An Early Departure from a Late Meeting

There was a parent meeting at 8pm.
Why so late?
Because it was after the thing where they have parents run a shortened version of their kids’ schedules. Personally, I’m never interested in doing that. For one thing, thirty years go deceptively fast and wasn’t I just there? with my side ponytail and my rubber bracelets? While their old gym was my new gym, it still reeks of fear sweat.

Instead of asking why so late, maybe we should be asking, WHY AT ALL?

The meeting was held in Large Group Instruction, which is where I had health class. I don’t know what they have in there now, but it smelled like puberty and cattle. Yeehaw y’all.

My husband, ever social, chatted with the man in charge, while I eagle-eyed a woman carrying in refreshments. Refreshments are not a sign of a short meeting, you know.

As I watched the woman pour the Hawaiian Punch into the bowls, all I could imagine was RedDye#40 Moo, hived and bouncing off the walls, “Hey Mama! Hey Mama! Guess what?!? Hey Mama! Watch me! Watch me! Hey Mama! Ya know what?”

I said to Moo, “If you’re thirsty, maybe you could ask the lady for a glass of plain pineapple juice.”

It was Thursday, and that day I’d already worked in the garden, gone to work early, drove a hundred miles in circles to eat with my husband, scanned in over a thousand pages of documents, and driven home in rush hour traffic. I really, really needed to get home to my oversized tee-shirt and my dog and my sofa.

Refreshments were offered first.

The presentation was brief, and I thank that man for not reading to us from the screen. Has anyone actually experienced death by PowerPoint, or does it merely contribute to anger management issues?

I can sum up the presentation:

Your children are super duper talented and have been chosen and this is a great honor for all of us, and we’re going to take them far, far away from you for more days than you’ve ever been away from them in their whole lives and they will have the mostest fun, but also they’ll be learning and growing and sharing and creating and it’s going to be awesome, and it will make memories to last a lifetime and they will never forget all the wonder and magnificence of this trip and if you wouldn’t mind, we’d like just short of a billion dollars, not in change from your jar, and we’re not sayin they’re lucky because they’ve earned this privilege, but they’re lucky and we are all so excited and please you will pay for this because if you don’t your child will think you don’t love her as much as other parents love their children and she will feel the deprivation of this incredible opportunity and listen to more emo music at an even louder volume and cry a lot that week, and probably never forgive you because we have hyped it up to incredible proportions, okay, thanks.

Then someone asked the man if we should take questions first and I said, “Nooo!” in a most audible way and people turned to stare at me, some with contempt and some with smiles and I nodded as I said, “That’s right, I said it,” and then they took questions anyway. The answer to the first question was literally on the screen in front of us and that’s why I had to leave.

So often I feel these meetings could be addressed in an email, or a packet. I generally enjoy listening to people and hearing all the nuance in their voices, watching subtle emotions cross their faces. I like the way the details make up the big picture…
Parent meetings are literally the only times in my life where I take a stand on “Just the facts, ma’am.” 
I really think I am suffering some sorta syndrome where I simply cannot tolerate parent meetings.
I seem to have crossed the threshold last spring. Just tell me who to make the check out to and leave me alone. Shame on me. Except fuck you, shame on you.
Have there been studies on this? I’ve always known I wasn’t a Cookie Cutter Mom, but damn.


As I stood in the hallway with Punch Lady and another mom,  I asked the girls one of my top ten questions, “Where is your father?”
Then the women and I talked briefly about the universal laws of wifery, which include, but are not limited to, waiting for our husbands to stop jaw-jackin so we can go home and get out of these oppressive clothes, and wipe off this sexist make up, take off this heavy jewelry, and breathe.

Do you or have you suffered from this taboo condition? What requisite activity kills your tolerance?


About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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58 Responses to An Early Departure from a Late Meeting

  1. ghostmmnc says:

    Thank goodness those days are done for me. Used to hate those meetings and open houses! One time I just could. not. make myself go, but my daughter went with friends. When asked where her mom was, she said I was having a bad hair day! haha … Oh good description of the misters that stand around forever talking to everyone he knows…jaw-jacking!!! Love it! Been on lots of those waiting around episodes…like every day. Thing is, if we’re at a store, I wander off finding more stuff to buy 🙂 The longer he talks, the more I put in the basket!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ghostmmnc says:

    🙂 I love to shop! I can find something to buy any where we go! Sorry you had to endure the meeting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Josh Wrenn says:

    Never had a parent meeting, but it sounds like every work meeting ever with the exception of the parental guilt trip. I hate meetings! Hate them. And the questions being answered in the presentation. Every. Single. Time. Ooooh, thanks for the inspiration. Maybe a post for tomorrow.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. orbthefirst says:

    Oh my god..Id go nuts there too.

    But yes. I have a requisite activity that goes up my butt sideways every time it comes around. I fondly refer to it as “Hell Week,” the week before my brother and his family come to visit.
    Invariably I end up calling him mid week saying things like “You need to have a talk with That Fkn Lady before I blow a gasket. You know shes the reason Ive got high BP, right??”
    And somewhere off in the background shes screaming “DO ALL OF THE THINGS!” over & over & invariably I am reminded that thats why he moved….
    And this weekend isnt any different, cuz nephew wants to bring his girlfriend, so we Are Required To Make A Good Impression On Ms 16 yr old, WhatsHerFace. Like she/they might think were scum, or something if our house looks like people actually live here & do things….

    She wasnt like this when he lived down the road. I simply just do not understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Mmmhm, it’s fairly infuriating. Every single time. Email, really. Email is fiiiiine for dispersing information.

      I’m sorry for your Hell Week. Sounds rough.
      Why she’s like that now, but not before?

      I’m like that when we’re getting house guests, and I can’t speak for her, but there’s this feeling that I don’t want to be doing housework while I’m visiting. Like, especially when it’s all the boys. They’ll wreck it, and that’s fine, but it needs to be super clean so I can enjoy them wrecking it. Neuroses.

      Little Man X bringin a girlfriend? 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nah. Dog parents are enough. Kids’ parents tato yell at me for my dog peeing on the grass where their kids are playing is more than enough. (Look at them, they ain’t playing, they are staring into phones.) I suggest next time you dress the way it makes you feel good. It will make you smile

    Liked by 1 person

  6. orbthefirst says:

    Yea, he is. Wants too, anyway. Shes “good for him” as my bro puts it. Gets him to keep up his grades & whatnot.
    I have no idea wth is short circuiting in that womans brain. Its MY BROTHER. HER “Other Child.” Not like we havent trashed the house before, but theyre fairly good about not doing so now. And Jays told her PLENTY that “IDGAF wth your house looks like, as long as we have a place to sleep.”
    Shes not hearin it, apparently.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Don’t get me wrong I honestly don’t mind people asking questions. But nothing grinds on my soul more than having to listen to redundancy. So if the question has been explained, or is blatantly in print I have a terrible habit of snapping out the answer. It also irks me when meetings run long because we are repeating the same instruction over a over again. Redundancy. Ugh. I’m getting tingles of hulk rage just typing about it. Hah!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dan Antion says:

    So happy to read this and realize that I no longer have a child in school. I once sat in the audience while they droned over Fundraisers A – P. My first year, I laughed at a guy who suggested that we do the math and pony-up the money. By year #2, I was ready to write the check. I didn’t mind the schedule-following-drill. I didn’t mind the Superintendent’s Parental Advisory meetings. If it had anything remotely to do with raising money, I was out the door the first moment I could scoot past the speaker’s peripheral vision.

    Love the “fear sweat” comment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Benson says:

    I don’t recall too many Parent meetings. The ones I do remember were boring and repetitious. Flash forward and I had to deal with meetings in every restaurant I worked. The exceptions being my own. Hotels were the worse. The ass kissers trying to impress the GM,and the fuck ups trying to pretend that any criticism presented did not include them. And in all meetings if people were to just listen over half of the questions wouldn’t be asked. Lord girl I do sympathize with you. Not only must you deal with the normal stupid stuff you have to deal with “Educators”. Why not 86 the punch and have apple juice?

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      No Motterns drank the punch, perhaps because it gave us that don’t-drink-the-red-kool-aid vibe.

