Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Doctorate in Family Management

Nearly 23 years ago, I was fortunate enough to earn a college degree. It's nothing special, just a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, but hey, there are lots of folks who never get to attend college, let alone earn a degree. I was also fortunate to have found gainful employment that actually related to my degree. I did fairly well in my career and then three years ago, I hung it up. I retired. I quit my job to stay home.

I learned a lot in college, although most of what sticks with me today seems to have been taught outside the classroom. The classes that I took sometimes seemed other-worldly - full of information that was deemed important, but rarely applied.

Looking back, I realize that I learned more than I can imagine. Here then are some of the classes I took in college (and a few I didn't) and how they are utilized today:

Accounting - Any mom worth her weight in salt has balanced Girl Scout Troop checkbooks, collected admissions on gym duty and the ultimate challenge - figured out why the $10 in lunch money disappeared in two days even though "there wasn't anything good on the menu."

History - Which carpool mom drove to basketball practice last week, where did we go for Thanksgiving dinner last year and what city were my parents born in so that my child can fill out her family tree?

English - "LYLAS"* is not appropriate on a thank you note to Grandma, a dangling modifier is not a new style of earring and "I'm going by Kathy's" is not a specific enough explanation of a child's plans for the day. (*Love ya like a sister! Hello! This is instant-message speak.)

Engineering - If the left turn signal on the minivan isn't working, somehow navigate a right-turn-only path to school. When the vacuum has sucked up another rawhide dog chew, it's important to unplug it before dismantling and removing the item.

Computer Information Systems - When the teenager has downloaded an e-mail attachment that causes pop-ups every 3 seconds, re-start the computer and re-install Windows, first saving all term papers and essays onto a floppy disk.

Management - When Johnny needs to be at football practice at 3:30 pm and Mary needs to be dropped off at a classmate's house to work on a group project at 3:45 pm and dinner must be served by 5:00 pm in order to get to parent-teacher conferences by 6:00 speed down side-streets, call in a favor from another mom and order from Pizza Hut, while promising to serve a healthier meal the next day.

Philosophy/Logic - If Bobby is late in filling out college applications which are due on Monday and he accepts an offer to be the drummer in a friend's garage band that has a gig on Friday followed by practice all weekend long, it is likely that Bobby will spend Thursday evening playing video games. Bobby is to logic as mom is to sanity.

Marketing/Public Relations - When an unexpectedly low airfare is found and husband's work schedule finally allows for a week-long escape, it is important to point out in a letter to the teachers that pulling the children out of school the week prior to the end of the quarter will actually result in supplemental education opportunities and a lower teacher to student ratio in the affected classrooms.

Community Relations - If it snows on Monday, it's vitally important to shovel the sidewalk of the nearest neighbors, knowing that your vacation is coming up during a predicted snowstorm next week and you'll be out of town, unable to shovel. Attending the Alderwoman's Tupperware party, and purchasing a lot, is a good idea, especially knowing that you promised your son he could have a live band at his graduation party.

Political Science - If the president of the PTA/room mother makes a pan of brownies, it is a good idea to enthusiastically compliment her on them, even if you hate her guts and know that she's never been a real blonde and her daughter's a little bitch in training.

As they say, learning is a lifelong project and it doesn't stop when class is over. Now if I could just get my kids learn this!


At 9:11 AM , Anonymous miriam said...

Thank you thank you thank you for your funny columns! My kids are somewhat younger (all in elementary school) and I am learning so MUCH from you! I wish someone could re-educate my husband, however, regarding the 'why we do nice things for other people so sometimes they might help us'. Also, could you write a column explaining why the president of the PTA is always so ? ours takes the cake.


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