Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pajamas are NOT the new black, damnit!!

DISCLAIMER: I am by NO means a perfect mother. I do not believe there is such a thing. I am, however, a mother who tries to give my kids what they need from me. Am I always successful? No. Do I keep trying? Yes.

Ever since The Geej started first grade at her new school, one of the things that has fascinated me is checking out the other parents. Are they younger than me? Older? What kind of jobs does it look like they have? White collar? Blue collar? Stay-at-home parent? How many kids do they have? Does the mother usually bring the child to school, or the father? What do they drive? Do they speak English? Etc. I do this not in a judgemental way, but more of a where-do-I-fit-in-to-this-spectrum kind of a way because this whole AISD public school thing is still new to me.

From my casually interested observations, I have surmised that, as I suspected, our elementary school is a mixed bag. It's about 45% Hispanic, 35% Caucasian, and 20% African American. The socio-economic norm is solidly middle class, with about 10% falling below that classification and another 10% falling slightly above it. The parents are mostly younger than me: in their late 20s to late 30s, and it is the overwhelmingly the moms who bring their children to school.

But no matter what our demographics, we all have to get our progeny to school before the dreaded "second bell" that rings at 7:40am or else they will be counted--GASP--tardy. It is preferable to have them in the cafetorium (GOD, I love that word) for morning assembly at least a bit ahead of that time however, so I always shoot for us to arrive between 7:30 and 7:35am. 90% of the time, I park, get out, and walk The Geej in. This is our preferred method of arriving at school. There are some mornings though when dropping her at the sidewalk (next to the 5th grader "Safety Patrol" kids who open car doors and sort of help direct traffic) is what makes more sense, either because we've caught more red lights than ususal on the way to school or because she's asked to ride to school with the convertible's top down.

Now, let me admit that this whole getting-to-school-at-the-asscrack-of-dawn thing was one of my BIGGEST concerns with the Geej's starting first grade. Why? Well, anyone who knows me knows that I am not (nor have I ever remotely been) a morning person. At all. Never ever. I mean, getting us to school by 8:50am used to be a big challenge for me while she was at Montessori, so you can understand why the mere idea of having to be at school well before the 7:40am tardy bell sort of freaked me out. Amazingly, it has been a rather pain-free adjustment, and no one is more surprised than me. I'm not going to lie and say I wouldn't LOVE to have at least 3 more hours of sleep every morning, because I sure as Hell would. But--aside from a few very close calls--we've not been tardy this school year. Not even once. And the added bonus for me is that a) I usually beat the worst of the rush hour traffic on my way to work, b) I always find a parking place in our crowded parking garage, and c) I've got about an hour of pure silence at work before all of the stragglers start showing up around 9:00am. So, yay!! Adjustment made. Life is good.

Which may begin to explain why the following drives me so damn crazy:

There is this woman--she appears to be in her early- to mid-thirties--who is the (I think, single) mother of a young girl at The Geej's school. This little girl is probably in kindergarten, first grade at the most. They literally live across the street from the school. Their front door is probably 50 yards from the door to the goddamned cafetorium, and yet... And yet this mother is always trudging across the street well after the tardy bell, dragging her daughter behind her, frustrated and saying, "Hurry! We're late!".

This mother wears pajamas and house shoes to walk her daughter in to the school. This mother does not wear a bra. This mother has substantial tah-tahs that could REALLY use a bra. And whenever I see this, it PISSES ME OFF in a highly irrational way.

Maybe (and probably) some of the being chronically late is the daughter's fault. She's hard to wake up. Or she screws around and plays with her Lucky Charms instead of eathing them. She is, after all, only five or six years old. But as her mother, this woman KNOWS that each morning will present these issues, but she still can't be bothered to get up, I don't know, maybe 15 or 20 minutes earlier than she currently does in order to create some "contingency time" and perhaps even put on some actual clothes and some appropriate undergarments and get her daughter to school on time?! You know, act like she actually gives a shit and try to set some sort of an example for her daughter instead of utterly phoning it in and doing what appears to be the bare minimum? (After all, her "commute" to school takes all of 3 minutes--and that's including hugging and kissing good-bye time.)

I'm telling you, this bothers me waaaaaaaaaaaay more than it should. Feel free to bash me for being a self-righteous twat, but I can't help but think that if I, the most non-morning person/sleep-loving individual you will ever meet in your entire lifetime can manage to consistently squeak in before the tardy bell (all while wearing Actual Clothes), really, anyone can.


Marti said...

I, admittedly, often drop my daughter off at school in my PJ's...or workout clothes. But, I never get out of the car to do it so no one else has to see. It is kind of embarrassing, but not enough to make me stop doing it.

Karla May said...

Marti, I do lots of stuff (mostly involving drive-thrus) in my PJs if I know I'm not going to have to get out of the car. What you do and I do is way different from what this mom is doing, IMHO. And like I said, I know that getting my panties in a wad about this is totally irrational. But still...

Anonymous said...

I was so appalled by a mother I used to see picking up her child in bike shorts and a sport bra. At the grade school, inside the school! Maybe I was just jealous of how fit she looked, but I think it was that it is completely inappropriate to be half naked at school.

Carol in SATX

Garreth Wilcock said...

Ha! I think it's natural to compare yourself with the other moms. We compare everything. Why is at all important that my son's head size is in the 85th percentile and his height in the 75th? It doesn't matter at all, unless I plan to squeeze his head and stretch him for the next measurements. So I guess it's good that there are always some really really bad parents at school. It makes it easier not to change the way we behave. And I'm totally projecting at this point.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes wear my underwear backwards for personal reasons, but I do this discretely and the other parents never know.