Mommy Wants Vodka

…Or A Mail-Order Bride

Rejected From The Society of Future Homemakers


When I entered the second grade, my mother dutifully signed me up for Brownies, which is sort of the baby version of The Girl Scouts (I THINK). I’d guess that I battled her for the honor because it seems like something she’d have been aghast by and something I would have found to be Full of The Awesome. Mostly because she hated it.

I proudly ran home from school after getting my poo-brown uniform and put it on. Back then, I was a sucker for anything that looked official.

Twirling in my mirror, even at 7, I knew it looked bad. The color was just…off.

But I looked official, and that’s what mattered to me. I strutted proudly around the house for awhile, alternating between marching and skipping, while my mother rolled her eyes at me. A couple of days later, she announced that I had to go to my first meeting.


Excuse me? I didn’t sign up for anything that required WORK. My mother laughed, the tables finally turned on me.

Dejected and annoyed by my lack of foresight, I trekked to the meeting and joined a bunch of ridiculously enthusiastic girls and their equally enthusiastic mothers who sat around in a semi-circle (women sitting in circles is something I would later be very, very afraid of).

They excitedly discussed how we could earn PATCHES!!! for our SASHES!!!! by doing THINGS!!!!

My own eyes began to roll back in my head as the meeting wore on and on. “Sisterhood” was discussed, as were things like overnight field trips and selling cookies. I was beginning to feel like the whole uniform thing really wasn’t worth the bullshit.

I never had any intention of selling anything and the very idea of sisterhood made me queasy and weak-kneed. I was pretty sure that I had to vomit and quickly.

At the next meeting, which my mother dragged me to, even after I faked the stomach flu and a fever of 109 degrees, it was time to make a “kneeling pad.” We had to sandwich two large pieces of vinyl between a piece of Styrofoam and stitch it up with green yarn. I wanted to actively kill myself, but I had no implements of destruction nearby. I considered trying to beat myself over the head with the Styrofoam, but I only managed to make it look like it was snowing.

On my head.

What the fuck was I going to do with a KNEEPAD besides try and smother my older brother with it?

My mother snickered when she saw me trudging back to the car with my creation.

“What the hell IS that?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I said truthfully. “We’re supposed to KNEEL on it or something.”

I’m pretty sure you could hear her laugh for miles.

My abysmal failure at selling any cookies when it came time to “FUNDRAISE!!!! GIRLS!!!” and my inability to earn a single patch, finally convinced her to allow me to quit. She’d never insisted I stick with anything I didn’t really like, and I’m sure she was tired of me bringing home my pathetic attempts at craft projects.

I mean, who could blame her? One of the cats started using the “kneeling pad” as a “peeing pad” and ruined one of the carpets and my older brother had actually broken a tooth on one of my attempts at making a ceramic cup. It was time to admit that I was never, ever going to cut it as a housewife.

Ha. If those scary Brownie People could only see me now…hey…wait a minute.

Shit. Is it too late to become a heiress?

64 Comments to

“Rejected From The Society of Future Homemakers”

  1. On August 6th, 2010 at 10:13 am Teisha Says:

    Hmm, so that’s why I suck at being domesticky, I didn’t go to Brownies.

  2. On August 6th, 2010 at 10:15 am karen Says:

    glad I’m not the only one who HATED brownies. Only I was there till the pathfinder scarf … by then I knew enough good knots to turn it into something to hang from so my mom got the message. Still haunts me.

  3. On August 6th, 2010 at 10:21 am Shin Ae Says:

    Circles, fundraising, overnight trips: all as scary as it gets.

    Semicircles count as circles.

  4. On August 6th, 2010 at 10:22 am Betty M Says:

    I only ever got the badge they made compulsory in our pack – Hostess!

  5. On August 6th, 2010 at 10:23 am Megan (Best of Fates) Says:

    I remember those kneeling pads!

    And really?

    ‘Cause I can think of something to use them for.

    But I’m too much a lady to say it.

    I’ll just make awkward references.

  6. On August 6th, 2010 at 10:29 am Bridey Says:

    My boyfriend recently told me he tipped TWENTY of his hard earned dollars to a stripper who was dressed in a Brownie uniform. I couldn’t even be upset that it was that much money. I had to high-five him and wished I could have high-fived her!

  7. On August 8th, 2010 at 3:01 pm Rachel Says:

    I too called them situpons, and use them as an example when ranting about how ridiculous the Girl Scouts were compared the the Boy Scouts (having been a BS camp counselor after years of Brownies, etc.). Being presented with two pieces of pre-cut and pre-hole-punched brown vinyl, and a pre-measured and -cut length of string, and then folding newspapers for the inside and “SEWING” IT TOGETHER seemed like utter baby bullsh*t when the boys our age were off chopping wood with REAL AXES. Ya know?

