Is it a bird, a plane? No, it’s Yeah Write Me #45! We’ve linked up, so grab your cape and click on over for some good reading.
Ellen- We are Moms, and we have mad Superhero skills: able to wipe noses, check Geometry, and bandage knees in a single bound. We got the capes, we just don’t wear them all the time. They get buried under the day-to-day-ness of our lives.
Erin- But you know what? Even Superman needed to change into a cape and boots and style that little spit-curl on his forehead to signal that he meant business. We decided against comparing ourselves to Wonder Woman here. Who really conquers the world in a bustier with her bum hanging out? Except for Lady Gaga, of course.
Ellen- So not too long ago, Erin found herself smack dab in the middle of a day where her SuperMomma powers were needed and she was most definitely not sporting her cape. In fact, she was not even sporting a shower.
Erin- I was coming into Book Club late because I had been good and gone to Cardio Kettlebell. If I had stopped to take a shower, I would not have been able to grace you all with my presence. But truthfully, what I needed was the Sisterhood’s advice.
I began spilling my story the minute I walked through the door. I was having a problem at Charlie’s (11) school. Charlie got my family’s dyslexia gene, and the plan we had in place for him had gone off the rails. He was deeply unhappy and flailing. I was springing into action mode.
Ellen- The Sisterhood responded immediately with full-on support and advice. The Sisterhood is for real, people—not a gimmick.
Erin- They had great advice (they really are a wise, wonderful bunch). When they finished, I was on my way. I know my school and they know me. I practically have a reserved parking spot out front. I had one foot out the door.
Sisterhood- “Where are you going?”
Erin- “I’m heading over to school.”
Ellen- Remember that Erin had said she had come straight from Cardio Kettlebell?
An unkind Sister might have pointed out that she was one degree south of disgusting. A really unkind Sister might have taken issue with the sweaty ponytail, sweaty workout gear, and grimy sneakers. To put it kindly, she was far from ready to throw on that cape and boots.
Erin- I was Super-Mom-On-A-Mission. I was used to talking to Charlie’s teachers about his needs. This was going to be the first time I spoke with them about how they weren’t meeting them.
Ellen- The Sisterhood barricaded the front door and reminded us all that sometimes our superpowers have to be advertised by our appearances and actions.
The Dos and Don’ts of SuperMommas
DO Make An Appointment. If you need one for your hair or your teeth, you should probably consider making one for discussing important information about your kids. You are stepping out of your usual role. You mean business, and business requires appointments.
DON’T Do a Drive-By, Drop-In, or Aside. This is going to take more than five minutes. Make sure they have time for you.
DO Wear Clothes From Your Former Fancier Life. That pretty shirt, the gorgeous cashmere sweater, even the tailored jacket lingering in the closet can get dusted off for this occasion. They don’t just remind you of the life you used to lead, before you spent your days packing lunches and changing diapers, they signal to everyone else that you STILL have a life and you are darn good at managing it. If you do choose jeans because that is who you are and you are going to keep it real, they better be the ones you would wear to the $45-per-entrée restaurant. But even $98 lululemon yoga pants aren’t right for this occassion.
DON’T Wear Shoes Out of Your Teenager’s Closet. You know what we mean. Uggs, flip-flops, and running shoes are comfy and they have their place, obviously, but not when you are trying to make a point. But never Crocs. Not to be shallow, but your shoes talk. Nothing says power like a heel. And boots are made for talking. As long as they aren’t red vinyl.
DO Cover Up. For the love of Britney Spears, no crack, cleavage, or midriff should be getting prime time.
Also, do not put on anything ripped or distressed or cut-off. We know they are trendy, but unless you live in Beverly Hills, it is likely your principal will think you are a hobo or just finished cleaning out the minivan. And just to emphasize: NO SKIN.
DON’T Ignore Your Hair. Consider pulling out the blowdryer for this occasion. Stick the babies in front of Sesame Street for twenty minutes, find some uncongealed product, and get smoothing. Nothing says I’ve got my SuperMomma groove on like some shiny locks. Let’s face it, ponytail on the top of your head says I’m ready for spin class or to turn the compost pile. It does not say, “Hey, take me seriously.”
And for the love of Gwen Stefani, no pigtails. We know she can rock them, but if you’re over 30, do you really wanna go there anyway?
DO Come Prepared. Bring your papers. You are not crossing the border, but you are entering new territory—respect the boundaries. If you are referencing policy, testing, grades, or plans, bring them with you.
DON’T Pull These Papers Out of an Overstuffed Purse. Receipts, snacks, sippy cups, and McDonald’s spilling everywhere doesn’t really convey that you have your act together.
DO Wear Some Make-Up. Rolling out of bed is fine for carpool line, but the harsh light of the principal’s office might make you look haggard, tired, and out of it. Mascara and lip gloss say, “I mean business.” I took the time, so you should give me yours.
DON’T Take It This Far:
Do Stay Focused. Stick to the problem at hand. Superman has laser beam focus and so should you. Present your problem concisely and calmly. Use notes if you need to and even feel free to print out copies for the teacher or principal. Then you can all be on the same page. Literally.
DON’T Go Off on Tangents. Don’t bring up anything about your other kids, past grievances, or ask if the construction paper has been ordered for the Penguin Craft Party .
DO Bring Your Best, Most Polite Self. Use proper titles even if you use first names often. Why not acknowledge something that has been done well? It does no harm to put someone at ease so that they are receptive to what you have to say. You get nothing by making the teacher look bad, so no name calling—not ever!! Sticks and stones may break your bones, but nastiness will sink your cause. If the words“You need to…” come out of your mouth, you have NOT muzzled your inner Momma Bear.
DON’T Bring Younger Kids or Pets. Young kids make it hard to focus. Have you noticed? And a Chihuahua in a purse (or sticking out of the neck of your jacket)? Well. . . Sorry, we had to clarify, but there is precedence. Did we mention we don’t even live in L.A.?
We realize not everyone needs these rules. If your name ends in “eyonce” or “adonna,” you can do whatever you want or instruct your staff to carry out your wishes. But for the rest of us, we may be SuperMommas, but we live in the real world.
Erin- As usual, The Sisterhood was the calm, cool voice of reason in a dark, sometimes cruel, world. I cleaned up, dusted off, blew out, and suited up. I walked into school with my cape on and came out with a happier kid and a mellower me. Now, I can go back to hiding in plain sight again.
Ellen- We should probably add one more DO: Always, Always, Always listen to your Sisters.
Erin- And never be afraid to show your cape.
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski