School of Hard Knocks


karrie
#1
Filed under: Columnists -> What's the Matter With Mommy?
Kelley the WonderMom’s School of Hard Knocks

By Kelley Cunningham

Most of us went through Lamaze or some such class to prepare us for the miracle of birth. Dontcha think it would be more useful to have classes that prepared us for the real pangs of raising children? I think I’m going to start my own school. There’s a need for this! I’ll start by offering the following classes, taught by seasoned mothers with years of experience.

Lassie Go Home
It’s just a matter of time before your children relentlessly hound you (pardon the pun) for a dog. This class will help you say “no” and stick to your guns! We have special negative-reinforcement techniques, including our patented Horror on a Loop® Power Point presentation showing such pleasantries as dog hair on the couch, dingleberries on the rug and dog bombs in the yard. During our special A Clockwork Orange unit you will, among other things, be forced to hold a dog on a leash for an hour while freezing water is poured down on you. We make use of role-playing in which we pair off, each of us taking turns acting as the mom and the kid. You’ll be amazed at how this hones your strength as the mom and gets you up to speed with the ways the kids will try to break you down. After graduation, we offer a 24/7 helpline to call in case you start to cave. And at no extra charge, we will send someone over to slap you until you have regained your senses.

Will This Ever End?
If you’ve ever had to sit through an endless T-ball game, a tedious children’s birthday party or, God forbid, Cub Scout Pack Night, you know the word that best describes these experiences can only be “excruciating.” That said, we all know there’s no way to avoid these events, and there has to be a better way to deal with them besides sneaking in a hip flask full of Bailey’s. We’ll show you it’s all about going to your happy place and tuning out, but not tuning out so much that you miss the announcement of where to pick up the pinewood derby car kits or what time the team picture will be taken. It’s about walking that Zen middle path or whatever it’s called, and we will show you the way through the use of meditation, mantras and positive imagery. Closing your eyes and visualizing the event ending while chanting the name of your favorite birth control pill is just one method you’ll learn. The tuition includes a field trip to Chuck E. Cheese where you can practice your new self-calming skills in a (sur)real world environment.

Hello, Dolly!
Have you ever wished you could clone yourself because you have to be in two or three places at once? Does this sound like your average evening: karate for your youngest, a band concert for your oldest and a science report on barnacles due in the morning that your middle child just remembered now? What to do? It’s all about prioritizing, and it CAN be done! Learn ways to show up at the end of the concert…they’ll never know you weren’t there for the entire show! Bring the laptop to karate and, thanks to the questionable but plentiful research available online, you can knock out that report in the time it takes for your kid to practice his roundhouse kicks. You’ll learn how to shift gears, multitask, lie and cheat shamelessly…basically all the skills you need to raise children.

Life in the Slow Lane
Few of us can avoid taking road trips with our kids. But the pain CAN be minimized! In this class we’ll cover the needs of children of all ages. Starting with infants, we’ll discuss the delicate timing of your departure around nap time and learn the art of crawling into the back seat to comfort a screaming infant without stepping on the driver’s crotch. You’ll learn how to pull over to the shoulder and get the toddler onto the travel potty chair without waking up the newborn. When it comes to traveling with older kids, we’ll show you how to save money and forget about buying those dumb Klutz books … no kid has ever been interested in tic-tac-toe or license plate bingo for more than 1.5 miles, no matter how well-designed the laminated game board is. Learn how to reach back to swat at squabbling sibs with one hand while never taking your eyes off the road. We’ll teach you how to avoid TMJ (external - login to view) even though you have been unconsciously grinding your teeth for the entire length of the Ohio Turnpike. And finally, you will practice methods to help you decompress once you finally get to your destination so you can hurry up and relax.

Shifting Your Moral Compass the EZ Way!
Remember all those things you swore you’d never do when YOU had children? Of course you’re doing all of them now and then some, and perhaps you’re having trouble justifying yourself to yourself. You may call it selling out, copping out or taking the easy way out, but that’s not helping the situation. WE at the School of Hard Knocks call it reality and we’ll help you learn to stop flogging yourself because you let your toddler eat a brownie loaded with trans-fats and asked your three-year-old to fetch you a beer.

Raising Boys: Getting Them to Talk
Are you tired of hearing, the night before the school play on the food pyramid, that your son needs a cherry tomato costume? Are you tired of asking how his day was and hearing nothing but crickets chirping and the distant sound of mocking laughter? Are you tired of looking like the Loser Mom because you were the only one who didn’t know about the field trip to the salt mine that’s happening tomorrow? At The School of Hard Knocks, vee have vays of making them talk! Learn about all the new products on the market made just for this purpose, like the Little Tykes Thumb ScrewzTM and the Playskool Cattle Prod. Learn guilt trip/interrogation techniques that would make a hardened felon squeal like a pig and ask for his blankie. Imagine, no more sullen, silent shrugs when you ask your son if he remembered to give his teacher the permission slip or how the math test went! The first twenty moms to register will receive one of those chattering teeth wind-up toy thingys.

