled a phone interview with the company.

"Her mother got into full swing," said Tariq Shakoor, director of the career center. "She felt we should do more to get her daughter this internship."

A recent Georgia State University breakfast for MBA candidates drew 200 people, including two dozen parents who asked most of the questions, said Diane Fennig, GSU's director of graduate student services at the Robinson College of Business.

"I wouldn't have expected it at the graduate school level, but they're here."

Boy, are they here.

About 1.3 million college graduates will enter the job market this summer as interns or full-time workers. Hovering close by will be Mom and Dad, running interference in job searches and pay-package negotiations, even fighting to salvage job offers that fall through.

Previous generations of college students couldn't wait to cut the parental apron strings with the start of their first job. This crop of new workers is unapologetically tied to their uber-involved parents, known for years in academic circles -- and now in corporate America -- as "helicopter parents."

And the current job market may . . .


(Click on link above to read the rest of the article).

Love your blog. Keep up the great work

Posted by: Jaye Ross | May 30, 2007 1:10 AM

Truth be told, I started out as an "alpha" mom sort of. I read every book there was to try to figure out the whole parenting thing. I was very particular about following a schedule when my son was a baby and did everything I could to try to get him to sleep through the night. Felt a constant guilt that I was making mistakes and was so confused by all of the conflicting advice out there. When my son was 2 years old, I picked up the book "Confessions of a Slacker Mom" and a light when on. I had to learn to stop worrying about what other people though of the decisions I made, stop worrying my son falling because he has a lifetime of scrapes and bruises ahead of him, stop stressing over what he won't eat and be grateful for what he does et, let him dress himself even if he's wearing a batman cape with spiderman hood. I find myself much more relaxed about stuff in general.

Posted by: Melissa | June 7, 2007 6:29 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company