    I don’t have a daughter yet, but I’m going to be hard-pressed to enroll her in Girl Scouts when there are things like Adventure Scouts available.

  8. On August 8th, 2010 at 3:02 pm Rachel Says:

    bah, sorry Bridey, this was a reply to the article, not to your comment. The reply to your comment was supposed to be:

    Awesome! I would’ve high-fived ‘im too!

  9. On August 6th, 2010 at 10:36 am Sarah Says:

    So, when I lived in my Tiny Little Mountain Town, I was most definitely a volunteer with the Girl Scouts. I was never one myself, but I volunteered and ended up with a Brownie troop.

    This group made pads to sit on at football games instead of kneeling pads. (Football is next to godliness in this particular TLMT.) They didn’t have to wear their uniforms to meetings, and they talked a LOT. And asked me the same questions a LOT.

    And then I thought it would be a grand idea to be a chaperone on one of their camping overnights.

    Never. Again.

  10. On August 6th, 2010 at 10:42 am a Says:

    I never participated in any of those silly girl things. I think it was because by the time I came along, my mother was too tired to care. She claims I never asked, which is also possible. I have no patches, no bad crafts, and no mental scars…

    I do, however, have a fear of uniforms. But that’s Catholic High School for you.

  11. On August 6th, 2010 at 10:44 am Becky Mochaface Says:

    I remember that kneeling pad! Was that like an intro to crafting project or something that was in the Brownies for Beginners handbook? My mom probably threw that shit out the next day.

  12. On August 6th, 2010 at 10:46 am Cecelia Winesap Says:

    I, too, am a sucker for a uniform without having to work for it. This is why I pretty much avoided all organized activity growing up. No one would just give me a uniform I could wear around the house.

  13. On August 6th, 2010 at 11:22 am Jessica Says:

    My mother never wanted to do any of the follow-up when it came to my activities… like driving me there… or sewing on the patches. So I was inspired to staple all of them on. I was able to make that brown uniform look about 100 times worse. And I refused to quit (probably in part to spite her! 😉 )

  14. On August 6th, 2010 at 11:23 am stacey@Havoc&Mayhem Says:

    I did Brownies & Girl Scouts. I even went to camp for 4 years.

    Because my mom had that “how to get your kids out of the house & get an hour to yourself” thing down to a science. Brownies, Girl Scouts, craft classes at the YWCA, gymnastics at the YMCA. If it was a drop off your kid & go activity, I was signed up for it

  15. On August 6th, 2010 at 11:35 am Katherine Says:

    I always wanted to be in brownies or any kind of girl scouts, but we never lived in one place long enough for me to do it. So now, I’m one of those scary women, and I volunteer with a local troop and I’ve been the cookie mom forever. But the leader I work with is awesome, and does what the girls want to do, and they’re not really campers, as in tent campers, so we don’t do that! We went to a local youth hostel because the older group (6th grade) wants to be able to go to Europe when they’re in high school and you have to build up to stuff like that. We go to Disneyland and Seaworld and to the beach and snorkel and kayak and stuff like that! We used to go to the girl scout organized crap but there were too many weirdos who were more like how you described so we don’t really do that too much…more fun our way!

  16. On August 8th, 2010 at 6:46 am Gunfighter Says:

    Hats off to you, Cookie Mom! My duaghter will be entering Cadettes this year, and started as a Brownie as soon as she was eligible, so I know what kind of work goes into your volunteerism!

  17. On August 6th, 2010 at 11:43 am Adrienne Says:

    I lasted maybe 10 minutes in Brownies. NO WAY have I ever been bubbly/friendly/crafty enough for that shit.

    I really wish I’d paid more attention, though. If I want to kneel for some reason? I’ve got nothing. It’s a sad state of affairs over here.

  18. On August 6th, 2010 at 11:49 am Kate Says:

    I eschewed girl scouts (If by eschewed you mean “got kicked out after punching Patty Walbruth for telling me that my brothers were hot…gross”) in order to hide my hair under a hat(I had VERY long hair) and join my brothers at boyscouts where I proceeded to convince EVERYONE that I was a boy too! Now I realize they were humoring me with the uniform, pocket knife, and camping trip, but I thought I would be well prepared for a long life as a top secret spy!!

  19. On August 6th, 2010 at 11:56 am Rebecca Says:

    I think I’ve already shared the time I was left out in the SNOW during what was supposed to be a meeting…but nobody was home and I was left outside all by myself and I was only seven and scared and wouldn’t talk to any of the strangers who offered to help me because they could be bad….it was awful…I quit after that….nary a badge.

  20. On August 6th, 2010 at 1:01 pm Jennifer Says:

    We called it a “sitting pad” (so, yer bum instead of yer knees). Never used it either. But I loooved Brownies.

