A few months back, I signed my 11-year-old up to be a Girl Scout. By chance on a windy autumn afternoon, I had run into her old babysitter at the park, who is now a Troop Leader. After a few minutes of listening to her gushing on about wonderful, life-building skill stories worthy of a Hallmark movie, I decided my girl needed to be a part of this.
I knew a little bit of the deal. I knew that they expect you, as parents, to be a part of what is happening, and I was relatively good with that. However, for the small 1 ½ hour meeting once a week, I at least expected to have a tiny reprieve from one child – and not have to sit there with my 2 younger girls in tow, trying to hold onto the small threads of sanity I have left.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Girl Scouts! I was one myself (briefly) as a young girl, and I fully agree with, and support their moral code, ethics, and all they are about.
I just don’t want to do it myself.
After all, I didn’t sign up to be a Mom Scout in Training. My girl is there because I thought it would be super for her to see other girls – the important thing here is these are girls her age – doing amazing things for the community, thinking of others. I want her to learn compassion, better sharing skills, and mainly the fact that this great big blue ball we live on does not simply rotate on its axis for her alone.
The first event I brought my daughter to the following weekend was a treetop zipline adventure. It sounded fun, and I was thrilled that she was able to participate. I show up there late, rushing in with all the permission papers / sign-up forms in hand, along with my check made out to the Girl Scouts. One of the leaders took my stuff, asking “are you sure you can’t go?”
Wait, let me double-check. The last time I glanced down, I had a baby dangling from my left arm, scrambling to get loose, and a 4-year-old hiding behind my right leg, who I was desperately trying to make sure she didn’t pull down my yoga pants. “No, I am not able to right now.” Unless they had some secret monkey babysitters hiding up in those trees, these feet were staying firmly planted on the round.
Which brings us to the New Year. Before this latest meeting, I got an e-mail with a subject line about “Cookie Season” being upon us. We all know that Girl Scouts and their cookies are as synonymous as chicken nuggets and French fries, right? I get it.
I will admit I didn’t even open that e-mail. Whoops, my poor inbox is overflowing enough, and cookies were not high enough on my priority scale. I figured I’d hear all about it when she got home that night after the cookie meeting.
Well. I get voicemail call while my daughter is at a Scouts meeting. “What was that?” I’m thinking as I listen to the message. “I was supposed to be there at this meeting and listen to some talk about cookie selling objectives? Seriously?” I had 2 naked littles in the bathtub that I was scrambling to wash. I threw them both in their jammies and made it just in time to get The Pamphlet, and hear The Motivational Cookie Speech.
As the Troupe Leader chattered on, and after hearing about how you could potentially sell to every single person on Earth (i.e., the mailman, your bus driver, that bum on the corner…) she started peppering her own daughters about the past year, when I think they each sold about 50,000 boxes each of cookies. Or something like that.
“And what did we do on the bad weather days?” she asks them. Glowing triumphantly. “We walked in the wind, rain, and snow – that one time I fell backwards into a ditch,” her daughter recalls proudly.
Look. I’m all about this cookie thing. Honestly – I figure it shouldn’t be too difficult, and I’m not exactly taking a poll here, but I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like a good cookie. They even have a gluten-free option now for-goodness-sakes.
However, I have this crazy little thing called My Own Life. I didn’t sign my daughter up so that I could turn into the “Most Awesome Cookie Mom in the World”. I don’t want that title. I honestly don’t give two flying shits about who actually gets to have that title.
Good for them. Teach my daughter the great stuff, please and thank-you (!), goodness knows I need the extra help. I’ll drop her off, pick her up, and try my very best to get her to attend all of these incredibly important, life-altering activities that you have planned.
I’m simply not going give the Girl Scouts my soul, and you better bet your cookies I’m not selling them for her either.
About the author: Elizabeth Helmich started her blog http://thecrumbsofmylife.wordpress.com as a creative outlet to share lighthearted stories, reflect on deeper issues, and find a real escape from the fake social media world. She lives in the mountains of Western NC with her husband and 3 daughters. When she’s not writing her head off, she’s hiking or creating knitwear at http://countingsheepstudio.com.