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(http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/the-kindergarten-koffee-klatch-kkk/gun-and-coffee/)There are few situations where I am more aware of my age and experience as an over-40 mother than the beginning of the school year.
Being older and starting your child in kindergarten is always special. It’s where—for the first time—you meet the moms of the other kids your child might be spending the next nine years sitting next to.
It’s like going on a blind date knowing that it’s going to end in a shotgun wedding. Then you find yourself married to the mob. The Mom mob.
This year, introducing Lizzie to Kindergarten proved to be even more of a roller coaster ride than it was three years ago when Alex took the plunge.
My suspicions should have been aroused when I received a group email from one of the mothers inviting us to a coffee morning at her house. And, once again, feeling the keen edge of emotional blackmail—equating social acceptance with an easier ride for your kid at school—I folded and agreed to attend.
Besides, I needed to know the truth. I needed to know what my soon-to-be 5 year old daughter was in for.
And when I arrived at the lovely Tudor-style home, ensconced in rolling California hills already baking in the morning sun—sure enough, there they were. Adorned with strapless sundresses and bearing plates of fruit and freshly baked muffins, they were unmistakable.
Stepford Moms Under 35 (SMUTs).
My heart just sank like a stone.
When SAHMs (Stay At Home Moms) sufficiently well-heeled to enjoy being at home also fall under the definition of SMUTs, the combination is nothing short of lethal.
It means they have a wealth of time and money to throw at their child’s education and community life, the naked parent-political ambition to carry it off perfectly, all delicately frosted with the pretense of social nicety.
They are the founding members of the Kindergarten Koffee Klatch (KKK). And, as parent or a child, you must fall-in and conform to their edicts or face ostracism and social annihilation.
In the end, such groups become the birthplace and festering grounds of social intolerance. And they teach our children well, in ways we might not expect.
Mature moms can find themselves out in the cold…with their children.
By definition, any woman who has had a child after 40—her mind, body and soul seasoned and leavened by the vagaries of fate—cannot even fake such a show.
Time and time again, older mothers have said that they are more laid back about parenting, less stressed about “getting it right,” and happy to just go with the flow.
In fact, it can be exhausting and exasperating for us to even to swim in the same parenting stream as the Under 35 Steps, many of whom function under the illusion that they can control and shape the minutiae of their children’s lives.
They are the AH-64 Apache (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Boeing_AH-64_Apache) version of helicopter moms—loaded for bear and primed to take out any perceived enemy threat, even if it happens to take the form of a small child, like our daughter.
Lizzie was due to have her 5th birthday a few weeks into the school year. All of her classmates were warmly invited. Many had accepted, others were pending.
But there was a schoolhouse storm brewing on the horizon. Lizzie began to come home complaining that the 8am-to-3pm school day was just too long for her. Then, she began to beg not to have to go to school at all.
Notes started to arrive home from the teacher regarding disruptive behavior, and how peer pressure was brought to bear to get Lizzie to conform to the structured curriculum. Her response was to pump up the volume on acting out.
She was sending us a message in a bottle, but we weren’t reading it.
One day she came home and reported that someone had called her a “brat.” Her smiles began to disappear. She refused to wear pretty dresses or flowers in her hair. She felt she did not deserve them.
After 3 weeks of kindergarten, we came to a mutual agreement with the school to remove Lizzie. In the days leading up to her birthday party, the “unable to attends” and cancellations began to roll in.
By the night before her party, the last parent had offered up a supposedly sudden and unexpected reason for not being able to attend.
For a small child who was already experiencing low self-esteem, the impact could have been devastating. It was too late to change our plans. Nothing could be done.
It was in God’s hands. And ours.
Lizzie was surrounded by love on her birthday. Her smile has begun to return and she wears “pretties” in her hair once more.
After pulling her from the school, we had her tested and learned that, while she was academically advanced, she was not developmentally ready for that level of structure, or length of separation from her mother.
We are about to enroll her in a half-day kinder program. And we’ve promised to listen to her when she feels she cannot cope—whether the message is verbal or non-verbal.
Me and Lizzie? Well, we are happy again, home tutoring, frolicking, and blessed to be liberated from doing time with The Kindergarten Koffee Klatch.
Notes for this blog:
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CNN Mother's Day: "Mature Moms" (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WySnP2nnwXU)(http://youtu NULL.be/atScMih4_d0) (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sGRro4rHGeA)
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