To Stephanie’s Mom-

I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to you for challenging the rest of the parents in room 450 to step up and take a more active role in our children’s education.  Your complete commitment to involved, hands-on parenting sets a new standard most of us can only dream of achieving.  Yes my full-time job is demanding. Yes, my other child’s needs are demanding, too.  But that’s no excuse for relinquishing my parental responsibilities to actively engage in every little moment of my son’s life, much like you’ve done with your daughter.   

I really admire the way you always make yourself available for class field trips, library visits, playground duty, nap times, story times, and birthday & holiday parties.  As if all those activities don’t keep you busy enough, it seems like you’re always the first person on the list to sign up for class potlucks! Goodness knows I have a hard enough time trying to plan 4 home cooked meals a week for my family, so I can hardly imagine where you’re able to find the time to bake, from scratch, 27 individually hand-decorated, dairy-free, peanut-free, gluten-free soy cupcakes! 

It’s also clear that little Stephanie has inherited her mother’s eye for detail and natural artistic talent.  Some parents (I won’t name names here) thought you may have helped Stephanie with the stunning life-sized paper mache sculpture of Dr. Martin Luther King she brought to school in late January.  But when I saw the artistry in the Valentine box she fashioned by hand out of recycled railroad ties and painted in a Van Gogh starry night motif, it was obvious to me that little Stephanie is just naturally talented. The best most of the other kids could muster was a shoe box covered in aluminum foil and heart stickers, but as usual, Stephanie showed the rest of those amateurs how it’s really done.  You know what they say – the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, right?

Now, this is hard for me to admit, but I am humbled by your boundless enthusiasm for parenting.  Often times I allow my needs for sleep, adult conversation, and alone time with my husband to take precedence over my children’s educational needs.  Yes, I’ve used TV as a crutch.  I’ve even allowed them to watch non-educational TV from time to time so I could sleep in on a Saturday.  I justify this neglect and laziness, by convincing myself that I’m striking a balance between meeting my personal needs and the needs of my children.  But the truth is, I just don’t have the attitude and the focus I need to be a stellar parent.  I’ve settled for “good enough” when I should be striving for “exceptional”.

It’s shocking how pervasive this culture of parental neglect has become. I’m amazed at how many other moms are also lying to themselves.  Sadly, when I’ve discussed my selfish ways with other moms, rather than ostracize or shame me, they commiserate.  When I mention your great example of selflessness, some have even turned to spreading vicious gossip about you in a pathetic attempt to make themselves feel better.  With martini in hand, they tell stories about how you are the token wife of a much older, wealthy man who can afford for you to be a stay at home mom in this economy. They talk about your housekeeper, Imelda, who does all the grocery shopping, cleaning and errands. With looks of disgust on their faces, they talk about how your empty life has come to revolve around aerobic exercise (I can only assume that they’re jealous of your lovely figure and the fact that you’re always wearing those tummy-baring, skin tight workout clothes the rest of us can only dream of getting into) and nurturing the budding genius that is Stephanie.   They also imply that the successful marketing career you left to stay home and raise your only child, has left you with “too much time on your hands”.  They insinuate that you are micro-managing Stephanie’s life in lieu of creating a life for yourself.

It’s obvious to me is that these kinds of people just aren’t cut-out for a life of truly involved parenting.  They are not motivated to make the necessary sacrifices. So, rather than use their time and energy to improve themselves and their children, they tear down the accomplishments of those who’ve shown they have the initiative, drive and focus necessary to be superior parents.  

I tell you these things not to make you feel self-conscious, but knowing that you’ll feel sorry for us and turn all this negativity into a positive – for Stephanie’s sake.   I know, someday, Stephanie is going to look back upon her youth and thank you for being there with her every single, teeny, tiny step of the way! 


Adam’s Mom (aka Samantha)

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