The DOs and DON’Ts of SuperMommas

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.

Okay, so maybe she does look like she could kick some booty. We just like ours covered.

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.”

Sisterhood- “NOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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.

All these boots say is, "I have a large stack of dollar bills."

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.

 

 

Stylish: yes. School appropriate for the rest of us: no.

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?

Hello, Stranger. From the looks of you, it's been awhile.

 

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.

No judgement. You could pull this stuff out of Ellen's purse right now.

 

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

With this kind of focus, you could also put in that new skylight.

 

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.?

I swear I'll be good.

 

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.

 


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By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski

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51 Responses to “The DOs and DON’Ts of SuperMommas”

  1. Lisa @ RunWiki
    February 16, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    Such sage advise. I wish I had read this a few weeks ago..I made the dreaded Ugg mistake..ugh! Thanks you sisters

    • The Sisterhood
      February 16, 2012 at 7:24 am #

      You’re welcome!! Any time, Lisa!!

      • The Sisterhood
        February 16, 2012 at 7:50 am #

        And, Mweh, the Uggs aren’t a tragic “mistake.” I wear them all the time (I like warm ankles and they were a gift), but the kids wear them, too. So when I’m teacher conferencing, I try to distance myself from looking like my 13 y/o daughter.
        But, I bet you rocked them out! -Ellen

        • sparkling74
          February 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

          Umm Uggs are ALWAYS a mistake, no matter who is wearing them, but especially when it’s a mother coming to her teenaged child’s school. I wish we could burn all of the Uggs once and for all.

          Now, if only a single one of the parents I’ve ever dealt with at school could have read even ONE of these pieces of advice, I would be amazed. They show up in anything, with anyone, reeking of anything and everything. I am sometimes amazed at what I have had to put up with when talking to a parent!!

          • The Sisterhood
            February 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

            Bless your heart. Everyone should recognize that teachers are worth their weight in gold. Ellen

  2. Mary
    February 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Wearing my superwoman cape right now as I read this…preparing a fabulous Menonite dinner for my evening bookclub, helping Anna decopache her relief map of Peru and cutting out centaurs for Gabe (don’t ask)…all while trying to stay put together since I will be seeing adults tonight. Plus I got an email to sign up for Kindergarten conference – will definitely have my cape on for that!

    Another great article Sisterhood!!

    Got to vacuum:)

    • The Sisterhood
      February 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks, Mary!! You are the original Wonder Woman!! Love that you are preparing a Mennonite dinner. I don’t even have to ask—that is so you! Rock on!–Erin

  3. Paige
    February 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Great advice. Coming from a former teacher turned sat at home mom, I appreciate it for more than one reason!

    • The Sisterhood
      February 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

      I was a teacher back in the day too, so I can always put that hat back on and remember what it was like to be on the other side. Thanks!-Erin

  4. Fey1
    February 17, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    Thanks for the several parental tips you share with us… I agree with you thoughts that we must only offer those value things to our children’s…
    Fey1 recently posted..Odd SportsMy Profile

  5. Katie
    February 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    I’m glad you didn’t just walk in the school. It would of made things way worse and the teacher would hate you! I know I would (I am a teacher). It’s a love hate relationship with those parents with the “reserved parking spots.”

    • The Sisterhood
      February 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

      But the Lady Gaga make-up would have been entertaining, right?

  6. Ado
    February 21, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Yes but is it okay to wear my Wonder Woman costume? (-:
    PS: What the h. is cardio kettleball – have I missed this new trend? Does it involve eating kettle corn?
    Ado recently posted..The Incredible Randomness of BeingMy Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

      If you can rock that, then I say forget all of the rules because you don’t need us. ;) And if only cardio kettlebell involved kettle corn. It involves much lunging, much squatting, and much hopping around while swinging a ball-shaped weight with a handle on it. This leads to much sweating and a partial inability to walk the next day. Or raise your arm to brush your teeth. Didn’t I just sell that as something you absolutely must try?

  7. Jackie
    February 21, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Putting this info in the mental rolodex for when my girls get a little older!

