February 15, 2012

The Outsider Parents Club.

Whenever I come to these parent-teacher things at the kids' school, and I see other parents...I feel like an alien.



The other parents are all so familiar with each other. I often experience the same feeling when I try to engage with some online parenting communities and, dare I say it, mommy blog groups. I feel like an outsider. It kinda reminds me of high school...

Anybody else feel this way? I suspect that I don't have to start an Outsider Parents Club. It prolly already is.


57 comments:

  1. I completely know what you mean with this. Part of it for us is lack of history; we rarely stay in a school long. Mostly it's just me, though - I'm not "like" them. Oh well, probably wouldn't want to be anyway!

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    1. I guess I'm not like them either. I mean they don't understand my jokes anyways, so a sense of humour wouldn't help them.

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  2. I thought that was a picture of me! I was just thinking of that yesterday when I saw all the fancy Valentine's Day treat bags that everyone (except me) made. I always feel like there are some meetings going on elsewhere that I never know about.

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    1. That's exactly it with me - I never know what the heck is going on!

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    2. I swear to God, Ash's Valentine's day loot makes for a haul half the size of his Halloween one. I think every single one of the 24 parents except me, taped their kid's valentines to a sack of candy.

      On the other hand, each parent is assigned approximately one "snack day" a month, to provide something for the entire class. Not only do very few of them actually follow through with this, but we are the only ones that take advantage of the ability to bring things made from home. So while most of the month, the kids are eating handfulls of stale pretzels that were bought in bulk and doled out whenever a parent doesn't do their part OR warn the teachers, we're bringing in things like brownies or, this month, cupcakes that Ash has decorated himself with candy "funny faces"!

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    3. Once I helped my kid make Witches Fingers for a Halloween party at school. They were so cool, they looked just like chopped off fingers. Nobody ate them. But they did eat all the mars bars and crap.

      *sniff*

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    4. I just sent in cards for his special needs class and Max brings all this fancy stuff home! The same thing happened last year but it somehow slipped my mind until it was too late.

      I also didn't think to send in cards for his mainstream class at all and he ended up bringing stuff home from both classes. Whoops!

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    5. I remember that stuff happening in the younger grades. It was too much for me. I couldn't do it all the time.

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    6. The snack-day cupcakes were a hit, thankfully -- post about that one, still forthcoming! -- but yeah, I totally fell off the cool-parent bandwagon, this Valentine's Day. Last year I wasn't on it either, I'll grant you, but at least the valentines themselves were cooler, having been planned by me to end up looking like Ash did an awesome job painting each one individually. (They were his handiwork, sort of, but I'd cheated, having him paint all over a sheet of paper, and then having traced and cut hearts out of THAT to end up with marbly-splashes of different color combinations on them.) This year the valentines were generic (and not even holographic generic ones, like a few he received), AND failed to be attached to decorative pencils, small stacks of stickers, and enticing bags of thematically-packaged candy. Oh, for shame.

      Thankfully, at least Ash doesn't hold it against me.

      Oh man, but I never even *aspired* to provide enough valentines for Ash's class (which is integrated), any of his team of staff members that aren't always directly in his classroom, the kids in his therapies, etc etc. I just kept it to the class list we were all given. I have a hard enough time dealing with "The Holidays" and the end of the year, since he has, on average, 15 adults taking responsibility for him, over the course of the school year.

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  3. oh man - me too, on both!! I am a city girl now living in the country, talk about fish out of water - square peg round hole...etc.

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    1. Whoa girl! That's a very big change. Not sure I could do it...how's it going?

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  4. I feel this way just trying to interact with most other parents, period.

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    1. Yes....most life situations. We may be legit outcasts.

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  5. I am too - but, thankfully, I have kids that love it now. (It means that though they don't get cupcakes at school on their birthday, they get pretty awesome cakes at home and to do other fun, wacky stuff too.) It's a trade off.

    Doesn't make those school events any less awkwardly uncomfortable for me though. >.<

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    1. Hey I'm wacky too. Maybe that sets me apart.

      Darnit I want cupcakes now.

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  6. Me. But my pain is over! Done with that. We don't go to Parent's Weekend at Stanford either. Why would I fly 2000 miles to hang out with 1500 parents for two days? We go there during Thanksgiving week when no parents are there. I had a couple good years in junior high where I knew some parents that I liked, but that was over in a flash.

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  7. I am the president of the club. It's too bad we outside parents don't all have kids going to the same school.

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    1. There's no president in this club. It just is what it is.

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  8. I can imagine how hard it is as a parent. Honestly I feel that way being a dog owner. No, seriously.

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    1. It's true....some dog owners at the park all walk together. But I don't feel like I can join them, cuz they stop talking when I pass near them. Of course, it doesn't help that my dog is dragging me past and barking like a maniac.

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  9. Welcome to the club. : )
    Your drawing reminds me of being in a particular school hallway once, waiting for the meeting.
    There’s the click of high heels, men in ties, women who've never ever have a bad hair moment. They are coiffed and designer labeled. It is a rainy autumn afternoon and I have come by way of walking the dog, by way of tripping and falling, courtesy of a squirrel and a mad chase. There are grass stains on the knees of my jeans.
    I am not one to impress the teacher (unless necessary).
    I know this teacher well. I have volunteered many times and am well known by staff members.
    The parents, however, have their noses up. This is the Hallway of Disdain.
    I try to strike up a conversation with one couple. They look at me a bit strangely. Hmmm.
    The air carries the scent of expensive perfume, but I detect… something… else…so I .look down… at my hand… holding…. the old, ripped shopping bag…full of dog… sh…oot. How could I be such an idiot?

