Survival tips for rubbing elbows with PPs (perfect parents)?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SuZir, May 15, 2013.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Let's start with brag-part: easy child got himself chosen to continue in national junior program. Very happy for him! :proudmom:

    Then the actual point of this post: But because things are never that simple, we also got invitation for parent meeting because of that. We have been through this route already with difficult child and those meetings are not my fondest memories from that road. I'm not expecting to be any more fond with them with easy child. Even if we forget all the philosophical peeves I have (I'm not fond of patronising, chauvinistic attitudes), they are not only mindbogglingly boring events, but tend to bring worst out of people and they certainly do make me feel uncomfortable.

    Okay, I'm first to admit that my attitude may well be a reason I despise them so. Most likely other parents are perfectly nice, ordinary people and maybe even just as uncomfortable there as I am. But that thought doesn't help much when squirming on my seat there. Unfortunately not going isn't really an option. It would be considered a mark against easy child (and of course also difficult child) if they didn't have 'strong and involved' family background. Skipping these things would be considered a sign of not being involved. So I could use some tips to amuse myself when Perfect Parents(tm) make my blood pressure sky rocket.

    And then to the long, prolix whine part: One reason for these meetings are of course the practical matters. We are letting our under-age sons travel even around the world with these people. Practical issues are not the small thing. Other reason, related to that, is for us to learn to know the staff. As I said, we let them be in big part on our kids life. When there is of course trying to make us buy their ideology and ideas about our sons' future. And then there is for us to get to know each other.

    During these meetings, they often separate moms and dads (what did I say about chauvinistic...) and especially for moms it is awfully sugarcoated. They talk a lot what fine young men our boys are and what a pleasure it is to work with them and yadda, yadda. With difficult child that was always very uncomfortable and they always made sure they didn't look to me or two other moms with 'livelier' (their euphemisms) sons. Because of those two other moms and our 'loser mom team' these meetings weren't that horrible with difficult child. We were able to amuse ourselves and make fun of the mysterious, contagious disease we seemed to have that kept other parents far away from us and our loser table/row.

    And loser table we had. For some inscrutable reason parents always choose tables according their son's success. There are table for star players' parents, then for second tier and then for the bottom part. And then for us, there was this loser parent table. And it seemed that parents from second and bottom tier tables were expected to look up the star table. Like somehow our sons, and even our, worth would be defined by how fast they run or how accurately they kick. Totally weird, but still it is like that. People in the 'Star table' speak louder and people in the 'Bottom table' are quiet and listen and secretly glance to 'Star table.' And it always felt like we in the 'Loser table' were expected to hung our heads in shame.

    One problem with this meeting now will be that I don't know which table I belong. With difficult child we were always firmly in the loser table, but I'm not even sure if it exists for this age group. With our old 'Loser table' group we would have belonged to 'Star table' if our kids had not been 'lively.' In fact, had our sons not been in the best third of the team to beginning, they would had been cut because of their character issues. With easy child it is different. When difficult child got chosen despite his character issues, easy child is partly chosen because of his character. He is one of those kids, for whom they have six equally good kids and two places left and they choose the kid who is a great team player and valuable to the team even if not playing or playing only little. So I guess we should go to 'Bottom table', but usually if you have had one 'Star table' kid, you are permanent member of 'Star table' even if your younger kid is not quite the same calibre. Of course mostly I would like to sit on the floor and make a one woman protest against the whole silly thing.

    Other thing is that constant bragging. For some reason a son running faster and kicking better than other kids in their town seem to make total braggarts out of people. And make people think that their excellent parenting is the reason for their kid's success. And while my easy child is certainly brag worthy this is a small world and everyone knows about my not so brag worthy oldest son. It is incredibly uncomfortable to just listen and smile and nod.

    So I would like to arm myself with lots of wise or hilarious ways to amuse myself while suffering through this event and hopefully others similar in future (yeah, hopefully, because that would mean easy child continues to make a cut.)

    During our Loser Mom Club times we had games we played similar to Bulls*** Bingo, but that is not at all as fun alone.
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well... I can tell you which table to sit at, because it's always the best way to go.
    Start at the "loser" table.
    Other parents will gladly drag you to a "higher" table if they feel you belong with them... and it always looks better to move "up" than "down".
    It's an approach I use in every group setting where I'm not "assigned" somewhere... go be inobtrusive and if others feel you are more important, they WILL come get you.
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sit wherever the window is so you can daydream. Or sit at a different table every meeting.
  4. nerfherder

    nerfherder Active Member

    I lean towards the Loser Table myself, just because it's going to be more fun. First the moms are more willing to laugh for the right reasons, second because you get to help break down barriers - if someone asks why you're not sitting with the higher tiers, you can honestly say "Those moms are a lot more experienced in compassion and more fun to be with anyway." There's probably a way to word it so you're ****ing with faint praise, if that's your preference. :)
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Laugh at them.

