Commentary by Diane Johnston
There is something very scary happening next Friday the 13th at a Carmel Clay elementary school. No, it’s not the highly gifted and talented kids being lumped with Average Joe and Mediocre Mary. It’s not someone bringing in a peanut-laced snack. It is a torture being inflicted on moms in our fair city: Muffins with Mom.
Are you kidding me right now? Let’s think about this. Carmel students were on spring break from March 30 to April 8. If you stayed home with your darlings, you’ve had 10 days and 30 meals not (counting snacks) with them. If you’ve traveled, you’ve dealt with the same amount of meals with the added layer of hours upon hours in an enclosed vehicle or layovers at airports.
Trust me, even the moms who cut sandwiches into butterfly shapes and filet carrots into orchids were counting the minutes until that blessed yellow school bus came ‘round the corner at 7:46 a.m. April 9. Yet, somewhere, in some alternate universe, somebody decided that just five days later you want to show up at school and eat a muffin with your kid. Right as rain and sure as hail, this is not the case for any mom.
Let’s think about this. If you’re a stay-at-home mom you never, ever need to pretend this is something you want to do. If you’ve got pre-school-aged kids, you either need to bring them along and pray they don’t have a blow-out or a blow-up or you need to make babysitting arrangements. If you’re a working mom, you either stay at work and find the name of a good therapist for your kid to see later because they didn’t have mommy eating a muffin with them or you make arrangements with your boss to participate in this harebrained activity. Don’t even get me started on single moms.
Please understand, I thought and still think my own darlings were the brightest, sweetest, most precious kids ever. If I wanted to have a muffin at school with them, it would probably be to check on their behavior. But the reality is I could just rely on helpful phone calls for such information. Like the time the PTO president called me and said my first-grader told her daughter that her grandma was fat (grandma wasn’t at school and wasn’t insulted; the comment was based on a grainy picture on a “All About Me” poster). Hey, I can’t help it if my kid calls ‘em as he sees ‘em (by the way, he just turned 25 and I congratulated him on his frontal lobe being fully developed).
The other reason I might want to have a muffin with my kid is to enjoy how they’ve risen to an upper echelon of popularity. If this is the case, your kid probably doesn’t want you anywhere near them because you might say or do something stupid to topple their standing. Like the time I started working at a middle school when two of my kids where in sixth and eighth grade. I was forbidden to look at them, talk to them or their friends, or even be in the same hallway with them.
So, as the official unofficial voice of moms everywhere, stop the madness and put an end to Muffins with Mom immediately. Just throwing this out: How about instituting a Mom-to Mom Mimosa meeting off campus? Now, that’s something to sink your teeth into.
Diane Johnston lives in Carmel and is the mother of three men who all went to Woodbrook Elementary and Clay Middle School. Tom, 25, is a student mentor with AmeriCorps in Kansas City. Peter, 23, is in the Navy. Jack, 21, is a sophomore at Ball State. Diane spent nine years as an instructional assistant /special education at Clay Middle School and is a guest relations associate at IU Health.