Monday, August 18, 2008

The White Trash Mom Handbook

The White Trash Mom Handbook by Michelle Lamar with Molly Wendland actually has very little to do with being white or trashy. If you find that fact disappointing, the WTMH is probably not for you. But if you enjoy a bit of tackiness more as a literary conceit than a literal comparison, read on.

Being a White Trash Mom as Lamar describes it is accepting the fact that you can't do it "all." It's about embracing your imperfections and having a little fun with them. The book is based on the premise that today's society pressures parents to be perfect, leading mere mortal mothers to fight for the unobtainable Supermom status. It's a losing battle with an imaginary foe. You're not perfect, and neither is anyone else.

Right now my oldest child, aged 3, is about to start nursery school. The WTMH tells me that parenting in pre-school is bush-league compared to the K-12 years of professional bullshit. That's a scary concept, because I'm already getting inklings that even pre-school politics are outside my comfort zone. I have a lot to learn from the White Trash Moms.

Some key things I discovered are:

1) Brown-nosing your children's teachers is crucial. They can make your kids' lives much easier if they have the motivation to do so. Give them presents. Donate school supplies. Volunteer to help cut out shapes for that activity or to collect and organize all those General Mills Box Tops. Your children will thank you (probably not literally, but the sentiment will shine through).

2) It's important to be true to yourself and your morals, but know that a certain degree of conformity (or the illusion of such) is necessary if you don't want your children to have to deal with the re-percussions of their mom marching to the beat of her own drummer. It's all about working the system from the inside--from fake-baking for the holiday party (caramel squares melted over fork-smushed, store-brought brownies to create that all important homemade look) to picking the volunteer duty with the best return on your investment.

3) One should never, ever (Lamar used 26 ever's to drive this point home) confront the parents of a child who is bullying your own. "For the most part," Lamar writes, "kids who are jerks have parents who are jerks."

The White Trash Mom Handbook is not about maneuvering your way around the trailer park, barefoot with a bump. It's about navigating the school yard as a parent. I heard about the book through the Parent Bloggers Network, and I'm glad I did.

7 comments:

Heather said...

Yes, bribery seems to work wonders with pretty much anybody.

Anyone want to bribe me?

Mrs. Chicken said...

Yeah. Preschool politics are a b*tch. Take it from me.

Lauren said...

Best Haiku EVER!

Jene said...

kinda wish my mom read that when i was little, lol

Molly Wendland said...

You are so correct. It does actually begin in pre-school, and yes, indeed, that is only the "minors", my WT comrade. ;-) But with a little effort, you will make it through!

Thanks much for the link love. Our book sales are starting to take off. They make excellent inexpensive gifts!

Molly Wendland (aka Tacky Princess on www.whitetrashmom.com and Balanced Babe on www.mothersbalancingact.com)

Jerri Ann said...

I read a review on someone else's blog too and I had to go order it! Job well done for you guys reviewing I'd say.

SoMo said...

I may have to pick this up.

I have seen first hand that brown nosing works. Although, it doesn't work with all teachers, but the majority of them.

I have failed miserably at this. I don't think my kid has suffered, though. My main problem is how to volunteer with a full on wild toddler with me constantly. Sure, I can come in and cut out silouettes of the kids, but my son would just throw and hide them everywhere or terriorize the turtle in the aquarium. Wouldn't win brownie points at all. I do, however, compliment all the teachers and try to get some good gifts.