On Pettiness

Dear Darlings,

These past few weeks have been filled with a writing/story telling class, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. We’re given ten minutes to fill a page with words relating to the writing prompts our instructor gives us. Most of my writings have been deep, reflective streams of consciousness ~ a need for me to vent and let my feelings be seen in black and white by me and heard by my classmates. This past Monday, though, the prompt given took me down a different path.

Our prompt was to write about pettiness and a time it touched our lives. I thought I was going to write about me and driving (I’m, admittedly, a very petty driver – you cut me off, you’re dead to me. Don’t use your blinker…it’s a mortal sin in my eyes…well, you get the drift), but this is what ended up flowing out of the tip of my pen…

Pettiness…what a word. It’s a word we, especially as women, are taught to not necessarily embrace, but to tolerate. In my life, I’ve worked had to eradicate pettiness. Pettiness equals drama as far as I’m concerned, and I never wanted my daughter to learn from me to embrace drama life can hold.

Enter ~ the room mom sagas…For nine years, almost straight, I was a room mom for one (or sometimes two at the same time) of my three kiddos. I’m not sure why, but maybe their teachers saw in me that I don’t deal in drama, don’t put up with much bullshit and therefore I don’t embrace the drama of pettiness.

But that subjected me, in a backhand manner, to the very same pettiness I sought to avoid. Elementary school mean moms who grew up to produce a whole new generation of mean girls sat behind their masks of caring, concern and compassion and threw barbs of pettiness my way – barbs intended to remove me from the very seat they wanted to occupy — room mom. I cannot begin to tell you how much pettiness I endured from these grown up mean girls because of their fits of jealousy. And let me just ask…what makes some women want to eat their young to be a room mom? I mean, seriously…it’s a shit ton of work with little compensation or reward ~ unless you think dodging pettiness barbs is a reward. I did what my kiddos teachers asked of me (and I enjoyed helping them immensely), well, because it was easier, in some ways, than submitting to the daggers of pettiness the mean girls who turned into mean moms used when they were in charge. But I couldn’t wait to escape the bonds of pettiness that came with the territory from the title of elementary school room mom.

And that was the grand flourish I used to wrap up my 10 minute stream of consciousness. I do want you to know enjoyed every minute of helping my kiddos’ teachers run their class rooms. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my time as their room mom, but I would have liked a little duct tape to silence the petty voices of those who weren’t asked to be the room mom.



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