A Few Good Moms: Can you handle the truth about rock star parenting?

There’s really only room for one rock star parent in most it you?
There’s really only room for one rock star parent in most it you? Getty Images/iStockphoto

The mom tells her son that he needs to turn off the TV until after he finishes his homework. She gently removes the bag of pretzels from her daughter’s hand and reminds her that dinner is in fifteen minutes and to please set the table. As the dad’s car pulls into the driveway the kids begin shrieking and jumping like crazed groupies, and race out of the door to greet him with lavish hugs and enthusiastic chatter.

You want the truth about rock star parents? I think you can handle it.

Children adore rock star parents. Adventure and excitement follow them wherever they go. Rock star parents come from a glorious place of yes. Every audacious idea seems like a good one.

Rock star parents always participate in the game, even if it is tackle football or lake landing zip line or paintball wars.

Usually families are able to accommodate only one rock star parent – otherwise you would have total chaos. But don’t confuse rock star status with coolness. We conscientious parents are cool. Because you know what’s super cool? Getting where you need to be on time, having clean clothes when you need something to wear, and getting a square meal when you are famished. Even the Osbournes with an actual rock star for a parent had to have steadfast Sharon there to keep it all running smoothly. And to translate for Ozzy.

I think my kids get that both sides of the parenting coin are valuable. But there are certain times when the rock star parent is clearly the more desirable choice. Like when you need a parent to accompany you on the annual 4th grade Oceanography Club field trip to the Outer Banks. My husband went with my oldest two years ago, and in true rock star fashion had a hurricane skirt the coast while he was there. There were gazillion-foot waves and other adventures and drama. But it was awesome! Rock on!

So now it was my turn.

My youngest was very excited about the trip with his classmates. His face lit up when he heard folks talking about parasailing during the beach day free time . . . until he looked at me, the lackluster mom who was afraid of heights and who preferred reading her book to most anything else. “That’s ok, we don’t have to do it,” he said sadly.

Several of his friends were going up in the air with their moms. And all of a sudden I wanted more than anything to be the one that rocks it out. “Oh, we’re doing it, ” I answered, completely surprising my son. He jumped up and down and almost broke his face with his huge smile. I hoped his enthusiasm would keep me from passing out when the time came to make good on my rock star posturing.

The day of our adventure three sets of moms and boys boarded our boat and took off. After the first pair did their stint it was our turn. I was relieved to realize that this involved a gentle ascent upwards and not the violent ski-behind-the-boat-get-thrown-into-the-air scenario my overactive imagination originally envisioned. We were, however, going to be attached to 800 feet of rope. I held my breath as we were lifted off the platform at the back of the boat. We swooped higher and higher.

Suddenly everyone on the boat began gesturing and pointing at my son, shouting something I could not understand. My chest tightened in panic as we continued upwards and I realized that he was not properly positioned “swing-like” on his seat. Everyone on the boat was hollering at me to let go of my straps and adjust the contraption under his bottom.

I would like to tell you that my maternal instinct clicked in right away and I immediately saved my son from a sky-high extreme wedgie. But realizing that he wasn’t in danger, just discomfort, I must admit my prevailing instinct was to keep holding on to my own damn straps in a super human death grip. Finally I mustered up enough courage to let go, but quickly. “You pull up and I’ll push under,” I said, and working together we got it all straightened out.

And it was really awesome. Talk about getting a fresh perspective – we certainly enjoyed one up there in the clouds overlooking the stunning blue water around Ocracoke Island. Later when my son was asked about his favorite part of the trip, he proudly announced it was parasailing with his mom.

Of course, soon enough we were back on the home front and I was reminding everyone to eat their veggies and to put on their helmets. Only time will tell if our adventure was just a one-hit-wonder, but the truth is, stepping out of my comfort zone for my kid and the subsequent memories we made has granted me immediate induction into the motherhood rock and roll hall of fame.

Want to get a better handle on rock star parenting? Consider planning a family adventure at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, while you jam to the coolest rock and roll anthem ever with superstar Joan Jett.