Last Thursday night, Mini Me and I took an overnight trip with her Girl Scout troop to Sea World in San Diego. Besides it being 30 straight hours of non-stop activity, it was an amazing trip. We were part of Camp Sea World – for a very reasonable fee we were given a t-shirt, fed dinner, took part in group activities, got to see a Shamu show, fed bat rays and sea lions, got fed breakfast, and got to spend the next day playing in the park on our own.
Where did we sleep?
Next to the mother-fucking beluga whales. I swear. I had whales swimming next to my head while I (barely) slept. It was freezing.
It was the most awesome thing EVER.
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I like to think of myself as an observer. Meaning, I generally will just sit back and watch people instead of interacting with them. Great for street photography…not so much for building relationships with humans.
I think I did pretty well this time. I smiled, I conversed, I was fun. I don’t want to go as far as saying that I was the “cool mom” among all the Junior girls…but…I was. I was the cool mom. I sat with the girls at the meals, made jokes with them, and walked with them in the park. I supervised them without them actually realizing I was supervising. I hung out. They knew I was the boss, but we had fun. Except on the bus. I kept my distance. I needed my damn peace sometime.
Chaperoning. I was doing it right.
There is a wrong way and a right way to chaperon an outing or field trip with a group of kids. Some examples of “wrong chaperoning” include, but are not limited to:
The “I’m Not Here To Babysit Someone Else’s Kid” Dumbass
I actually heard one of the moms in my group say this. Um, actually Bitchy McBitchface, that is exactly what you are here to do. By signing up as a chaperon, you are taking responsibility for the kids that may not have a parent with them. You are even taking responsibility for the kids that do have parents with them, if needed. Dumbass.
The Under-Prepared Dumbass Chaperon
The same mom that didn’t want to watch anyone else’s kid evidently didn’t want to properly pack for the trip, either. She made sure her child had $80 to spend on shit in the stores, but didn’t bring sleeping bags or even blankets for her or her girl to sleep in. She didn’t forget them…she chose not to bring any. Maybe she’s a single mom and couldn’t buy any. I get that. I totally do. But don’t wait until we are all getting ready for bed and say that you didn’t bring sleeping bags. Say something before hand. Send out an email to the other parents asking if anyone can bring extra. Make up an excuse – say you hate camping and don’t own a sleeping bag. Ask your friends or your coworkers. Bring the fucking bedspread off your bed. Don’t just assume it will be fine if you don’t. They gave us a list of things we should bring for a reason. Use it. Dumbass.
The Over-Prepared Dumbass Chaperon
Some of these ladies packed like we were going away for a month. Good job to the ones that packed little first aid kits. Bravo. You did better than me. But the coolers full of food, bags full of shit to keep your kid busy, and the suitcase full of 10 outfits? Not necessary. You are lucky that they let us store some stuff in the bus.
That goes for you, too, mom that made sure she had a full face of makeup on before she would go to breakfast. Dumbass.
I fell in between these two types. My only regret is that I didn’t bring a backpack for my stuff that I needed to carry in the park. A purse and a camera bag was a little much.
The Dumbass Chaperon That Brings the Younger Sibling
Just don’t. I understand you don’t want the little one to feel left out. Oh well. Life is fucking hard and we don’t always get everything we want. Boo hoo. Make your spouse or some other person watch that younger kid and make this trip about what it should be about – having some special time between you and one of your children. You will miss out on that time while you are tending to the whiny little shit that your youngest will become as soon as you get on the bus. And while you have to leave the group to go to the area for young kids because they are too little to ride the same rides as your other child. Trust me. Just do it again when your youngest is old enough, dumbass.
The Dumbass, Pretentious Chaperon That Drives Themselves
There is always one. They choose to ride in their own vehicle with their child while everyone else rides in the bus. These are the worst ones. Do you know what you are doing? You are alienating your child because you want to be more comfortable.
During these trips, it is the bus ride where the friends are made. It determines who your child spends time with for the rest of the trip. Kids that may not give each other a second glance away from a field trip will suddenly become BFFs on the bus ride. I saw this first hand.
There was a mom who chose to drive herself, her mother, and her daughter in their fancy SUV to San Diego. They arrived later than everyone else because they chose not to leave with the rest of the group. They needed to stop at Target to go on a “We’re Going on an Overnight Trip and Oh Shit I Don’t Own a Camping Roll That It Says We Should Bring So I Should Buy Everything New” shopping trip. I know this because everything they unpacked out of their car still had the damn price tags hanging off or was still in the box. That poor little girl was stuck with her mom and grandma the entire time. She missed the friend-making session. Her mom bought a sleeping bag that the both of them could fit in, so she wasn’t even sleeping with the other girls. They broke off from most of their group the next day in the park. Her mom even took off her daughter’s group shirt. It made me sad. That little girl missed out.
Don’t be a dumbass. Just ride in the bus, make nice, and let your kid have the time of their life with the other kids. If you need to tell yourself that you’re better than everybody else and you can’t believe you’re slumming it, do it but keep it to yourself. All with a smile on your face.
What other kinds of crappy chaperones have you come across? What did I miss?
Are you one of these people? It’s ok to share. We won’t laugh at you too much.