The 4 a.m. Moms I Want to Punch in the Throat

When it was time for Joey and Slim to go to preschool, they had to go their separate ways. Slim's preschool was already decided because of his entrance into an Early Childhood special education program at our neighborhood public school. I attempted to put Joey into the one preschool I knew anything about - which also happened to be the most popular preschool in my area of the city. The director assured me that if I just got there a few minutes before registration time - 7:30 a.m. - it would be fine, and my child would get a spot.

I arrived a little after 7 a.m. I figured it wouldn't hurt to get there early. Imagine my surprise when I saw smiling moms exiting the building looking very satisfied. Confused, I continued along the line until I was finally inside the building. It turns out, every class was full already and Joey was put on a waiting list. Near tears, I was caught by an assistant working registration and I asked her how it could fill up so quickly.

"Oh, Miss Alice felt sorry for all the moms who showed up at 4:30 this morning. She figured they were so cold sitting in their cars (it was February), so she let them in at 6:00 to register."

I felt absolutely duped. No, I was down-right pissed off! All the spots were filled before registration had even officially begun! Why would she tell me there was "no need to come early" if she was going to let people in early? And how did these moms know to come early?

Well, in talking to other women at my gym, they all said, "Oh, yes, of course." One mom chimed in, "You have to get there by at least 4:30. Everyone does. Wait until they open camp sign up here at the gym. I got here at 4:15, and there were women already waiting. All the spots were filled two minutes after registration opened."

Right then and there, I made a mental note to myself that I would never, ever get up at 4:00 a.m. to sign my boys up for anything. And everything turned out just fine in the end, as I found a great preschool within walking distance from our house.

This is the kind of scenario that Jen Mann calls out in her new book People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges. Over two years ago I kept seeing this blog, "People I Want to Punch in the Throat." I thought to myself, Who would name their blog that? I'm never reading that blog. 

The joke was on me because shortly after that, I had the pleasure of meeting Jen. And then I understood and became hooked. Jen sees people doing stupid, mean, or ridiculous things and calls them out on it (like this douchebag). Her observations are so astute, so accurate, and so right on-point that you can hardly help but to agree. She is the hardworking genius behind two best-selling anthologies (one to which I had the pleasure of contributing, I Just Want to Be Alone (I Just Want to Pee Alone) (Volume 2), and a Christmas book, Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat.

I was lucky enough to score an advance copy of her new book, and I absolutely loved it! I lost track of how many times I laughed out loud or nodded my head in complete agreement with her depictions of suburban moms. It's biting, it's comedically on-point, and it's an oh-so-true hyperbole of the competitive moms we all know. To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure it's hyperbole if we all know someone like the moms she describes. The only way you're not going to like this book is if you ARE one of these moms (take the quiz here); and even then, Jen gives you a mirror and the ability to laugh at yourself.

I played a little game with Jen called "Either/or, Neither/nor" using some of the scenarios in her book. Let's hear what she had to say:

Me: Okay Jen, would you rather wear a bikini or a thong to the neighborhood pool party? 
Jen: Oh goodness, both would an assault on my poor neighbors. I guess bikini, because I'd rather be sucking it in the whole time instead of picking at the butt floss.

Me: Let's say your van goes haywire and you die in a fiery crash. Would you rather the Hubs remarry Allison or Marlene?
Jen: Neither. I want him to remain a widower his entire life, because no one could ever measure up to the amazing wife I was. (Did the sarcasm font work on that one?) No. If I had to choose, I'd choose Marlene, because I know she'd be good to my kids.

Me: Playdate with Evelyn or Agnes? 
Jen: Agnes totally. Her mother is lovely.

Me: Getting up at 4 a.m. for camp sign-up or working all day at the school carnival? 
Jen: All day at the school carnival. At least it doesn't start until 10.

Me: Plastic surgery or Mother's Little Helper? 
Jen: Mother's Little Helper. I'm afraid of scalpels and if I take enough drugs I won't even notice how saggy my breasts have become.

Me: Sex Toy Party or Mom's Night Out at the gun range? 
Jen: Hmmm, this one is tough. I'd say the gun range because I can blow off some steam, it's cheaper than the sex toy party, and when I come home the Hubs gives me my space.

Me: Do your kid's craft or write your kid's report? 
Jen: Craft. I love my glue gun more than researching local government.

Me: And finally, I am making you choose - The Hubs or the Cleaning Lady? 
Jen: Such a cruel question. Of course, I choose The Hubs. We can live in filth together I guess. 

Are you curious now? You should be. There are so many ways you can get your hands on a copy of any one of Jen's hilarious books. Check out how right here. (Of course, there are some people who actually want to ban this book). If you've read the book, leave her a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Check out the blog here, and follow Jen on Facebook and Twitter

And yes, she is a crafter, so you can also follow her on Pinterest

You know you want to read it. 

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