Sophie had a talent show at day camp today. Of course, parents were invited to attend. Of course, I had no intention of attending and conveniently forgot about it until I parked the car in front of the camp this morning and Sophie said, “Mommy, my talent show is today. Are you and Papa going to come?” I then did the unthinkable. I rolled my eyes. A lot. And I turned around, looked my daughter in her pools of brown eyes and responded, “No, sweetheart. I have a busy day at work and I don’t think I am going to be able to make it. Besides, I go to all your school shows and camp shows just aren’t as important.”
That has to rank as one of most idiotic answers I’ve ever given my kids. Of course, she started to cry. And I quickly had a vision of a time far into the future. And what I saw in my head was extremely disturbing: a young, curly-head woman, drowning her sorrows in red wine and lamenting the fact that she was entering her fifth year in intensive therapy, all because her mommy didn’t attend her camp talent show. That image was enough to convince me that I absolutely had to shuffle my schedule around so that I wouldn’t miss Sophie standing among a group of 20 five-year olds singing “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid.”
Kids are coddled way too much these days. Do parents really need to be invited to each and every school and camp event? Why isn’t it enough for the kids to entertain each other? For families where both parents are wage earners, it’s not so easy to skip out of the office for a couple of hours for performances that last one minute. Yes, one minute.
When I was a kid, my parents came to a few events. But they were milestone events like visiting day at sleepaway camp and high school graduation. So – consider this a message to all adults who work with kids. Lay off the freakin’ talent shows. If you can’t resist them, don’t get kids’ hopes up that their parents will be coming to watch them perform. It’s simply not fair to raise children’s expectations to the level of “I’m going to throw a tantrum if my mommy doesn’t see me shake my booty to a stupid Disney song.”