    It was Girl Scouts I didn’t like. One of the most bad-ass things I ever did was to get up (from the circle–yes, the circle thing carried on to the next level), walk over to the troop leader, and announce “I don’t want to be a Girl Scout anymore” and leave. Mom wasn’t too thrilled. But the clique bullshit of a lot of the girls was awful! I’m proud of myself to this day (I suppose it would have been a good idea to say why I was leaving, but I probably would have spontaneously combusted from fear of speaking to an adult).

  21. On August 6th, 2010 at 2:02 pm SarahT Says:

    It was a SITUPON. SO you could sit outside on damp grass (ya know, like at summer camp) without getting your uniform wet/dirty. I could not begin to count how many of the damned things I made in my Scouting career. I can tell you how many times I actually sat upon one–once per situpon, shortly after it was completed. Then I “forgot” it somewhere.

    Yes, I was a Girl Scout. From age 6 until I went away to college. I didn’t do much with my troop, but I went on a lot of cool trips (yes, I camped) with the state/national organization. Competed with their canoe team. Was a camp counselor. That sort of thing.

  22. On August 6th, 2010 at 2:17 pm Empresso Says:

    Ya want some cookies? I have a few boxes, including one box of Thin Mints, left from the three years my daughter was a Brownie. I was determined not to volunteer for anything but then the last year of our Brownie sentence, I was guilted into being the Cookie mom. Never, ever do that.

  23. On August 6th, 2010 at 3:06 pm Katy Says:

    I lasted one meeting. My parents did make me stick things through, but they even let me out of that one. Probably because we found my uniform at Salvation Army.

  24. On August 6th, 2010 at 3:40 pm MommyTime Says:

    We had to do the very same thing in Brownies!! We called them “situpons” (because we sat upon them at meetings): two squares of 1970s giant brown-and-orange floral shiny vinyl, between which was sandwiched folded wads of newspaper, the whole thing laced together with lanyard string. Ahhh, those were the days….

  25. On August 6th, 2010 at 4:07 pm Nic Says:

    Thanks for posting for those of us not in ny @blogher

  26. On August 6th, 2010 at 4:07 pm Nic Says:

    Thanks for posting for those of us not in ny @blogher

  27. On August 6th, 2010 at 4:52 pm A Mom on Spin Says:

    and my mother was the troop leader of something so I couldn’t quit!

  28. On August 6th, 2010 at 10:59 pm DarkTouch Says:

    I managed to pull off Cub Scouts. The ritual of it was too much for me to avoid. It was an entire semi-religion based around the Jungle Book. How can that not be good?

    When it got to Boy Scouts however, I couldn’t do more than 6 months. Discovering that you advanced based on how much camping your parents were willing to pay for just didn’t do it for me.

  29. On August 6th, 2010 at 11:07 pm lifejourneygirl Says:

    ROFL! It was the BlueBirds for me but only made it till the first fundraiser. I have the selling moxie of a wet sponge and the parents rebelled at having to buy so much crap so I could meet the quota. What a gift you have for writing!

  30. On August 6th, 2010 at 11:07 pm lifejourneygirl Says:

    ROFL! It was the BlueBirds for me but only made it till the first fundraiser. I have the selling moxie of a wet sponge and the parents rebelled at having to buy so much crap so I could meet the quota. What a gift you have for writing!

  31. On August 6th, 2010 at 11:11 pm katrina Says:

    ha ha ha….my thoughts exactly! I was a brownie for about a second. it was scary.

  32. On August 6th, 2010 at 11:11 pm MannyRee Says:

    I would like further explanation of the women-sitting-in-circles thing, because I despise all types of wedding/baby showers and “home parties” for just that reason. Why can’t we all hang out in clusters or even a square? Or for that matter, just stay home and text or something? We wouldn’t even have to get dressed that way. There is always some super-organized woman-of-torture who has to make everyone wear a name tag, sit in a circle, and Join the Group…I get all murdery around those people.

  33. On August 7th, 2010 at 6:48 am Rie Says:


    We made those! Except I was in the Ghetto Brownies and we just used Newspapers, not foam.

    It was to “sit upon” while doing “wilderness” walks so as not to sully your uniform…
    although with that color how could you tell?

  34. On August 7th, 2010 at 10:10 am Scatteredmom Says:

    The only thing I remember from my short stint in brownies was learning how to braid. Served me well. I wasn’t into the whole structured activity thing either. My idea of having fun was being out in the bush catching frogs, building forts, forging for wild strawberries, and cross country skiing in the winter. Who needed patches when you had the whole outdoors to explore?

