Friday, May 29, 2009

On Children and disliking Pampered Chef

Fine, I admit it.

I can be anti-social.

Sometimes I have to force myself to converse with other people. I don’t know if it’s the Only Child in me or what. I mean, I’m in desperate need for female companionship over here but at the same time I’m worried I’m going make friends with one of those needy types that call every few minutes and show up at my doorstep every single day and ask me brightly if I can watch their kid. Here’s the thing: I hate watching other people’s children and I’d seriously be tempted to throw a fit if someone showed up at my door right before Lost was due to start.

I mainly keep to myself. Sure I’ll wave hello to the neighbors and we’ll exchange a few pleasantries but that’s about as far as it will go.

Yesterday I spotted a group of mothers on the sidewalk talking and I figured I ought to force myself out there and converse with them. I mean, I don’t want them to think I’m some sort of freak. So I took a deep breath and scooped Natalie up and headed outside. Tommy was already outside running around with a few of his friends.

Now, approaching a group of people makes me nervous. I’m always worried that everyone is going to pause in their talking and shoot me a dirty look for interrupting. Then I get paranoid that no one will move and allow me to squeeze into the circle and I’ll sort of be standing there on the outside while everyone carries on with their chatter. I wish I could be one of those bubbly people who just rush up to groups and easily include themselves—but that’s not me. I’m totally shy and as I said before, somewhat anti-social so it takes me a few minutes to warm up.

Thankfully a few of the other mothers spotted me coming and waved hello.


I was easily accepted into the circle and a few of them asked how I was faring without my husband.

“It’s hard,” I admitted. “But I like having the bed to myself.”

There were 4 mothers there and only two of them laughed at that. The other two stared at me blankly. I suppose they’re the types that can’t sleep by themselves.

Then the conversation dived into our children and I sort of stared off into space because okay, I love my kids, but I don’t feel the need to spend every waking minute of the day talking about them. If I’m with an adult I sort of prefer to keep the kid chat to a minimum being that I’m surrounded by children all day long.

“And, I can’t believe it, but I overheard Lucas saying ‘Who died and made you boss?’ and I was HORRIFIED!” one of the mothers was saying incredulously.

My heart immediately started racing at that. Why? Well, um, because I sort of taught Tommy that phrase to say to this irritating neighborhood kid named Chase. I have an excuse though. Chase is incredibly bossy and I’ve overheard him instructing the kids on what to do and it just rubbed me the wrong way. Especially when I saw Chase shouting at Tommy that he couldn’t play Army with them.

“Why?” Tommy had wondered. “I want to play.”

“I said NO!” Chase screamed.

Tommy would run into the house in tears on more than one occasion because Chase wouldn’t let him play. So I told Tommy to say to Chase, ‘Who died and made you boss?’

I suppose the phrase is circulating around the neighborhood now. Tommy had told me that he had said that to Chase the other day and I asked what Chase’s reaction was.

“Oh, he was mad. But he let me play!” Tommy said triumphantly.

I was pleased that it had worked but I forgot that kids had big mouths.

So I stood in the circle of mothers and pretended to look all aghast that our darling children were asking each other who had died and made them boss.

Obviously the phrase doesn’t bother me much but it really seemed to disturb one of the mothers and she went into a rant on how rude it was to say and blah blah blah…I sort of went off into a daze again as she slammed her fist into her palm and said something like, “These kids need to stay sweet!”

A snort of laughter escaped my lips.

The ranting mother paused and shot me a look.

“Oh,” I said, reddening. “I, um, agree.” I bobbed my head enthusiastically even though I was thinking Yeah, hardly any of these kids on the neighborhood are SWEET. I mean, they’re loud, they’re rude and they question adults. I’m still shocked over the fact that some kid took Tommy’s bike out of our garage even though I had told him not to.

While the mother continued with her passionate speech, Natalie had started to run around the group. Then she walked over to me and pointed and shouted, “Boobie! BOOBIE!”

This seems to be one of her favorite words these days. When I got out of the shower one night she had pointed to my breasts and I had told her in a sing-song voice, “Those are my boobies!” and she cracked up like I was Elmo or something.

Anyhow, Ranting Mother paused in her diatribe and stared at Natalie in horror. “Did she just say....boobie?” She honestly seemed disturbed by this. She probably would have passed out if Natalie had said the word penis. In her household I imagine she calls the male anatomy Mr. Tinkles or Silly Willy.

(You have no idea how hard it was not to shout, "Vaginas!" to see what her reaction would have been.)

I didn’t want to cause a commotion and make her pass out from shock or anything so I went, “Oh no. She said bally.” I saw a yellow ball against the curb and ran over to grab it. “Here you go, darling!” I said and shoved it in Natalie’s confused hands.

