Mom's ugly?
Hire one!

By Jeff Pan (
Updated: 2007-04-23 17:24

The generation gap in China has become so dramatic that parents who fail to catch up with the rest of the society could be abandoned by their children.

This was the case with a middle school student who disapproved of her mother's outfits so much that she hired a "mom" to attend her school's parents meeting.

Mrs. Wang and her daughter Pingping live in Dalian of Northeast China's Liaoning Province. Although Pingping attends school regularly, Wang never attended any of the parents' meetings because her daughter never told her about them.

It was only when Wang called the school did she realize she had missed many meetings.

Bewildered, Wang asked her daughter about what was going on, but Pingping's answer astonished her. "You made me lose face," she replied. "I have been asking a classmate's aunt to take part in it for me, 50 yuan (US$6.4) each time." Pingping's father is always busy and has no time to attend the parents' meetings.

Pingping's first memories of her mother's social missteps was when Pingping was in the third grade. She ranked first in a mid-term exam and was also the fastest-improving student in her class at the time.

Her mom was invited up to the podium to tell her experience of bringing up the fastest-improving student in the class. At first Wang was very hesitant to speak, and when she finally went to the podium, she began with a strong Dalian accent and said, "My girl is doing a good job this time. I feel pretty happy."

And after a long pause, Wang didn't have anything else to say.

The teacher encouraged her by asking, "What kind of expectations do you have for your daughter?"

"Oh, yes," Wang continued. "I would have forgotten if you didn't remind me. This girl has a lot of shortcomings. For instance, she is outside playing all the time. She doesn't even wash her own socks at home. She talks back to me defiantly all the time."

Pingping's mom suddenly had a lot to say, but the teacher had to cut her short so that other parents could speak as well.

"Do you know what my classmates said about my mom after that?" asked Pingping. "They wondered if I was adopted because we are so different: one is eloquent, and the other has problem in public speaking; one is sharp and neat, and the other looks like just coming out of kitchen to attend the parents' meeting, with her apron on."

According to Pingping, her mother likes to wear casual clothing, which outlines her stout figure. Her daughter once suggested her mom should wear more professional outfits, only to get bitter response from her mom: "You brat! You're picking on my clothing. Just mind your own business, and leave the rest for me to worry!"

Since then, the school's regular parents meeting have been a huge concern for Pingping. Not only did her mother not dress well, but was also nosy, asking about other parents' salaries and other students' pocket money. And so Pingping felt her mom was not welcomed both by the students and parents.

Pingping tried very hard to impress other students so that they would forget about her mom, but the monthly parents' meeting was still unavoidable. She claimed she had a lot of nightmares about her mom's buffoon acts in parents' meetings.

In the summer before Pingping went to middle school, she met her friend Yingying's aunt who works in a securities company. Pingping thought she had good taste in dressing and her manners classy.

Then Pingping decided to conjure up a story with Yingying, in which Pingping's parents were divorced. Her mother had gone abroad, and her father was too busy to come to the parents' meeting. Pingping was given extra care while she was in the primary school, but that also made her feel uneasy too. She wanted to be treated equally, and not get sympathy from others. Pingping longed for a new start when she entered middle school, wishing for a "mom" to attend her parents' meeting, too.

Yingying's aunt was moved by Pingping's story, and promised to attend every parents' meeting for Pingping in middle school. She was so ecstatic that every time Yingying's aunt attended a meeting, Pingping paid her niece 50 yuan to keep the secret.

In a new school with new classmates, Pingping got a new "mom", who also never failed to appear and impress the Pingping's classmates and their parents.

Fifty yuan is not a small amount of money for Pingping, but she thought a good "mom" worth it.

Many times Wang asked her daughter why the middle school never held any parents' meetings. Pingping answered the school decided not to hold parents' meetings for fear it would put more pressure on the students. Her lie continued until her mom called the school.

Now that Pingping's mom has learned the truth, Pingping earnestly offered her a suggestion along with her apologies: Please consider your dress and manners from now on - it's not only for your own good.

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