It’s hard to avoid hearing about the Ks. In supermarket checkout lines, their faces, boobs and butts festoon magazine covers, with headlines screaming about sex tapes, cheating, divorces and drugs.
This “famous for being famous” family has (or had?) a reality show on TV. Talk show hosts joke about the dad’s plastic-looking plastic surgery results, the mom’s pretty much everything, the older girls’ weddings, the days-long marriage and the “directionally” named baby.
Like many Americans, my middle-school-age daughter can’t seem to divert her eyes.
In all fairness, I know precious little about this blended family. I have never seen the reality show and don’t read the tabloids. However, I’ve heard enough to believe that the girls have nothing to offer my daughter, and couldn’t possibly serve as positive role models. So, after Pea quoted the show one too many times, I banned it.
Yes, I exercised the “Mommy Veto.”
We all know that mothers, as top executives of the household, hold this power. It comes in handy when absolute reason won’t work, when a vote has taken place and mom is in the minority or when we just inherently know that a course of action is wrong.
This is also known as the “Because I said so” or “Because I’m the mom” argument.
I have used the veto to negate our family’s democratic process on several occasions (“we all voted and decided the next vacation should be at Disneyland”) and I have employed it to ban plenty of activities, from playing violent video games to attending sleepovers to wearing sweatpants to school.
Now, let me take a moment to state that if you have no idea what show or family I am discussing, no worries. I barely know who they are myself.
And, because I don’t want to bolster my reasoning with actual facts, which would require my watching the show, I need to trust my gut and just say no.
I think my daughter – who is still quite sweet and compliant – really has stayed away from the TV program. At least she stopped mentioning the family, primarily because I said she couldn’t even utter the last name in our home or around me.
That “around me” took on new meaning when I found myself in Los Angeles with Pea and her friend Smiley not long ago. Like many visitors to the area, they were on the lookout for stars, and mentioned several they hoped to meet.
When the “K” name came up, I took advantage of the “teaching moment.” “Honestly, girls, why would you want to see them? They are famous for all the wrong reasons. They don’t actually do anything. They haven’t contributed to society in a positive way.”
The girls tried to argue the girls’ virtues, and, after gaining no ground, took a new tack. “The younger two are okay,” Smiley avowed. “Those girls didn’t ask to be famous. They don’t want to do the show. They volunteer at an animal shelter. Their dad [that Olympian whose last name starts with a J] hates doing the show, too.”
I listened to Smiley and Pea, and replied, “Those ‘J’ girls are about your age, so they should be working on their educations, not out partying. They should do something worthwhile with their lives, and if I see them, I’ll tell them just that.”
Pea was aghast, and screamed, “Mom, you wouldn’t!”
My reply: “Oh, you’d better believe I would. I would have no problem setting those girls straight.”
At this point, while the conversation was all in fun for me, I’m not sure Pea and Smiley thought I was joking.
Which is why they both panicked a bit, the next afternoon, when they spotted a lanky teenage girl walking towards us in Studio City’s quaint shopping district.
“That’s one of the J girls,” Smiley whispered. “I know it is. She’s with her friend [whomever].”
The fact that Pea also recognized the girl, and knew of the friend, set off an internal alarm. I made a mental “We’ll discuss this later” note.
So, yes, there I was, face to face with the celebrity I had banned from my house and my daughter’s vocabulary, the same girl I had promised to “set straight.”
Both Pea and Smiley stopped dead in their tracks, and looked at me quite nervously. “You aren’t going to say anything, are you?” Smiley asked.
“Of course I will,” I challenged. “I’m going to give her the ‘what-what.’ “ Pea was praying, almost visibly, that I was bluffing.
We smiled at the gorgeous girl and her buddy, and watched as they entered the store we had just exited.
After the girls in my charge calmed down, Smiley announced, “I’m going in to ask for a photo. She’s really nice; I’m sure she’ll say yes.”
“If she agrees, I’ll take the photo,” I offered.
“Please, please don’t say anything to her,” Pea begged.
I kept up the charade a little longer. “Maybe I’ll just suggest she get a real job when she’s older.”
Of course, the very sweet-seeming 15-year-old “J girl” agreed to a photo. And, after seeing her up close, all I could utter was, “Wow, you have amazingly beautiful eyes.”
We’ll see if Pea takes me seriously the next time I make a threat. Meanwhile, the show, the magazines, and both the K and J words remain on the banned list. Why? Because I’m the mom.
–Linda Williams Rorem, 28 Oct. 2013
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