  8. Kerstin
    February 21, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    Great advice! It’s always best to come prepared and stay calm. As hard as it may be, it’ll only benefit you and your kids in the end!
    Kerstin recently posted..Memories and SurprisesMy Profile

  9. Lenore Diane
    February 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Wear clothes from your ‘former fancier life’. That is hilarious! I work from home now, so my attire is minimal at best. I heard myself say to my son this morning, “Joe, you shouldn’t wear those pants to school today, there is a hole starting in the knee.” (It was a small hole – not yet fully developed.) He scoffed, and I didn’t want to follow-through on my mention, so I let it go.

    As I am in the car, taking the boys to school, I realize I am wearing jeans with holes (not purchased holes… holes handmade by wearing the jeans for years). Hmmm…. I wonder where Joe gets his tolerance for holes.

    Thanks for the tips. I’ll certainly keep them in mind. You gals do great work!
    Lenore Diane recently posted..Is it live or is it Memorex?My Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 21, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

      Thanks. And you know what? I wore scrubs in my former life, so not much of an improvement over yoga pants, huh? Just one step up from jammies, really.
      And people pay good money for those holes in their jeans. Pat yourself on the back for being a cultivator and a trendsetter! Ellen

  10. Jennifer
    February 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    Great advice! Sometimes I come with a clipboard, too, with notes so no one can distract me from my SuperMama mission. :-)
    Jennifer recently posted..These Small MomentsMy Profile

  11. Runnermom-jen
    February 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    Yes! Yes!! Wonderful advice!! I try to avoid mom-frumpiness at all costs…especially when being seen in public ;)
    Your sisters are very smart women!
    Runnermom-jen recently posted..On Being High Maintenance…My Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 21, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

      Our Sisters keep us real. Sometimes too real. We have a lot of honesty swirling around us. A lot. Ellen

  12. Kim Pugliano
    February 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    (mad face) I guess I’ll go wash my face and take the dog out of my purse now.

    Excellent advice ladies.
    Kim Pugliano recently posted..Comment on He got Cold Feet by Runnermom-jenMy Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 21, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

      But are you keeping on the red vinyl boots? Ellen

  13. Laura@Catharsis
    February 21, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    As a teacher and a mom, I have to say I agree with the DOs and DON’TS here. Way to go, Supermoms.
    Laura@Catharsis recently posted..All deaths are tragic. Key word? ALL.My Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      Thank you. It means a lot coming from someone on both sides of the fence. Ellen

  14. Anna
    February 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Oh, I really loved this one! That is some sisterly love to keep you from running off to the school. Really good advice because in the heat of the moment or when you have everything going through your head and just want to get it out, it’s so easy to jump in the car looking a mess, totally unprepared and then wonder why they ask you to make an appointment and come back later – LOL! Maybe that’s just me…..great post and awesome advice. Always listen to your sisters :)
    Anna recently posted..Stay Present, This Will All PassMy Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

      If we don’t listen to our sisters, they remind us of what happens when we don’t. ; )

  15. Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy
    February 21, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    SO wise! I especially love the “Make the Appointment” Do. I’m a college admissions counselor, and I can tell you just how much we love when parents make appointments to discuss their children.

    • The Sisterhood
      February 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

      Thank you. No one really likes a drive-by. Time is a valuable commodity.

  16. Jamie
    February 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Great advice. In my other life I was a high school teacher and I could tell the difference in Mom’s that meant business and those that were just doing face time. I respected the first more – and her child.
    Jamie recently posted..your memories with my memories {a giveaway!}My Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 22, 2012 at 7:38 am #

      Thanks. I had another life in education as well and Ellen was in medicine. Both are professions that have very low tolerance for silly time-wasters. I think it informed both of our parenting styles a bit.Erin

  17. Eric Storch
    February 22, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Not to belittle the Sisterhood, but all that advice seemed Common Sense to me.

    And before you all start screaming, “Eww! A man! Who let him in here?!” – I’m a card carrying member of Supra Dads Are Go! Dads who are in this group fill the same role as a SuperMomma because mom is the one out earning the bacon.

