Cropped hand of athlete holding trophy against spotlights

Publisher’s view: Trophy mom

Ashley Sexton GordonA new school year is beginning (hip, hop, hooray) and with it another chance for my kids to get medals and ribbons and certificates stating that they are even more awesome than they think they are, and they can move on to the next level. I’m clearing off dressers now to make room for the new bling. I’m doing this right. Because I deserve a few trophies myself.

In this day of everyone gets an award for everything, we are completely forgetting a super-awesome-needs-recognition segment of the population: The Moms. Most of us went through primary school with nary a helicopter parent in sight. How did we manage? Ask our therapists. But I can assure you that there were years, years, when my mother did not come to eat lunch with me in the cafeteria. What in the heck was she doing? Not sure, but I think it was called a life. It worked because no one else’s mom ate lunch with them either. Today, parents are popping into school around the clock for volunteer activities galore, and if you don’t at least grace campus once in a while you look negligent.

So here are a few trophies that moms (and dads) should get just for raising kids of today:

1. Entering the cafeteria. That’s right, I said entering. Because just stepping into this food factory can time warp you back to second grade. It smells the same, and not in a pleasant way. Not to mention that you are cramming your adult-size rump into child-size chairs to push around food on a tray at 10:47 a.m. to eat with your seven-year-old. Here’s your trophy.

2. Chaperoning a field trip. I know, I know, it’s a blast. You get to watch your child with his or her friends outside of the classroom while learning exactly how that pencil got stuck in the ceiling of the Senate chamber in the Louisiana State Capitol (spoiler alert: bomb explosion). If you have multiple children, you will go on multiple field trips per year and will become such an expert on all things Louisiana that you can give the guided tours at the U.S.S. Kidd and will be overheard saying at any given antebellum home, “The beds were shorter because people were so much shorter back then.” This statement is false, by the way, but you’ve heard it so much you say it with conviction. Here’s your trophy.

3. Throwing a birthday party. As Tiny Tim would say, “God bless us, every one.” Because marking these milestones has become such a production that some former two-car families are resorting to one parent biking to work just to pay for birthday parties of multiple children. Ponies, fireworks, food trucks and a balloon artist are par for the course. Let’s jack it up a bit and hire drivers to take the kiddos to New Orleans for the day (I can do the guided tour!). Because my baby is turning 11. Here’s your trophy.

4. Making it magical. I agree with you. There wasn’t enough whimsy in childhood. So I’m thrilled that Elf on the Shelf came along right around the time that my first child turned two. Now, every night of the holidays I have to remember to move that precocious witness-of-all-good-and-evil in our home to various locales while sometimes throwing in a crazy scene to prove he’s fun (ahem, I’m fun). Let’s not even mention the recent addition of more crazy magic with a St. Patty’s Day leprechaun that tramps through your house or the St. Nicholas Day celebration of candy-filled shoes (this is a Dutch holiday; we are American, kids). Mom master of the magic? Here’s your trophy.

5. Traveling sports. Our kids are incredible athletes. Incredible. And there aren’t enough other incredible athletes in the city to play, so let’s go to Houma. For the weekend. And stay in a hotel with the team. Let’s go to Sulphur. I mean, they are bringing in teams from Houston! And those teams are awesome. So we might lose the tournament early. After staying in a hotel in Sulphur. And wearing a bedazzled T-shirt. Here’s your trophy. And the number to my therapist.

Certainly, we do it to ourselves. We don’t want to be discussed and discarded as a mom who doesn’t care. I care, I really do. Or a mom who is too into herself. See, I haven’t colored my roots in two months, people! Or a trophy mom who is trying to be a trophy wife instead. I haven’t worked out since May. And I just ate a bundt cake for breakfast. We all deserve trophies. We are on the same team. And we are #winning. In the meantime, I’ve got carpool to make and I like to get there early. Just hope my trusty bike holds up.