    I don't mean out loud, in an obvious or obnoxious way, but inside. Moms like that, who think they're superior because their children have achieved something without having hardship attached, remind me of the most popular children in Gr. 8, which is our last year of middle school before high school begins. They are very big fish in very small ponds and often think they know everything, and that their popularity will last forever.

    Theirs is the smugness born of ignorance, of having no idea. It's amusing to see and hear them go on, so laugh at them.

    Also, the Superiors expect the Losers to be humble and grovelling. Laughing at them has shock value. If you want to shake up the party without doing anything at all, sit with the Losers and act as though you find the Superiors and their attitude amusing. If possible, get the other Losers to play along with you. Then you will all see who are the real Losers and who are the true Winners at the event.

    (I love playing with people's minds. Gently, never in a hurtful way, but stirring things up. It helps that I'm petite and have a "butter wouldn't melt in my mouth" air. If you can pull that off, you'll be fine!)

    And, busywend's idea of sitting near a window so you can daydream is a good one as well.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I sit anywhere I darn well please............unless assigned a seat............and even then am inclined to sit where I please.

    It's not my job to impress anyone. I could care less whether I impress anyone. Know what I mean??

    I hate such things because I hate large gatherings of people usually anyway. BUT I will find ways to amuse myself..........and usually that is sitting with the most pleasant folks.........and usually they are not sitting at the high up table. I ditto the window seat. That way if the whole thing is an absolute bore, you can at least gaze out the window and daydream. :)
  7. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Sit wherever the heck you want. lol, me, I'de be with the most friendly and personable, down to earth people, and if there weren't anyone like that, I'de take out my nook and read. Or if that would be offensive to your son, i'de people watch. They can be pretty amusing!!!!!
  8. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Having attended many a cheer mom meeting (GAG ME) I can say it doesn't really matter where you sit. Half the people who think their kids are super kids would be amazed to hear what the coaches though about them. Those kids are often as pompous as their parents. The parents in the other tiers usually have the better player or better team player but they chose not to upgrade themselves based off of their kids abilities.

    On the other hand having run the booster club and several other non profit type things I can say that there is a general consensus that the person in charge is snooty or a know it all. in my humble opinion that isn't always true. I spend more time trying to help the disadvantaged kids (financial, mental, athletic) and their parents because none of the PP needed me to support them. Sometimes you just have more experience or come from a different background and get judged for it.

    IE: I work in a professional setting and wear dress clothes but live in a small farming (backwoods) country county. Because I wore work clothes to the meetings and didn't own a farm animal they thought I was snooty.

    All that changed when I got the thrill of helping at the County Fair cleaning toilets during the night and picking up used condoms and beer bottles in the parking area. They figured out real quick that I was more than willing to get my hands dirty (with rubber gloves on) and do whatever it took for the kids to raise funds even though we could have paid the fees and never volunteered at all.

    On the other hand you have parents who can't see beyond their own nose and or don't show up for anything so they never change their opinions. Honestly why would you care about them? LOL
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I prefer tables, bleacher areas, classrooms and just socializing with "losers" aka normal parents who understand the ups and downs of parenting each child and that who have learned, from however they have, that it is hurtful to other parents to brag nonstop about your amazing child. The losers to me are the ones who are doing the mean-spirited bragging. And if they have an inkling that your child struggles, it IS mean-spirited.

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, Losers :) :) :)
  10. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    If there will be a Loser Table I will be more than happy to stay there (and not move.) With difficult child's agegroup we certainly had most fun in Loser Table, well in cynical, disdaining way at least. But I'm not sure if there is a loser table with easy child's age group. What I know, there is two 'officially lively' (read: have been in trouble during camps or tournaments or in serious trouble in their club teams) boys. Another one is a bit of fringe player to this program and has been cut (he is likely the one whose cutting gave a spot to easy child) and according rumours other one doesn't have 'strong and involved' family. I don't know if he really is from more than averagely dysfunctional family or if his parents have just decided that they don't feel driving few hundred miles just so they can be looked down the nose at. But anyway they apparently don't usually come.