    So there. Nyah!
    Eric Storch recently posted..It’s Time to Stand and StareMy Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

      One of our first Twitter followers is a stay-at-home Dad, so we are cool like that. No Nyah necessary. But I’m just saying, we wouldn’t have written some of these points, if we hadn’t seen them happen with our own eyes. There are a lot of things in this world that are common sense, but somehow, still seem to be missed.
      And while we are on the subject, let’s just say it takes a man a tenth of the time to look professional as it does for a woman because society is just kind of nasty like that. Ellen

  18. Iris
    February 22, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Oh snap – this is solid gold. You know what I like most about it? It’s funny AND informative! As opposed to all the hullaballoo all over the Interwebz last week about “Dirty Moms” where moms were tearing each other apart, your approach is a loving, kind, gentle reminder on why we should put a little effort into our appearance, particularly before an import meeting. I’m just like Erin…I would have charged over to that school with my stinky you- know-what on a mission, at my own peril. Thank you for this valuable PSA! I love it!
    Iris recently posted..My First Mardi GrasMy Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      Ha! As long as you don’t go into school like that. It’s just posted on the blogosphere. No biggie. :) I am going to have to be honest, because that is what the Internet is for, right? We did not know that controversy was raging. We just happened to be timely. And mainly because Erin needed an intervention. :) Thanks for working out, Erin.
      We are very anti-mom bashing at the Sisterhood. I got up late this morning and was in a cold sweat because I drove my youngest to the end of the driveway (it’s long) in my PJ pants. I was praying that THIS would not be the one day in 5 years that I would have to get out of the car.
      Found a calm blog post on the “Dirty Mom” debate. http://www.curvygirlguide.com/parenting/why-im-not-a-dirty-mom/ Ellen

  19. sara
    February 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    I love this! I couldn’t agree more, if you want to be taken seriously you need to look like you’re serious, and appointment really do make getting someones full attention so much easier…not to say that in an emergency piles of Fabreeze, hairspray, and perfume can’t work miracles though lol :)

    • The Sisterhood
      February 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

      Yes, we have been known to cut corners in a pinch. ;)

  20. Kimberly S. (Sperk*)
    February 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    Sound advice. Key for me is that the time it takes to find a clean pair of trousers and blouse, dry my hair, clean out my purse, etc. is time used to calm, calm, calm, down and rehearse the speech. Or the opening statement. Or the question. Or the concern.
    Kimberly S. (Sperk*) recently posted..The Itsy-Bitsy SpiderMy Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

      You got it, as you always do! Pulling yourself physically together, gives you time to pull yourself together mentally. Ellen

  21. Meg O'Keefe
    February 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    Superhero capes should comes with seat belts, airbags, and power shields to keep us from running into things while going full speed and seeing stars! Great advice –
    Meg O’Keefe recently posted..Cha-Cha-Cha, Changes!My Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 22, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

      Ha! I COULD really use an airbag, too. Add that to the list. Ellen

  22. Kathy @ Little Cheesehead on the Prairie
    February 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    Oh, I remember those days. Now that my son is grown up, I can look back on those days with amusement (and a little relief, too).
    Kathy @ Little Cheesehead on the Prairie recently posted..A Post About My KidMy Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

      Our blog is helping me find the humor in it all now. It’s been good for me. Ellen

  23. Mayor Gia
    February 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Hahaha good advice. But really, I can’t bring a cat? Cuz, that doesn’t seem fair… :P
    Mayor Gia recently posted..Photographs: A Modern History of GiaMy Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

      Ha! I did see someone bring a ferret once. Probably bad to have the cat and the ferret there on the same day. :) Ellen

  24. Alison@Mama Wants This
    February 22, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    AWESOME advice!
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..A Wordless Post As The Keyboard Is SkrewedMy Profile

  25. Kelley
    February 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    This was great! I love how you just tell us like it is! These were great points. So glad you linked it up with us over at #findingthefunny! :)
    Kelley recently posted..The (5-second) Chuck E. Cheese QuizMy Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      February 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      Thank you! I’m glad we linked up, too. Because if there is anything that I need more of in this day, it’s the funny. Ellen

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