Southern Legitimacy Statement: … a short story I wrote about Debra, her big ideas about school drop off, and the special brand of passive aggression that can only be found in Southern mom groups. The story is loosely based on an actual exchange from my group in an affluent Dallas neighborhood.
Lost Raven Moms Yahoo Group
In the serene little neighborhood of Lost Raven, Debra was fed up with the carpool situation. Little Brady deserved better. The Lost Raven Elementary carpool line was a shit show, Debra sighed as she sipped her morning chai.
Completely ignoring the inevitable calamity and fueled by self-righteousness, Debra posted to Lost Raven Moms Yahoo Group.
She logged on and read a few posts.
I lost it today in Chick-Fil-A. My kids were hanging all over me. And then my 3yo dropped his nuggets. I’m a bad mom.
The vulnerable one. Debra instantly crafted a response just for this sweet yet weak soul.
Mommin’ ain’t easy, sister. oxox
Her manicured index finger swiped upward.
I know this has gone around like a million times but who is the HVAC guy in Lost Raven? TIA!!!
Debra shook her head.
It’s Dustin Davis. I’ll DM you his contact info.
It was time to add some gravitas to this discourse. A list of suggestions about drop off and pick up.
Hi LRE parents!
It’s cold out there so more people are using carpool. We need to make carpool more efficient so kiddos can get to school on time.
Debra took a big bite of her gluten-free English muffin. Then confident fingers flew across her iPhone keypad.
Here’s a few guidelines:
Don’t park on the south side of Lost Raven Lane.
Don’t come uphill on Lost Raven Lane. Use Meadowbrook.
Make a left at the intersection no matter what.
Finally, pull away from the carpool line once your child has left the car.
Debra pushed “send.” Not even an inkling that she’d just kicked a hornet’s nest of passive aggression.
Debra clicked her tongue. What happened? Was it just the cold weather? It seems like the crossing guard was doing such a good job of keeping things moving. Debra pondered as she absently surfed Instagram.
Her phone dinged. The mom group.
First came the murmurs of agreement. A resounding yes from a few bipartisan, concerned moms.
What happened to carpool?
If everyone just read the Raven Memo, this wouldn’t be an issue.
If everyone made left turns at all intersections surrounding the school, carpool would run fine.
I substitute teach at St. Peter’s and their carpool runs like a well-oiled machine.
For a fleeting moment of self-congratulation, Debra felt terrific. Other moms agreed with her. She ignored the urge to correct Colleen who dared add to the original list of rules. The list was fine. Sit down, Colleen.
You know who’s to blame for this? The dads!
I have to agree here. The dads are always in a rush.
Debra began humming “Jesus Take the Wheel.” She added “Take it from that dad” to the lyrics and chortled at her cleverness.
I heard someone ‘told on’ our crossing guard because he was directing traffic. He’s supposed to cross the students. If he gets caught again, he’s getting fired.
What? Not Walt! He’s the only reason carpool was moving efficiently.
He told me yesterday that everyone has to stop at the stop sign. He can’t wave people through.
Well, someone deputize him. Isn’t Sherriff Coley’s wife on here? This is the first time I’ve felt safe in Lost Raven. And I’ve lived here for over ten years.
My husband can’t deputize the crossing guard.
I bet an old person called.
What? Only a communist would tell on Walt. A little voice urged “Chime in, Deb.” She purposefully tuned out the sneaky feeling of regret. Maybe she shouldn’t have emailed in the first place?
Then came Colleen again.
Someone should call the city or the district and see about getting a sign.
And are you going to call, Colleen? Debra and Colleen had been playing this game since kinder. Colleen was all suggestions and no follow through. Irksome at best. Insufferable at worst.
Well, when I call “the city” tomorrow, Debra thought to herself, it will be to erect a bronze statue for you, Colleen. I’m sure they already have one in the works. Or they don’t. Because you’ve never called “the city” in your life. Because you know calling the city is death by minutiae.
Sit down, Colleen!
But before Debra could even respond (now she was ready), Janice posted. Janice was a working mom and her inbox was clogged.
For the love of everything holy, please stop hitting reply all. This isn’t a chat room. It’s an email thread.
Oh Janice, what have you done?
There’s a way to send these emails to an inbox so you can read them at your leisure. Would you like me to show you?
Ooh, good one. Is this what my teenage daughter calls “shade”? Debra felt her heart quicken, like when she won the tennis tournament because Kerry Cardigan dislocated her shoulder.
This Yahoo group actually is a group chat. You get the emails because your settings in Yahoo are set to send them.
There’s a way to send a daily digest so you don’t get all of them.
I think we should hit reply all when it’s a conversation about our children and their safety.
If you are emailing everyone, aren’t you part of the problem, Janice?
I called the city. They are going to investigate. Should take about 10 business days though. I copied in the work order if someone else wants to follow up.
Thank you, Kate! I’ll gladly hit reply all to that.
Finally, someone with brains and the time to follow through. Debra didn’t have the time. Besides this thread was getting messy. Why do women always do this to each other?
Like Victor Frankenstein looking at his mottled monster, Debra reread the thread and felt queasy. There was only one thing to do: email again. Be the light they need.