Marianne tries her hand at advice
As an admitted parenting failure, it has come as quite a shock
to find myself a much sought-after voice in navigating the
complexities of the school year. Never one to shy away from a
challenge, I have therefore taken my best stab at answering a few
of the most frequently asked questions from all around the
Chicagoland area. Here goes!
My son has asked that I chaperone one of his field trips
this year. I am not confident in my ability to keep track of a
bunch of kids while traversing a busy zoo or museum. What are your
Signed, Anxious Amy
This is where selectivity becomes very important. Forget the
pumpkin patch and Shedd Aquarium - your charges will scatter faster
than a flash mob. Think "containment." Pick events (plays,
performances, etc.) where kids are held captive between rows and
rows of seats with limited escape channels. Should that fail, be
prepared to leave for a "family emergency" where you turn your kids
over to that mom who enjoys making cupcakes for the bake sale and
sells Innisbrook wrapping paper to everyone she's ever met. Good
I am really upset about something my daughter's teacher said
in class. It was a rather inappropriate comment, and I feel I
should say something to the principal immediately. What do you
Signed, Offended Olivia
Unless your child has been lit on fire (repeatedly), I would
refrain from filing complaints against the school. You must keep in
mind that with every phone call, letter, or email, your name moves
closer to the top of the field trip chaperone list. It's not worth
it. Be a phantom instead. Let them think your kid is an orphan.
After a while, they will even stop sending home the Innisbrook
fundraising packet. It's a total win-win.
I cannot get my son to work with me on his science project.
There are so many aspects of the assignment (the experiment,
report, graphs, board) that I fear won't be ready in time for the
due date. What can I do?
Signed, Hopeless Helen
Silly wabbit, the school doesn't actually expect your kid to do
his project! What does a grammar school student know about creating
a 3-D graph with five variable function? I, too, used to believe
that my children would manage their own science projects. What a
dolt! Last year, rumor has it that one CPS mom outsourced her
daughter's entire project to a retired NASA engineer. These things
have NOTHING to do with the kids. The sooner you embrace this idea
and identify a suitable consulting firm to handle his project, the
I am very nervous about my daughter Carrie's first
parent-teacher conference. I have already received notices home
about her poor behavior and inability to follow directions. I am
scared the teacher is going to blame me for everything and suggest
parenting courses. Can I just skip the whole thing?
Signed, Terrified Terry
OF COURSE you can skip it! Sheesh. This is Chicago, for Pete's
sake! Only like 1/3 of parents bother attending these conferences.
You'd practically be a freak if you did show up! But if you are
compelled to attend, remember: deny, deny, deny. Carrie throws
things in class? She never does that at home! Carrie swears? She
must have learned that language on the bus! Carrie can't seem to
keep her hands to herself? Ask for video evidence! This is an easy
Thanks again to everyone for their amazing questions and
support! Sadly, this may be my sole venture into the whole advice
column thing. I'm told satire is a dying art with very few
Perhaps it just needs a Twitter account?
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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