In Praise of Annoying Parents

Somewhere I heard that you are not supposed to build relationships based on a shared contempt for some third party.  I think that’s a solid spiritual axiom– relationships should be built on mutual love and respect, not because you found someone who’s a hater like you.  However, the person who said that definitely never went to parents’ night at their kids’ school.

Find the people who roll their eyes when you do. They are your tribe.

Find the people who roll their eyes when you do. They are your tribe.

But I’m not here to complain about the parents that make my skin crawl because they are grilling a preschool teacher about how she intends to teach four-year-old kids how to create a narrative arc or deconstruct string theory.  Nope, I’m flat our praising those douche bags because without them, how could I find my people?  The crazy parents are the Maypoles around which I am able to dance and find other people grooving to my rhythm.   How could I have ever found my school BFFs without bonding over the serious case of crazy that some other (not us, never us) parents display during student nights and open houses?

We need them.  Each and every one of those hyped up, over-zealous, run-to-the-administration-to-complain parents is vital to the rest of us getting to sit back and remind ourselves that we are crazy, but not that kind of crazy.  In their shadows, we can congratulate ourselves for our balanced and sane approach to parenting and education.

So don’t be a hater.  Be an embracer– harness that negative reaction and find your fellow eye-rollers.  Those are your tribe.  It may not be the soundest basis for forming a friendship, but sharing contempt for the same people isn’t the worst way to start.

For more on this, see how I this played out on my latest Mom.me post.  (Click here).

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30 thoughts on “In Praise of Annoying Parents

  1. This is EXACTLY how I met my best (adult, not from college) friend. Our 22yo girls were then kindergarteners and we attended the same school charity auction meeting as new school parents. We caught each others eyes across the room, rolled simultaneously, and have been great friends ever since. You nailed the way to find you tribe amidst the crowds.

    • God bless you. I watch teachers keep a straight face in light of some really zany antics and I have so much respect for them!

      On Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 10:10 AM, Outlaw Mama

  2. Isn’t that the best feeling? It can take awhile since most people are trying really hard to be on their best behavior in the beginning of the school year but when you catch the whites of their eyes after some ridiculous comment, you know you’ve found the one you need to talk to.

  3. oh it’s so true–those kindred spirits are indeed the lifeline to sanity in the halls of learning institutions. I’m certainly my own variety of crazy, but I try hard not to do/say anything that could backfire on my kid. I can say it at home… to my husband… while he rolls his eyes.

  4. Those parents are nuts. I’m pretty sure when I was 4 and in pre-school all I did was finger-paint, and my teacher’s sole job was to make sure the paint stayed off the walls, and that I shared the paints with other kids. My parents couldn’t have cared less what we were “learning”, and I turned out ok. And also, I have absolutely no idea what the quadratic equation is.

  5. Hear, hear. I think all my good friendships have started with exchanging eye-rolls. It’s like that famous saying, if you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me!

  6. Maybe it’s because I live in an “emerging area”, and live on the poorer side of town, but I don’t run into too many hyper-achieving, “keep up with the Joneses” parents you describe. They are probably out there, but I guess I couldn’t be paid to care (unless I could grab the money, and run, without legal recourse).

    My daughter went to a Parks & Rec preschool. My son went to a developmental preschool. For the latter, I think, parents are freaking out more how they’re going to help their kids with autism and other developmental delays, and find them a semblance of normalcy, than whether they will grow up to be Einsteinian concerto-playing rocket scientists. My son’s preschool teacher believed ALL children needed more time on social skills, not just the ones in SpEd. We spend more time spelling “I-E-P” (Individualized Education Plan) than “P-T-A” (or “P-T-O”), “S-A-T”, or any of that. In fact, I think many of us detest standardized testing. I don’t know about parent-teacher associations/organizations, but personally, I cast them a wary eye. They are usually asking me for money I don’t have.

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