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    1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

      Oh man that is a great story. I think I love you.

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    2. Heheee...Oh yeah. I get that. I was the mother who drove her son to Kindergarten on her bicycle, with paint stains all over her jeans.....We are in the same tribe.

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    3. Heheee...Oh yeah. I get that. I was the mother who drove her son to Kindergarten on her bicycle, with paint stains all over her jeans.....We are in the same tribe.

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    4. Haha! That was my huz - he took the kids to school on bikes even in winter.

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  10. I'm right there with you. I have always felt like an outsider with these people. Can't remember a time I didn't.

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    1. Me too. I usually try to be friendly and say something really dumb. Where is their sense of humor?!?

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  11. I am friendly with a few of the parents of kids that my kids are friends with but, otherwise, I'm pretty much an outsider too. There are quite a few stay-at-home moms and those who work part-time or flex hours so they tend to be the ones who volunteer in the school, go on field trips, etc. I, on the other hand, am gone from home eleven hours a day, Monday to Friday, so my face is rarely seen at school. I'll never be one of the gang. I'm happy to be one your gang though JC :)

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    1. Yes, I think that's partly the case here too. Although I admit that when I did volunteer I felt it most acutely. Prolly they could see through the pink makeup to my naturally green skin.

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  12. I feel like this at school-parent events, at those rare and precious (but precarious!) birthday parties, out at the playground or anywhere else where parents typically are with their kids, talking with "typical" parents online or in-life, in general...

    Like you, it wasn't as if this feeling came, utterly unfamiliar, from nowhere when I became a (special needs) parent. I spent much of my life feeling that way -- amidst family, amidst social realms, amidst society... Hell, I even felt like an outsider amidst other outsiders. Bahh bahh black sheep!

    Of course, now that it's a parenting issue, this black sheep can't pretend to be a pretty damn convincing chameleon, even if and when she wants to.

    My consolation is that my husband comes from the same planed in the weirdo galaxy that I do. Even when he's not with me, though, I figure that, alone, I still am keeping better company than most of the people on the crowded planted of FitIn.

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    1. Good point about feeling like an outsider amidst other outsiders.

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    2. It makes me think of that line from the old Rudolph special:

      "How do you like that?! Even among misfits, you're misfits!"

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  13. High school cliques were soooo boring. Start your own club, I'll join you and we'll freak them out with all the laughing. And antennae. Ooooh we need feathers too. I love feathers.

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    1. Ok we can have feathers. You can draw them!

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  14. My son's teacher isn't fond of me at all, but loves the other moms. I guess roller girls with fire engine red streaked hair aren't good enough for them. Oh well....

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    1. Sad to think some teachers might be judgey that way.

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  15. I'm an "Outside" Mom. I never quite fit. Have no idea why & gave up trying to figure it out. I just hang with the Dads. I fit there...

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    1. I may also give up trying and start just saying whatever pops into my head just to watch them react.

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    2. Steffan knows I am quite capable of and so often tempted to do just that. It both excites and scares him.

      He likes to say that I have a silver tongue....but that the silver just happens to have been forged into a stiletto dagger.

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  16. Oh yeah, I feel the exact same way--only I think my antennae are a little longer. Being a parent at school functions makes me feel like a kid in middle school again. Sigh.

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    1. Yup. But I only have one antenna. The other one is my tail.

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  17. Yup. And being new to the school and community (thank you, cross country move!) only made it worse. Seven months we've been here and still don't feel welcome. :(

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    1. We moved across country too. That was in 2000. The kids have been at the same school since then. After 12 years I'm beginning to think it's a combination of human nature and me.

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  18. I've spent most of my life not fitting in. So it's not surprising that I have a tough time making new mom friends. Fortunately, I have friends that I've known since my college days that now also have kids, so I still have some parenting friends out there.

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    1. I have one or two friends who are also parents, but I rarely see them at the school. I wonder why?

      I think maybe people are great one on one; a group dynamic changes things.

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  19. Can I join? I wrote yesterday I have more child free people and single men who read my blog than other parents. It's funny. I've never fit it but that is ok.

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    1. There is no joining, you just are automatically in it!

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  20. Woman do I hear you! Parent teacher aka report card day I'd coming and boy do I wanna gag. I try to get there before the other parents. My youngest child in school is 13. The other parents who are in their late 40s totally ignore me. I 36 for.goodness sake, no need to treat my like a child wanting to sit at the grown ups table. So if I chime in, I get "I'm surprised u know, I'd think it was before ur time". And then there's the "oh! Are u filling in for your mom?" True I do show up in jeans and a leather jacket and my teen and I are the same height, but come on...then they wonder why I don't show up for the PTA meeting and "help" by forking over member fees to be a PTA member. Great post! Sorry for the rant :-D

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    1. Your rant pretty much sums it up. Gads why are people so judgey?

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  21. Can I join too? I've never been in the clique with the other moms and dads, but what I do find funny is I always find myself talking (or being talked too) by the grandparents. :-)

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    1. There's no joining Sarah, it just "is".

      Interesting about the grandparents finding you approachable (and vice versa).

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  23. I feel the same way, because every time there's a school program, there's this tiny Asian mom with four gadgets in her hands. :D haha. Well I don't pick up my little one everyday,my husband does that for me, so it's him that they get to see and talk often. Unfortunately the huz is quite a snob or should I say doesn't talk much. :D So I make up by making awesome home-baked cupcakes, cake pops and send some personalized loot bags for their school activities. Makes them remember me when I come by but I still feel out of place. :D

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Cuz You Rocketh.