MADGE to the Rescue
By Julie Davidson
I spoke with a friend the other night who was frustrated after a long day of unexpectedly entertaining other parents and their children. She explained that she really didn’t feel like company, but she didn’t want to appear rude either. So she ended up hosting an afternoon of fun, food, and games at her house.
Maybe something similar has happened to you. You run into a parent as you’re picking up your own kid from school and her child asks her, “Mom, can I go to their house and play?” Before you can muster up a good excuse, your own child is jumping up and down shrieking, “Yeah Mom, can they come over? PUHLEAZE!!!” The kind of pleading that comes with a big cheesy grin.
Within seconds, you realize that the other parent is totally down for this impromptu play date. But after an already crazy day of meetings, phone calls, and text messages, your brain isn’t working fast enough to utter an excuse not to host this gathering. But in your mind you’re thinking about the laundry, the shopping, the back pack mail, the runny noses, the homework, the calls you need to make to the doctor, tonight’s dinner, and tomorrow’s lunch.
Just before you snap out of it, you hear, “Do you mind? I can pick him up in three hours.”
Now in your mind, you might think, Yeah, I mind! I’m not running a day care and a shuttle service. My house is a mess, and we haven’t had a meal that didn’t include microwave instructions in more than three weeks. I have a headache. My feet are sore. And I have my period!
But you don’t want to be that mom. So you force a smile and answer the other mom, “Well, sure. That would be fine.”
As I was talking with my friend about her day with a house full of kids and parents, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a way we could let other moms know we’ve had a long day and need to minimize stress. Then it came to me: We need a Mom badge. We need MADGE! It’s a badge that we could wear that would let other moms know we’re having a rough day. Then we wouldn’t have to actually give details of our horrible day.
When you see a mom wearing a MADGE, you know to go easy on her and not add any more to her plate. You could give her a hug, a kind word, or a Starbucks gift card. You’d know not to burden her with extra kids, ask her what happened at the PTO meeting, comment about her colicky baby, or ask her for another parent’s email address, stamp, spare pen, or ibuprofin. And above all else, do not ask for her MADGE.
You’ve probably already earned your own.