Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Mum War (according to this mum)

Homecoming mums are a hot topic right now at Reedy High School in Frisco, TX, and it's all our fault.

Well, actually, it's my 14-year-old daughter Ellie's fault.  Our sweet, unassuming, and beautiful girl decided to try something new, to run with an idea, and to embrace simplicity.  She created an option for herself and others where the only previous choice was "Go Big or Go Home."

Rather than explain Ellie's concept, here's the video that she created to share the idea.



When the video was posted to Reedy High School's social media and Facebook page on September 3rd, Ellie was immediately catapulted into the public eye.  Channel 5 news wanted to speak with her right away, as well as the Dallas Morning News and even sponsors who wanted to participate.  A news reporter came to the school the very next day to do a feature story, and Dr. Rick Reedy himself emailed Ellie to let her know that he'd like to take the challenge, asking her to choose 4 special needs students who will receive his mums.

Ellie was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and very grateful.  What she didn't expect was that she had inadvertently started a mum war.  According to the NBC Channel 5 report, 71% people agreed that the TX mum tradition had spiraled out of control and needed downsizing, but 29% felt that the larger-than-life mums were a beloved tradition.

Suddenly what began as a message that "simple is beautiful, too" turned into "us and them", right or wrong, old vs. new.  And the biggest fighters in the mum battle?  Moms.

Moms either love mums or hate them- there seems to be no middle ground.  I've heard from moms who feel that their daughters shouldn't be caught dead wearing something that big, and moms who can't wait to have their daughters finally receive a massive mum.  Moms whose sons just want to make their girlfriends happy, and moms whose sons detest the tradition.  Moms from TX who have proudly grown up with grandiose mums, and moms from out of state who will never understand it.  Moms who find the larger mums beautiful and a prized keepsake, and moms who prefer simplicity.

The reality is that everyone is free to choose, but at Reedy High School, there is finally a new option in place that wasn't there before.  You are free to take the Reedy Mum Challenge to receive a real chrysanthemum and donate to charity, but you are also free to design a larger-than-life mum to wear or give away.  You are free to buy your own mum at the local flower shop, or you can choose to completely opt out of any mums at all!

So my fellow mums, when we talk about all the mum options with our kids, let's model respect and kindness as we agree to disagree.  There's no disputing taste, after all!  It's truly a matter of opinion, so there's no need to bash the other side.  Everyone has a right to choose, and everyone has a right to comment, but there's no good that will come from shaming or judging each other.  If there's anything I can't stand, it's drama and unnecessary competition.  It feels so, dare I say, high school!

Let's remember what this is really about- school spirit!  It's not about us as parents and what we like or dislike.  Let's allow our kids to choose how they want to show their pride as strong Reedy Lions.  In the end, it's up to them to embody the spirit of "One pride, many dreams," as written on the high school walls.  As moms, let's give them the support and love they need to get there, no matter what kind of mum they wear.