Ranting mother relaxed and went on with her speech on ways we could enforce manners in our children and if we heard them say something inappropriate that we needed to band together and not be afraid to stop them.

I’ve been doing this for over a year but I kept my mouth shut.

I think the rest of us mothers were a little tired of hearing Ranting Mother speak so another one piped up to change the subject.

“I’m having a Pampered Chef party!” she called out.

Oh no.

I’ve been to one of those before and I felt like I was back in elementary school again. I mean, one of the games was to remember what everything was on a table before it was covered up again. I did that back in the third grade. Why would I want to do it as an adult?

Plus it was hard for me to get excited about cookware when I don’t even like to cook. Some women seemed like they were about to rip off their shirts and twirl it around in the air because they were so excited over these colorful spatulas. I sort of sat there in confusion and tried to muster up the same enthusiasm but it wasn’t working.

I remember one lady had gushed, “I am LUSTING over the stoneware!” and I had nodded along but was really thinking, “Stoneware? Pampered Chef wants me to cook on STONES?” I realized what she meant later on but for a few minutes there I was at a loss.

“I hope you all can make it to my party on Saturday!” Pampered Chef Mom said.

Quick! Make an excuse!

“Er…” I said, trying to sound all apologetic. “I don’t think I’ll be there. My son has appointment.”

It’s a total lie but I had to say SOMETHING. I couldn’t very well say, “Actually, cooking bores the ever loving crap out of me and colored spatulas aren’t my thing.”

“A dentist appointment on Saturday?” Ranting Mom spoke up, raising an eyebrow at me.

She’s onto you! Quick, say something else!

“Well, my son’s tooth has been bothering him…..” I trailed off. Then I looked at Natalie who was contently playing with the ball and said, “Oh, Natalie is starting to look upset so I better get her inside. It was lovely talking to you all!” I picked up Natalie who did NOT want to give up the ball and who screamed right into my ear.

“It’s okay, darling. We’re going inside now. I know you’re probably hot,” I said loudly as she tried to break free.

About an hour later the Pampered Chef mom knocked on my door. I nearly passed out when I saw it was her.

She knows I was lying about the dentist appointment. She’s coming to confront me and attack me with her purse!

But no, she just wanted to show me the Pampered Chef catalogue so if I wanted to order anything I could let her know. I perused it as she chattered on about the FABULOUS plates and the FABULOUS stoneware and nearly passed out when I saw that two of those FABULOUS plates she was talking about were $34. For TWO plates? Maybe it escaped her mind that we’re in a recession and if I fork over $34 for dinnerware then I damn well better be getting an entire set.

Still, I smiled politely and promised that I’d let her know if I found anything.

I did flip through the catalogue after she left and laughed when I saw that Pampered Chef wanted me to fork out $29 for a Bamboo platter that I’d probably only use once and then never again because it would be stored separately from all my regular stuff so I’d just forget about it.

Of course I can understand how people can get excited over Pampered Chef stuff. I get the same way over children’s clothing. I love shopping for my kids and dressing them up in things like this:

If there was a party for children’s clothing then I’d definitely be there.


  1. I don't like Pampered Chef OR other mothers. :-D

    Just kidding!

    Kind of!

  2. I'm the same way, which is why most of my favorite people live in my computer. :)

    That outfit is PRECIOUS! Do the purses come in adult sizes, because that rocks!

  3. As a person who is not a "mom", I just want to say that you took a completely normal conversation between a couple of women and made it absolutely riveting. I felt like I was in that uncomfortable circle the whole time I was reading.

    Also, I'm going to teach my daughter that she has a "vagina"...not a "hoo-ha" or "na-na" and if I have a son he will know that he has a "penis" with "balls". I don't understand parent's infatuation with making kids ashamed of their anatomy.

    Just wanted to let you know that I think you are a great writer...

  4. OH I WANT YOU FOR MY NEIGHBOR!!! Please move to Ohio!!

    i bet you will not make the mistake of socializing with these narrow minded bimbos for a while. JUST BLOG!! So much safer!!!

    You got caught in the "I AM OFFENDED" sport. I am exhausted from folks trying to find reasons to be angry with what I say or do!!! GET YOUR OWN LIFE!! You have nothing else to do all day but sit around in coffee cliques talking about what everyone else is doing. Go do something your self! Go volunteer! Go get a job! Do something!!

    Pampered Chef, Candles, Sex Toys... again just go get a job if you want some new trash to covet!!! Don't try to get me to buy junk for you to get free trash!!!

    Ok... I am better. YOU STARTED IT!!!! I will go get my fun smelling candle and settle down.

