Forced To Pick Family Motto at Back-To-School Night *Shudder*

I was already scarred from “curriculum” night at my daughter’s school, wherein I sat through a round of questions of douchey parents who wanted to analyze the benefits of the school’s math philosophy.  Have I mentioned my daughter is FOUR?

Naturally, after that I was a little wary of the back to school night at my 2-year-old son’s class.  There was a layer of added stress for me because he goes to a Jewish school, and I am named after the savior of the Christian world.  My hand was trembling as I scribbled my name in a sloppy way so the Christ part wouldn’t be too obvious.

See that chair? Not so much for a grown ass woman, unless she's a hobbit. #I'mNotAHobbit

See that chair? Not so much for a grown ass woman, unless she’s a hobbit. #I’mNotAHobbit

When we got to the classroom, we got to sit on those four-inch-tall chairs, which I totally did get, because I know, it’s all about the children, not me.  Things were going well, and I pretended to understand some of the Hebrew words the teacher was saying.  I exhibited grace and humility when the teacher pulled me aside to explain why she’d sent a note home in Simon’s backpack “reminding” me that his lunch must be vegetarian.  It wasn’t so much a reminder as an initial warning, since I had no idea about the vegetarian thing.  I figured I shouldn’t send him with a ham or bacon-wrapped shrimp po-boy, but turkey?  Apparently, turkey’s out too because of kosher laws.  (NOTE: Simon was sent to school today with a pita, a Tupperware full of garbanzo beans, a kosher pickle, and a note from me, apologizing for the sucky lunches.)

Simon’s teachers had planned an activity for the evening.  Bless them, they gave us something to do.  “We thought it would be fun if you made a family scrapbook page, including your family motto.”

Motto? “Jeff, please tell me that is the Hebrew word for last name?  Because if by motto, she means phrase that summarizes your family mission statement, we are screwed.”

Turns out she was speaking plain English and we had about 6 minutes to come up with a phrase that fits our family.  By that point, my legs had lost circulation from sitting in that little hobbit chair and I was sweating.  How could I think straight to pick a family motto?  Jeff and I stared at each other, unsure of how to approach the task.

“Well, what do we normally say?” Jeff said, reasonably.

“How about ‘please help us’?” I suggested gamely.  “Or ‘Mommy needs a time out.’  Or what about ‘When you’re at our house, don’t expect home cooking’?”

Jeff wasn’t impressed. The clock was ticking down and I was trying so hard not to act like a flummoxed shiksa with no lower body circulation that I couldn’t think rational thoughts.  Like a jute box on the fritz, I started spitting out Willie Nelson lyrics as options:

  • You were always on my mind.
  • If you’ve got the money, honey, I’ve got the time.
  • Roll me up and smoke me when I die.
  • I just can’t wait to get on the road again.
  • Whiskey for my men; beer for my horses.

I was deluded enough to think that last one had some traction.  Kids love animals I argued, especially horses.

Bless Jeff for not slapping me.  He did punch my leg, but I couldn’t feel it.  In the end, we he picked a song lyric, not from the greatest musical artist on the planet, but from some hack children’s musician who sings about the goodness of the Earth and the interconnectedness of human life.

Whatever.  I still think we could have found a Willie lyric as a motto.

So what about you? Do you have a family motto?


73 thoughts on “Forced To Pick Family Motto at Back-To-School Night *Shudder*

  1. Oh, I don’t know. Just off the top of my head, I’m thinking my family motto would be something like, “You can’t get there from here.” Because my kids are always trying to climb back in my vajayay. And I like REM.

    GREAT post. 😉

  2. At our’s someone dismissively said “Well, this just preschool and they are only four.” The teacher gently (oh so gently) chided him “This is the most important year of their education.”

  3. Now i’m going to need some medication prior to Back to School night tonight. At least I won’t have an itty bitty chair since my peeps are half grown. And I think I can count on the Catholic school to be as emotionally inept as I am, and refrain from getting too personal. Vegetarian lunch? I can’t even get started on that. And…Kudos to you for realizing your Pre-K is only four. There are some lofty expectations of pre-K out there. I love your humor!

  4. Ha! I can’t believe you were asked to give a motto! That is crazy.

    I relate to you about the Jewish preschool. Just wait until Passover… The rules are super strict then (at least they were at our preschool).

  5. One more thing. I went to tour a preschool today for my 4 year old (we just moved). They were going on and on about how they do the entire kindergarten curriculum in pre-k. What the f? They are KIDS. Let them play. They have the rest of their lives to read.

  6. Christie, I love the small chairs reference! At our 1st grade back to school night this year, Henry’s teacher said that when she told them parents would visit their classroom and sit at their desks, He ry exclaimed: “Well, you better get bigger chairs!” needless to say, they didn’t!

  7. How about the Cars classic, “Let the Good Times Roll”??? That would be ours… Seriously… Move back down here to the south….our biggest worry…do they have their mats for nap and what’s for snack time that is NOT vegan….a teacher CANNOT live on apples alone….GEESH….prayers and hugs and Oreos!!!!!!

  8. Lol, I just went to my 4th – 5th grade orientation. They had this chart – blue in the middle, then yellow, orange, red and black going down. Then going up green, purple, pink and white with glitter. All the kids had their number on clothes pins. Apparently, your behavior of the day, decided if you were going up or down. I named the chart – “Heaven or Hell”. And for a family motto “Welcome to the Jungle” – Guns and Roses? But if you need a serious one. Go to the The Godfather.

  9. omg…second time you had me laughing today. Such greatness! (there were glue sticks…lol) First of all, I can’t even handle the pressure of *a packed lunch* much less a vegetarian one! My kids are picky eaters and packing a lunch is stressful enough even though at this point I’m buying Lunchables and stuffing them in there. As I was reading, a familiar theme cropped into my head, and therefore our motto: *Lower Your Voice!*
    Another great post, thanks!

  10. Oh guy mod I was cracking up! I asked my husband what he thought ours was, and he asked, “what’s a motto?” Yeah… not a fair activity for some families!

  11. Pingback: JJQ from another blog: What’s your motto? | VOX Journal Jar In Exile

  12. A family motto and scrapbook for PRESCHOOL? Seriously? How about you teach my kid some letters and numbers and make sure they get a halfway decent snack and a nap, thanks!

    My next back to school night will be for my daughter entering high school. *sob*

  13. The one I force myself to say, for its potential for long term benefits, is “we’re a family of problem-solvers!”

    The one we fabricated for _The Secrets of Successful Families_ is unwieldy and obnoxious.

    For back to school night? “Fuck this shit.”

  14. We don’t have a motto, but if we did, it would probably be “Normal is highly overrated.” We do have family code, so people can swear at each other even when Grandma is visiting.

    Eons ago, when my kids were in pre-school, it was a co-operative one, so you had to take your turn every few months bringing the snack for everyone and helping the teachers. But my youngest just turned 28, so that was literally a generation ago. Crap, I’m old.

  15. I want to come up with some witty motto, but we actually DO have one that we use all the time “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Maybe it’s because of what we have had to face, or maybe it’s because it just makes sense, but it works…..

  16. Ours seems to be “stop hitting your brother already” and when that one fails it is “No blood, no foul” I fear I am failing as a mom, but they are clean and fed when they leave the house, at least most of the time.

  17. My house is totally a house of confusion, and it only contains 2 adults. Not good.
    I HATE this kind of “icebreaker” thing. It absolutely sends me into a tailspin.”I got nothin’.”
    My motto: “Leave me alone.”

  18. Hell, no, we don’t have a family motto. I’ll pick up something next time I’m at the Hallmark store. This pressure would have pushed me over the edge. I can barely answer the short questionnaires about my kid’s likes and dislikes, let alone a family motto. I’d have voted for the last Willie N one too.

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