San Diego Soliloquies

Saturday, January 31, 2004

How to Be a Really Bad Parent

America's Worst Mother&trade continues to show us how. In this week's edition, she locks herself out of the house with the stove on and a two-year old wandering through the kitchen. Fortunately Mom is extricated from here position by the two-year old just in time to answer the phone. It's another brainless idiot about to join in a chorus of Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little. You see they've got trouble, trouble, trouble, right there in suburbia. Seems that:

    "She" is the Capable Mother, an impressive figure at our children's school who arrived last year and immediately set about massing an army of followers. In addition to trouncing other women in the giving of coffee mornings (ahem), the Capable Mother started an afterschool song-and-dance group that has the subversive feel of a cult. She distributes junk-food snacks and plays music that other parents abominate. She puts elementary-school girls in sexy stockings, and urges her charges to gasp with Bob-Fosse-esque satisfaction when they've completed a move.

Oh my god, Dance has reared its ugly head, with those sexy stockings (Um, leotards?).

As a kid and teenager I was involved in theater, which given my obvious talents meant that I set up lights and rang the curtain up and down. It was a good experience for me, and fabulous for those who could actually dance, sing or act. It built self-confidence, presence, and showed the rewards of risk-taking, hard-work, and perseverance. Naturally, we can't have something like that happen to our kids. Because otherwise they might not grow up to see SEX in every little thing that our pre-pubescent kids do.

Wandering around Balboa Park this morning, as we lucky San Diegans get to do, we passed by the Casa Del Prado Theater. There were several youth groups in rehearsal and it looked like the dance groups were on break, because the snack stand next door was flooded with girls with their hair back in tight buns, swaddled against the cool shadows of the eucalyptus trees, ordering some of the thousands of calories they burn through in their busy days. A couple bit down on hamburgers that looked good enough for a Bob-Fosse-esque sigh, but these girls were too busy for all that. They had another rehearsal to go to, another performance to put on, another way that they make their (non-imbecilic) parents proud. If there's one thing we know about kids that get turned on to the arts, sports, volunteering, or any one of hundred other activities that Capable Mothers introduce them to, it's that these kids are far less likely to fall victim to the crap our society has waiting for them. God help the kids of America's Worst Mother&trade


Just noticed something from Tbogg's telling of this tale. (BTW, America's Worst Mother&trade is a registered trademark of the Snark Corporation, TBogg, CEO.)

In speaking to the other biddy, America's Worst Mother&trade harangues:

    "Listen," I say firmly, opening my invisible vial of spine-straightener. Having bottled the genie of erotic jazz dance in our previous school, I am utterly unafraid of seeming ungroovy when it comes to putting children in fishnets. The Capable Mother is what happens when good people do nothing. She is the human equivalent of Nintendo.
    "Tell your daughter the main reason mothers exist is to protect children. Tell her you wouldn't be doing your job if you paid for her to spend two hours a week under the influence of someone who makes such Dubious Moral Judgments."

America's Worst Mother&trade then shows us that, while she may be a moral arbiter of the highest order, she don't know crap about basic kitchen safety or protecting her kids from physical danger:

    We hang up. My sous-chef climbs up on the kitchen counter, and I lift the lid off the fragrant beef.

"Your kid's got a hell of a steam burn Ma'am, and it looks like she may lose that eye. But Good Lord, what shining morals she has!" I don't even let my dogs in the kitchen when I'm cooking, and you would think a real mother would care more about her two year old than I care about my dogs.

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