Raising Girls: Getting Them to Shut Up
Are you sick to death of hearing the play by play of the daily lunchroom theatrics that consume your daughter and her friends? How many more times can you stand to hear about Tiffany, who thinks she’s SO great? There are ways to deal with this other than the tempting “drop your daughter off at the mall while she’s still talking” option. Instead of just nodding dully and offering only uh-huhs, we’ll show you how to GET PERSONALLY INVOLVED with all those girlie social dramas. Go to the school and find that Tiffany number and tell her just what your daughter really thinks of her. OMG! Your daughter will be so horrified she will never tell you anything ever again! Awesomeness!!

The Art of Saying No
This class is basically a support group for volunteer junkies who have hit rock bottom and are now in recovery. The evenings get lively when the moms recount the moment that they realized they had a problem. Whether it was the time they found themselves in tears because the Wiggles cake they made for the preschool class wasn’t received with the enthusiasm they were sure it deserved, or the time they dreamed of running down an endless corridor to escape the phone calls from the PTA, their stories will astound and inspire you. And remember, what happens in group stays in group.

The Empty Nest: How to Handle the Sadness
Cancelled this semester due to lack of interest.

(imperfectparent.com)
 
Zan
#2
haha Karrie, gooder! Any mom reading that is nodding their heads and either laughing if it's all behind them now, or crying 'cause at least 1 of those situations is occurring this very moment.
 
Dreadful Nonsense
#3
I'm 52...great post by the way karrie...I'm 52 and reading this I dunno..i can relate it to my step daughter inlaw(it'sa modern family term)..
I watch the hectic atmosphere of both parents working to make ends meet and keeping two boys in AAA hockey and the rest of it...Man it's a nightmare....


but looking back at my generation where all mom's stayed at home this stuff wasn't as much as an issue as it is today in this time when no one with kids has anytime at all.....
does that makes sense?
 
karrie
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by DocDredView Post


but looking back at my generation where all mom's stayed at home this stuff wasn't as much as an issue as it is today in this time when no one with kids has anytime at all.....
does that makes sense?

I know what you're saying, but, most of the stay at home moms I know are just as crazed as a working mom. My husband and I have put our collective foot down and declared that in the evenings, our kids ought to be kids... lazing around the backyard, jumping on the trampoline, swinging on the swings. NOT running from soccer to piano lessons to spanish.
 
Curiosity
#5
Something we have in our culture these days which makes me feel our kids are missing out on one of the delights of childhood - imagination

Kids are presented with playthings - they rarely make them - or imagine them out of bits and pieces found around the house or yard - and kids seem to lack the knowledge of how to 'invent' games and contests - for no reason at all - unless they have 'equipment' already made and boxed up.

I challenge people to give children a basket of odds and ends, stones, sticks, wool yarn, paper, pencils, pinecones or other plant seeds, glue and whatever you can find which has no meaning on its own... and see what the kids can come up with ... if you ask them to 'make something out of these'.... Even a sad lump of plasticene or clay can become a creation ...

Some children these days have no idea where to begin...

Creativity can be nurtured in children into a bounty of wonderful adventures and travels only a child can appreciate taking.
 
Unforgiven
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

I know what you're saying, but, most of the stay at home moms I know are just as crazed as a working mom. My husband and I have put our collective foot down and declared that in the evenings, our kids ought to be kids... lazing around the backyard, jumping on the trampoline, swinging on the swings. NOT running from soccer to piano lessons to spanish.

Having kids, could you imagine taking them on a boat and sailing around the world with them? Home schooling, keeping them active, and allowing them to become immersed in foreign cultures for a few months before moving on to the next location?

This couple did just that with two small kids. Of all the trials and stuff that goes along with that, it was the kids they say that put most people at ease and brought out the best in the people they met.

Kids will go up and talk to anyone when they aren't afraid. And so this is how the group got accepted very quickly and treated much like family all over the world. Language became no barrier.

So very much different than the idea of working toward preparation for work and sports we do with our kids here. Watch out for strangers, avoid situations, don't open the door to someone you don't know.
 
Nuggler
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

I know what you're saying, but, most of the stay at home moms I know are just as crazed as a working mom. My husband and I have put our collective foot down and declared that in the evenings, our kids ought to be kids... lazing around the backyard, jumping on the trampoline, swinging on the swings. NOT running from soccer to piano lessons to spanish.

Good on ya Karrie:
A lot of parents are starting to see it that way.
Kids, by and large, are over organized, and the parents are mostly frenetic.
Stick to yer guns.
Argh:
 
Nuggler
#8
So very much different than the idea of working toward preparation for work and sports we do with our kids here. Watch out for strangers, avoid situations, don't open the door to someone you don't know.[/quote]

Too bad it "has" to be that way; cause that's the way it is.

Most parents are paranoid/scared when it comes to their kids. Unfortunately, for good reason.

We as a society, allow the tail to wag our collective dog.

Wish I had the solution.

 
Unforgiven
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by oldnuglyView Post

So very much different than the idea of working toward preparation for work and sports we do with our kids here. Watch out for strangers, avoid situations, don't open the door to someone you don't know.

Too bad it "has" to be that way; cause that's the way it is.

Most parents are paranoid/scared when it comes to their kids. Unfortunately, for good reason.

We as a society, allow the tail to wag our collective dog.

Wish I had the solution.

[/quote]

I don't see the status quo as manditory. Freewill and all, it's a matter of thinking about what good and going with that instead of accepting something you are told is right.

Maybe it has more to do with the disposition of the village that can't be trusted to resolve anything without greed and malace a forethought.
 
#juan
#10
I had stopped at one of the malls to pick up a few groceries. I was back at my car, key in hand when I was startled by a loud(110 decibels at least) piercing scream followed by another in five seconds, and every five seconds after that. The five seconds was the time it took for a four year old kid to take another breath. The mother of this kid put up with it for a couple minutes and finally gave the kid a good smack on the backside which seemed to stop the noise. There was another woman nearby who looked at the mother like she was an ax murderer. By this time I had had a chance to look at the mother. She was maybe six months pregnant and obviously at the end of her rope. The kid had wanted candy and hadn't got it. The kid had royally deserved a smack on the a$$. I don't usually approve of corporal punishment but this time I cheered for mum.
 
Unforgiven
#11
When hysterical, a short, sharp open slap often brings a break to the mania and when firm reason is applied, most people will come around to at least a reasonable interaction can happen.

Both my kids knew that if there was nonsense while out in public, the trip would end right there and we would return home to deal with the issue they felt they had to raise whilst in public. Once they were beyond toddlers there was no reason to spank as they knew just a word or a look meant the same thing.

Both my kids will argue with me, and often force me to come around to their way of thinking with a good argument based on the facts. Though I still reserve the right to end all discussion on any topic with my own personal veto.

While I feel that parenting should not be a democracy but a benevolent dictatorship, I like to adhere to the precepts of reasonable debate showing the wants of the majority which should most of the time be the way to go.

Should there be a time when children outright refuse to heed the most basic rules of the parent, it is time for them to find their own home to live in lest they upset the whole house hold. Be that a group home when young or their own card board box if they are old enough to drop out of school and work for themselves.

Most often there is an oppportunity for someone other than the parents to provide some independant mentorship and guidence. But for a lack of funding, more of this could happen.
 
Impetus
#12
Yeah, you folks should try it from a step-parent point of view...

I'm for the strategic use of a loud swat on the thickly diapered bottom to break the "mania" as Unf calls it. By the time they are out of diapers they should be more or less "I-mean-it voice and stern look trained".

As long as the kids are not sedentary gamer/chatter/TV/couch-potatoes I don't think they need to be signed up in leagues unless they really show an aptitude and desire. From some of the parents I've seen attending games, it isn't an experience that will teach them good sportsmanship and self-control!

When we were kids, toys had about three life-cycles.
  1. OEM Usage i.e. what they toy was built to do. Duration: variable according to durability of said item under typical hyper-utilization. Basically, until broken and cannot perform designed functionality. Johnny-Seven 7-way assault rifle. Shot real plastic bullets, grenades, and even had a hidden knife. Used mostly in the war on younger brother who constantly gets into your stuff.
  2. Redeployment - typically to the younger brother who would take pleasure of pretending to use the item to exact revenge for all the red welts and detached cornea inflicted by older brother in OEM Usage phase.
  3. Re-engineering: The item is broken and no longer resembles original function. Components are re-engineered to create other inventions and contraptions.
    Parts of Johnny Seven become Klingon spacecraft attacking the USS Enterprise model the older brother just built and proudly displayed on the coffee table for dad to see. Attack successful! Enterprise is disabled and Scotty cannot get the Warp drive going for at least two hours! We're closing in for the kill but older brother's counter-attack puts little brother's attack fleet into hyperspace and blackens his good eye.
We were never bored!

Muz
 
#juan
#13
Quote:

When hysterical, a short, sharp open slap often brings a break to the mania and when firm reason is applied, most people will come around to at least a reasonable interaction can happen.

If that doesn't work you bring out the brass knuckles and maybe a small, leather covered, blackjack. All in the interests, you understand, of gaining respect, or failing that, of instilling fear.....
 
Dreadful Nonsense
#14
I had a johhney 7
Did you have it's predessor tiger joe
and it's might moe
all from same company...wierd these were 60's toys....
unless johnny 7 was reinvented...but ya it sort of was like the thing used by scarface....hell if that movie was out when we had that thing we all would be playing coke dealer!!!instead of army guy.....

Erm... swatting diappered kids...been there in other part of this forum with this subject.....swatting at anytime is not my idea of parenting.It was mentioned it was ok to start at 6 months.....
Even if it is to snap some child out of hysteria like some bad 40's movie....not parenting to me....
nope...sorry.... glad there are laws in this country against it and the high command sees fit to have it deemed abuse.
 
Dreadful Nonsense
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by #juanView Post

If that doesn't work you bring out the brass knuckles and maybe a small, leather covered, blackjack. All in the interests, you understand, of gaining respect, or failing that, of instilling fear.....

thank you #juan
 
Unforgiven
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by #juanView Post

If that doesn't work you bring out the brass knuckles and maybe a small, leather covered, blackjack. All in the interests, you understand, of gaining respect, or failing that, of instilling fear.....

Oddly enough there are some people who would think you are on the right track. Parenting just isn't for everyone.
 
#juan
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by UnforgivenView Post

Oddly enough there are some people who would think you are on the right track. Parenting just isn't for everyone.

Gee, I hope most people could recognize the hyperbole. My two "kids" are close to forty years old now. One is a nuclear Physicist and the other is a computer programmer so I will have to assume that the brass knuckles and things had only a positive effect. My kids are among my best friends, second only to my wife.
 
Unforgiven
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by #juanView Post

Gee, I hope most people could recognize the hyperbole. My two "kids" are close to forty years old now. One is a nuclear Physicist and the other is a computer programmer so I will have to assume that the brass knuckles and things had only a positive effect. My kids are among my best friends, second only to my wife.

You sound as though you're trying to justify something? Heh must be the heat.
 
Nuggler
#19
I think stopping short of the rack and thumbscrews is probably a good idea.

But then, I've always been a softie.

Juan; your use of hyperbole is great. Too bad some don't get it.

(beware the needle of the troll).....confusedus say.
 
#juan
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by UnforgivenView Post

You sound as though you're trying to justify something? Heh must be the heat.

You don't know me well enough to make any kind of assessment......Maybe just lighten up a bit.
 
Unforgiven
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by #juanView Post

You don't know me well enough to make any kind of assessment......Maybe just lighten up a bit.

Oh brother.
 
karrie
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by #juanView Post

I had stopped at one of the malls to pick up a few groceries. I was back at my car, key in hand when I was startled by a loud(110 decibels at least) piercing scream followed by another in five seconds, and every five seconds after that. The five seconds was the time it took for a four year old kid to take another breath. The mother of this kid put up with it for a couple minutes and finally gave the kid a good smack on the backside which seemed to stop the noise. There was another woman nearby who looked at the mother like she was an ax murderer. By this time I had had a chance to look at the mother. She was maybe six months pregnant and obviously at the end of her rope. The kid had wanted candy and hadn't got it. The kid had royally deserved a smack on the a$$. I don't usually approve of corporal punishment but this time I cheered for mum.

I become one of two things with moms when they're dealing with a kid like that. They either love me or hate me, because I'll walk up and say "Hey, quit acting so bad for your mom." and then chat the kid up with nonsense stuff until they smile. When I step in 100% of the time is if a kid hits their mom... "That is NOT okay." Kids never listen so well as when a complete stranger walks up and reprimands them. 90% of the time, strangers won't even speak to them, and it ends up really easy for a kid to not realize that they are impacting anyone but their mom.
 
#juan
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

I become one of two things with moms when they're dealing with a kid like that. They either love me or hate me, because I'll walk up and say "Hey, quit acting so bad for your mom." and then chat the kid up with nonsense stuff until they smile. When I step in 100% of the time is if a kid hits their mom... "That is NOT okay." Kids never listen so well as when a complete stranger walks up and reprimands them. 90% of the time, strangers won't even speak to them, and it ends up really easy for a kid to not realize that they are impacting anyone but their mom.

Most of the time you can tell if the mom is losing it. A sharp reprimand from a stranger can have dramatic results. I haven't done that sort of thing for a while now. Usually someone beats me to it.
 
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