      I have meetings at work and have at other places, and you’re right, educators have got to have the worst meetings of any group ever. I imagine I’d have struggled more had I ever had to attend one as a seasoned teacher. Best I left, don’tcha think?

      My husband has had many meetings which sound like your restaurant meetings. People cannot listen. It’s a lost art.

      Thank you for your sympathy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. joannesisco says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m not the only “bad mother” in the world who would rather chew off my own arm than attend any kind of school meeting or function.
    I’m so glad it’s behind me now … and I miraculously still have both arms intact 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’m so glad we’re finished with school. I hate those extortion tactics and the guilt trip they employ.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bringin’ back some not-so-fond memories. Both of mine are out of high school, but those meetings and extra-curricular get-togethers were painful. And when it came to hawking whatever crazy, useless item they were sent home with, to try to sell to our hapless friends and co-workers, I uttered the exact same thing – just tell me who to make the check out to.

    Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Luanne says:

    I am that way about all meetings. I feel they are a waste of time. They do good by putting people face to face, but then it’s all downhill from there. Tick tock, time suck. But I did like going to my kids classes and meeting their teachers and seeing what they were doing. That was the fun part!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. marianallen says:

    They’re taking your children away to a wonderful place? Is it the Indiana Academy or a field trip or what?

    Yeah, when they read from the slides, I close my eyes and pretend I’m blind and I NEED them to read it. When somebody starts asking questions that have a) already been answered or b) are obvious (assuming it isn’t me who’s asking), I pretend I’m deaf, too. Sit there going, “La, la, la,” and telling myself stories, like I did when I was 4 and in Time Out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      National competition in another state.
      And wow, no one has said Indiana Academy to me in a looooong time. 🙂

      Your techniques are so wise, Miss Marian, I shall try them out on my own next time.


  15. loisajay says:

    Oh, Lord help me. Thankfully those days are long gone. And I was the PTA president for one year! In high school, the parents had to go to these godawful meetings to pick up our kids report cards. Reading from PowerPoint? How about a boss at work who still does that. Just kill me now…..

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You’re right. School meetings in general can be so mind-numbing. I don’t really enjoy any kind of organized gathering whose purpose is to disperse information. Like you, at the end of a day, I want to be comfortable: Yoga clothes, make-up and jewelry free, a cat in my lap, and a cup of tea in my hand. Great post! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Chez Shea says:

    I’m with you on this. Am totally allergic to parent events at schools. Love your summary of the speech!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. bikerchick57 says:

    I may not have experience with school meetings at 8 p.m., but I have sat through a few sessions of death by PowerPoint. If someone is going to present, they need to learn the material so that they don’t have to read from the screen. It’s a sure way to put everyone into a meeting coma.

    I LOL’d at the annual convention cartoon. Tis true!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Anxious Mom says:

    Those parent meetings are the worst. I hold a deep grudge against the mom of a kid in LM’s class. This woman takes fucking NOTES, despite having a handout with the info on it, and then asks questions that — like your parent — have answers on the projector. She absolutely kills me. She’s the one person I’ve been intentionally a dick to by shooting down her FB request and declining an offer to team up on some project our kids were doing and other stuff. “She’s trying to be your friend!” Sam shamed me. 🙄


  20. Judy Martin says:

    I HATE parent evenings. My daughter is a bit of a handful at times and on one of these evenings we had to talk to her Maths teacher who obviously didn’t like her, and could barely hide the fact. I wanted to knock her out!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. John Holton says:

    I had three days’ worth of meetings (that started on a SUNDAY, mind you, because the guy running them was an idiot) where we spent the majority of time sitting in a dimly-lit room while presenter after presenter read his PowerPoints to us. I now understand Purgatory…

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Been there, done that, threw that t-shirt away but I remember like it was yesterday. Some things you never forget. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. timGothic says:

    hahaahhaa hilarious!!!


  24. dalecooper57 says:

    Parent meetings? What are they?
    Oh damn, I must have been at work, that’s a shame.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I was evil at one meeting and nominated my absentee husband for school governor. He was voted in. I now have a free pass on all PTA meetings as he has to go to all of them. Take that! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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