    Too obvious daydreaming would look either 'uninvolved' or snooty and I don't want to appear especially latter one. I'm often little quiet first and more of an observer and I'm also tall and I have to be careful not to appear snooty or haughty (I don't know what the heck being tall has to do with anything, but it is reason people have given me when they have told they were surprised I was nice and not snooty like they first thought when they saw me. Apparently they think I'm looking down on them or something.)

    Our boys are already at the level there their talent is more or less officially evaluated and boys already have professional agents so everyone actually knows quite well there their son currently is. Of course they are still young and things change quickly. And of course there is some truth that these different tiers tend to lead very different careers and next few years in sport so I do get that especially parents of the stars feel the need to get to know other families in same situation. My difficult child's issues do keep him back, but even with him, he is living very strange and different live compared to kids of our friends. If he had less issues and would had been able to capitalise his talent better, he could be living in incredibly strange world by now. I have to say that only people I know who also deal with those issues sport causes are the ones I got to know in those very boring meetings. So I do see also a point of these meetings. But I don't have to like going to them ;)
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sorry, sweetie... it goes with the territory (of being tall). I'm NOT. But... I come from a long line of giants, and... yes, people tend to think that.
  12. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Bring your own chair?
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Which table is closest to the bar? Sounds like a starting observation. LOL DDD
  14. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    DDD: I just knew I could count on your wisdom when it comes to questions of tact and proper behaviour :bow: Now I just have to check they actually have a bar...

    Bringing my own chair wouldn't likely go over well. But I of course could create a loser table by myself. But of course that too would appear snooty. :bigsmile:

    Really I honestly believe that most of the parents there are just ordinary, nice folk. It's just a situation that makes us behave weirdly.
  15. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    IC is right. For some reason, being tall seems to come with the baggage of people assuming that you're looking down on them because you have to look down AT them to see them.

    I am also a munchkin in the land of the giants, and I find that my size allows me to get away with outrageous behaviour (considered "cute" or "sassy" when you're a half-pint) that would be considered downright aggressive if I were taller.

    Hope that you're able to find some like-minded moms and have a good time despite the awkward setup.
  16. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    DDD, as always, you are brilliant. Close to the bar would also smooth out any initial awkwardness (although it might lead to more awkwardness later if you're too close)
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    For some reason this all sounds like some of our family reunions. I was often the outcast because of my parents' choices. They were educated beyond high school or a bachelor's degree. Even though about 1/3 of the family is teachers, my folks stood out as different because they did not have our lives revolving around sports. Our lives revolved around books instead. Then my parents moved to OK and that is apparently a HUGE sin. So after that, if I was even told about the reunion AND invited/allowed to come, it was made clear that I was 'less than'. Big fun happy family, Know what I mean?? I hung out with those I enjoyed, period. A few peers, the kids, and often the catering staff (when the reunion is over 150 people, pot luck doesn't work so well - many of the 'well off' relatives bring all five or more kids and NO dish because of course they were special their presence was enough of a blessing - gag).

    My advice? Load a book onto your phone or kindle (my phone can hold a book or two, though the small screen makes it something I only do in situation where a kindle would be obtrusive) and read through the boring/obnoxious bits. Or put an audiobook on your mp3 player and buy headphones that blend with your hair.

    If no bar is available, bring a 'water' bottle. Of vodka. NOT to drink all yourself - share it with the other loser moms and then spend your time stirring up trouble. It is a LOT more fun than paying attention to whether you are at teh loser table or not. When overly annoyed, hold your index finger and thumb in front of your eye in a pincer grip. Aim it so that the obnoxious person is between the thumb and finger and imagine yourself squishing his/her head. juvenile, but it can be amusing, esp if other unpopular moms notice and realize what you are doing. It has helped me through many parent meetings for soccer, school, etc.... ANd other meetings.

    No one is perfect and those parents who have 'stars' for kids and are all puffed up about it are the sad ones, in my opinion. They have so very little self worth that they determine their value by their child's accomplishments. It is fine, good and appropriate to be proud of your child. To let your child's accomplishments determine your self worth is pitiful. Simply being a parent does not mean that you deserve the credit for your child's accomplishments, and sadly those parents who do place such weight on what their child does often alienates the child and makes the child treat them with great disdain. Remembering this can help you get through those long and booooorrrring meetings.
  18. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    LOL I love the "water" bottle idea. We have a liquor store here in town that serves alcholic slushies through their drive thru LMAO. They are kind of like margaritas but in different flavors. I can't tell you how many parents I know who get a large McDonalds iced tea cup and pour the slushie in it. It looks inoccent and the styrofoam keeps the slushie cold.
  19. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Um...alcoholic slushies?:surprise:
    DRIVE Thru??!!:scared: