October 23, 2012

The Mom Who Knows Things

Apparently I have a reputation. I'll now pause briefly to clear your brain of all the seedy thoughts that word surely triggered. Not that kind of a reputation. (At least I hope).

A friend of mine recently confided in me the following: Her daughter, when seeking information about some school event, and not happy with the answers she (my friend) was supplying, simply turned around and said: "You know what, I'll just call Impatience's mom. She'll know what's happening at school. She is a mom who knows things."

I am pausing again briefly for Noisette to close his mouth, which by now is probably hanging near the floor. He claims I never know anything and am terribly forgetful. His evidence is that I once sent him to the wrong soccer field on a freezing Sunday morning, when somehow all my color-coded calendars had let me down. Or maybe he is simply still jealous from the time our neighbors' little boy in Singapore proudly announced to our kids that "my dad can MEND things" when we were admiring some space ship contraption he had fashioned out of cardboard boxes. No one has ever said that about Noisette. Perhaps because he is never here when things happen where his mending skills might be needed.

In any case, I have to say I felt mighty pleased to suddenly be The Mom Who Knows Things. In the world of kids, that's a huge compliment. Especially for someone  like me who is so NOT your typical school mom. You know, the kind of mom who gets excited about the Christmas party months in advance and comes up with five different ideas for the tabletop decorations and proceeds to hold three meetings to discuss them. Tabletop decorations are the very last thing on Earth I voluntarily wrack my brain about (and have never understood the need for) and these types of meetings make me physically ill. Unless we meet over coffee but then I'd rather discuss people's travel plans through Africa. Or recount my affair with Richard at Eskom. Or something entirely useless. Like the hour-long debate we had going up Kilimanjaro whether an egg would be suited well to withstand a vacuum or not.

So initially I was very proud of my new Mom Who Knows Things status, but now I feel like I'm under a lot of pressure. The Mom Who Knows Things is expected to have all answers at the ready. Like what day we're changing form winter to summer uniform. Whether school ends early after market day. What time swim team trials are held. And whether the school cap must be worn for that. Can I just say that I usually have no clue what's going on. I do try to read the school newsletter but never seem to get to it until AFTER the event. Have I mentioned my color-coded Outlook calendar? I do spend quite a bit of time updating it, but with four kids there is just no way to keep up.

I wonder how I got this reputation? I should probably actually credit Impatience, who is a real planner and the only one in our family who seems to remember just about everything. The folders in her backpack are color-coded and arranged in the order of her classes that day. Never mind that her room resembles a war zone. Her school life is nearly always in perfect order. Maybe her friend just assumed it must be coming from me. Or maybe this friend's mom is even worse of a planner than I am, setting the bar rather low.

But now that I'm The Mom Who Knows Things I'm stuck with the label. This became evident last week when another friend wanted to know whether it was civvies day at the school the next day. Civvies day is when the kids don't have to wear school uniforms, quite the event. But as much as it's fun to don your fancy clothes, or at least some plain jeans for a change, no one wants to be the one in the wrong gear, the one who didn't get the memo. We all knew that the high school had a "proudly South African" day planned that day, where students are allowed to wear their favorite team jersey (except a jersey here is a sweater so I'm not actually sure what the name for a team jersey would be). But what was the prep school doing? There hadn't been any newsletter or SMS alerts, so everyone was asking everyone else, and it somehow all ended up firmly in my court the night before.

Far from living up to my reputation, I had to ask my daughter. The one who usually knows things. So the daughter confidently said yes, they did have a proudly South African day tomorrow. So I told my friend that yes, send your child in civvies tomorrow. Unbeknownst to me, this missive was handed on down the chain to everyone else who wanted to know, so that the next day quite a few girls were heading to school in their shorts and rugby shirts. Except that same morning my daughter was not nearly as sure about it as she'd been the night before, and there were big screams and tears over what to wear.

It must have been something like ten kids who showed up in the wrong clothes. Because there was no civvies day.

The moral is, don't trust The Mom Who Knows Things. She knows nothing. She might be able to learn new stuff, occasionally, and she's been known to get busy for hours trying to solve the Grade 10 math problem that came up in an exam and flummoxed everybody, getting herself sidetracked from all cooking and blogging for an entire day scribbling diagrams and equations on her sticky notes, determined to get the answer at all costs. But don't ask her what's going on at school.

I guess my reputation took a dent that civvies day which is just as well because I am, in fact, The Mom Who Has No Clue. I already feel like a burden has been taken off my back.