  5. And... I have to agree with KMcJoseph. Great writing. I couldn't stop reading.

  6. Ah...the dreaded put yourself out there thing.

    Hate it. I'm totally content with staying indoors (with the bloggy friends) or at the park keeping to myself while watching my daughter play.

    We could be the same person.

    My sister on the other hand would be all over the neighborhood bringing cookies and voluteering to watch kids. Ahhhhh.

    Great and well written post!

  7. I feel exactly the same way. When I tell my few friends that I am shy they laugh at me. I could probably walk up to a group of women after taking a Xanax but not before.

    My children are grown now but when they were younger I hated having other kids over. I had four of my own. I didn't NEED any more.

    I hate parties as well. Two girls at work have recently had Candle Lite parties. Those things are way too expensive for me. For a freaking candle? Holy crap. I do have a few Pampered Chef spatulas though. It killed me to pay $11 each but I'm thinking they will last for my lifetime. I said I was busy so I didn't have to attend the party but ordered the spatulas and everyone was happy.

  8. Well, you've just made me feel so much better about not having any friends. I have been feeling very lonely and isolated this week...wishing for some friends besides my mother. I think things are fine the way they are. Thanks!

  9. I don't do Pampered Chef or any other cooking type parties. I, like you, like to keep to myself. I have gotten at least ten excuses that I have memorized for just such an occasion. I am an only child too. Think that is what it is? LOL

  10. Natalie is adorable in that outfit... much better spent than on some stupid stone baking ware.

  11. Except for the only child thing (I'm the youngest of seven!) I could SO have written that first paragraph!! That's me, to a tee.

    I do like Pampered Chef though. :)

  12. I got suckered into hosting a PC party, and then I got suckered into buying a whole bunch of the stuff. ANd guess what, I have NEVER used any of that stoneware crap that is sitting in my cabinet and has been for over 4 years now!

  13. i was once invited to a pampered chef party and didnt' want to go so i bought the cheapest thing I could find so I could seem interested and yet not have to go. I don't think i ever used it ... don't even remember what it was!

  14. Is your tongue okay from biting it? Oh! I would avoid that circle too! Have a great weekend!

  15. The only thing I ever bought from Pampered Chef is the microwave rice cooker. I can't cook rice worth a lick and this makes perfect rice every single time. It's honestly the one thing I would ever buy from them. I've had this thing for nearly four years and it's as good as new . . . otherwise, all my money goes towards clothes too! :)

  16. You're too nice. I'd pretend to be drunk or stoned with those mothers to ensure they'd always leave me alone and not invite me to any stupid parties. Either that, or hold your own sex toys party and invite Mrs Priss, the Pampered Chef dummy. Damn.

  17. great post and i feel your pain :)

  18. I'm with you on keeping to myself. I rarely talk to my neighbors (because there kids are brats) even though she has a daughter the same age as mine. The whole "perfect parent" always seems to be the one with the neighborhood terror right? You are too funny!

  19. I'm an only child too! And I am shy... and yet social, if that makes any sense whatsoever. I am LOLing at your boys fighting... sounds like mine, except Rebecca would have intervened and said that SHE was the boss and then Christopher would have said she was a big fat stupid idiot and she would have called him Penis Breath or something to that extent and I would have just laughed. As for me I hate the word Vagina. (And the word moist!!!)... Vah-JINE-AH... it's so German sounding. I prefer Cooter or Vajayjay myself! ;)

  20. Love this post! I feel the same way when I meet most other moms.

  21. So, if you did come and see a movie with me, would you actually talk to me? ;)

  22. hahaha!! I love your musings. I love how you keep it real.

    Oh and I would never go to a PC party or any other. Not my style and I'd be bored out of my mind. Unless of course, it was Matilda Jane. :P

  23. Can I borrow her purse in a big girl size? I love this post sweetie! I hope to make your day a little brighter. Come by my blog for an award. I think your Aw-summm!

  24. Yeah definitely one of those situations where you wish you could just disappear into a puff of smoke, right? It never fails...there's always a group of bitchy, judgemental moms at the park we go to. "OMG, are you letting your kids drink JUICE?? My kids only drink water" or "I can't believe you don't mind your kids playing in the sandbox".

    I taught my kids the "Bean Fart Song" one evening at dinner and they went to school the next day and taught it to their friends. The teacher was mortified and asked where they learned it and said, "I don't must have been one of their friends here at school or something they heard at the park".

    Geez, lighten up people!!!

  25. I hate stoneware! My stoneware cookie sheet is way too flintstone for me and i practicly fall into the oven trying to lift the 20 pound cookie sheet.

    Im like you with the mommy crowd, so not me. i wish you were my neighbor and we could teach the neighborhood kids some additional phrases of life.

  26. I am JUST like you when it comes to real life people. Not that you all aren't real life *ahem* but you all are safely inside my computer... well *ahem* (mumbles with foot in mouth)

    I bought a pampered chef something *gasp!!* but it was a little leaflet cookbook thingy for $5. Oh about 10 years ago. I still have it, but I've only made one recipe from it. Repeatedly.

    OK, what was my point? OH yeah.
    *giggles* over the Who Died And Made You Boss?! I wish I had thought of that.

    I am stiflingly uncomfortable with my neighbors. They probably think I am some sort of freak because I NEVER approach them. I don't want to become a subject of gossip or ranting, but then again, I probably do anyway. I just don't need to KNOW it for a fact.

    Damn, your blog is too addicting.

  27. If I can be so bold to suggest this, I think you should stay inside next time you see this pack of moms gathering!

  28. I love your blog. You're so witty and your writing is superb!

    Karyn (GF)

  29. you know im kinda that way with "mom groups"....not all moms do the same thing and some can act a bit fake about how they raise their little i would rather not be apart of it...and i try and avoid it at all cost.....and i wonder why i only have a few friends...hmmm o well....cute outfit though...i love kid clothes!!!

  30. Ugghh..the mom thing. Oh, Billy is so precious. It's like a competition.

    And, that stoneware? Is saw one that was almost $100. But, you could cook a whole chicken and cake in the microwave in it (not simultaneously, of course).

  31. When my son was about 3 years old I had to go to the bank to open a checking account. The woman in charge of new accounts was rather ample. In the middle of me filling out the application he asked in a very large voice (for his size) Mama, why is she so old? I shushed him as best I could, and he answered with an even bigger voice "oh, so why is she so fat?? Kids, you gotta love em or kill em.

  32. Great story! And I'm with you...I don't like cooking well enough to attend a shopping party for it.

    Stop by my place when you get a chance for some awards and tags!

  33. Oh my gosh!! That little purse, Ah dorable! and I like Pampered Chef. Is that bad? haha

  34. Pampered Chef is way too overpriced. I have 1 piece of their stoneware and I've gotten more than my money's worth of it and I'd buy another one again, but that's it. Their other stuff is way out of my price range for what I'd use it for. Anymore when I get invited to those parties, I just smile and say "Thanks, but that's really not my thing. I hope you have a blast though." I'm tired of making up excuses!

  35. I hate being a suburban mom. Truly hate it.

  36. I had so much I related to on this post!

    I'm pretty anti-social like you ... I just don't "do" small talk really well. And I find my sense of humor doesn't always mesh well with otehr moms. I mean, I taught my child to curse as a joke ("Meet The Fockers" secene) so I don't think Ranting Mom would have liked me very much. And I got sucked into a Lia Sophia jewelry party that was hell on earth.

    And my sister-in-law just started selling Pampered Chef so I was pretty much legally obligated to buy some stuff from her.

    This was so funny! Thanks!

  37. Well done, I was totally cracking up! I just hope someday you will be able to disagree with Ranting Mom, because I bet you weren't the only one in the group who found her a bore. I'm shy too and I know exactly how hard it is to meet people and make friends. But believe me, it's okay to say you don't do sales parties--I've been saying it since the first time I was invited to a Tupperware party back in the seventies.

    Trust me, if you ever DO want some pampered chef stuff, you can find plenty of it at yard sales!

  38. "If there was a party for children’s clothing then I’d definitely be there."

    Woo-hoo! You and me both. This said after I dropped $100 on some Gymbo clothes!

  39. I would have died. That's like when I try to make friends here at work and they either want to talk about:

    1) Going out and getting drunk
    2) Their husbands
    3) Their children
    4) Shopping, manicures, Twilight, 90210, celebrity gossip..

    All of those are fine in moderation. Not 8 hours a day five days a week.

  40. I found this post by doing a search for "I hate being a surburban mom." Oh how reassuring it was to read your post. I feel like I am alone in the (suburban) universe. I swear I get an "Invasion of the Peapods" feel from the mothers in my community. I always wonder:
    Who are these women who are so content to have THIS be the full content of their lives?
    What was their life before this existence?
    Do they never yearn for life beyond this?

    As my older child has entered public school I'm finding that it's becoming ever more difficult to not interact with the mothers around me, and ever more suffocating.

    Thank you for your post. It made me feel a little bit less like a martian.

  41. jsully, thank you for your note.

    It also makes me feel less like a martian when I know there are others like me. Sometimes I think I'm the only one who doesn't get all excited about being a suburban mother.

  42. I actually sell Pampered Chef and feel exactly the same way about it as you do. My cluster boss gets frustrated with me. Oh friggin well. I've been trying to get out of it, but people keep calling me, telling me they want to have parties. Grrrr....


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