  35. On August 7th, 2010 at 11:09 am Sarah Says:

    Bugger. I was a very dedicated brownie but my troop was super snobby so I was always on the outskirts. It was actually pretty sad. I finally managed to be the top cookie seller one year though and they still didn’t like me. In 6th grade I finally quit, dyed my hair purple and started wearing 60 inch wide jeans and a chain wallet.

  36. On August 7th, 2010 at 12:31 pm Beth Says:

    Wait, you guys had FOAM in your kneeling pads? Crap, man, ours were just newspaper in the middle. And I kept the thing for years even though I quite brownies after a couple months (running around in a orange shirt and brown sash turned out not to be my thing). Boy Scouts camped and stuff. We sold cookies. I felt RIPPED OFF.

  37. On August 7th, 2010 at 2:09 pm Pat Vermont Says:

    I had a similar experience with the Cub Scouts. I also loved the idea of have a patch covered shirt.

    I had no clue there would be things like sleeping outdoors, learning to tie knots & doing good deeds.

    I remember how to tie one knot & I learned that way before the Cub Scouts. A lot of good those punks provided.

    Don’t even get me started on the atrocity known as the Pine Wood Derby.

  38. On August 7th, 2010 at 2:53 pm Betsy Says:

    I am still waiting or gone good reason why I couldn’t be a boy scout like all my friends were. I had not interest in being a stinkin’ brownie. Brownies are food.

  39. On August 7th, 2010 at 2:55 pm Betsy Says:

    I think I was comment raped. I swear I did not make all those typos. Could typing in the dark so as not to disturb sleeping possums be my excuse.

    Anywho… that is waiting for one good reason why I couldn’t be a boy scout.
    And I had no interest in being a stinkin’ brownie. Ahem…

  40. On August 7th, 2010 at 4:37 pm flutter Says:

    you know you’re a lady when you have a kneeling pad…carpet burns are unseemly

  41. On August 7th, 2010 at 6:47 pm cl Says:

    i’ve been lurking here for a while and this is completely unrelated but this made me think of you

  42. On August 7th, 2010 at 8:42 pm Angie Says:

    Aunt Becky, stop screwing around and have YOUR MOTHER DO A GUEST POST! She is an inspiration to every mother everywhere with a sense of humor, who did not see anything marvelous or magical about meetings or sewing or making costumes (I may just possibly be talking about myself, but what are blog comments for if not for intensely personal spychotherapeutic revelations??) and I think I love her. Chop, chop.
    Angie at Eat Here

  43. On August 8th, 2010 at 2:31 am poosemommy Says:

    Okay, so I’m a dork (you already knew that, stop pointing)
    I did Brownies, Juniors, Cadets, Seniors, Leader-in-training, all of it. It was pretty cool overall- my mom (who totally rocks) and dad (OMG! GirlScoutDad! still wears his patch jacket!)were the leaders. We earned all the patches, camped our asses off, sold the shit out of cookies (the whole troop went to camp for free one year. that’s a LOT of cookies y’all)
    I have a man-cub, so I’m waiting to see if we do the scouting thing or if he’s happy catching snakes & gators solo…

  44. On August 8th, 2010 at 2:36 am poosemommy Says:

    And yeah, we made sit-upons. They were handy at camp. And no dorky uniforms, just a sash to display the many patches – which were much cooler in the 80s.

  45. On August 8th, 2010 at 6:54 am Gunfighter Says:

    My youngest (11) is a Girl Scout, and she loves it. Since her sister is so much older than she is (21), she sees her girl scout pals and her soccer teammates sort of like sisters (except for the little mean bitches that are starting to show themselves already).

    She enjoys it all, the singing, the camping (she just got back from her third year of summer camp), and all of the rest of it.

    Not reall a surprise that she enjoys it, though… I was a scout from the time I was 8 until I enlisted in the Marines at age 17. Where else was a boy from blue collar New Jersey going to learn how to start a fire from nothing (no arson jokes, please), and all of that cool stuff?

  46. On August 8th, 2010 at 11:05 am Lotta Says:

    Wow that kneepad would come in handy now that I’m almost 40.

  47. On August 8th, 2010 at 1:30 pm Jane Lively Says:

    You obviously needed a clipboard as a child. Obviously.

  48. On August 8th, 2010 at 2:48 pm Krissa Says:

    I truly want to be an heiress. I would make Paris H. look like a Mormon.

  49. On August 8th, 2010 at 5:16 pm Kelly Says:

    See, my mom wanted us out of her way too, but also wasn’t willing to actually DRIVE us anywhere to accomplish that goal, so my sister and I had to sign up for a lot of crap we didn’t want to do (including Brownies: I made it for one meeting during which we pokes sparkly things into a styrofoam ball and then called them Christmas ornaments. I don’t know what the Jewish girls did instead because we didn’t have multiculturalness there). She just made us walk or take the bus.

  50. On August 8th, 2010 at 8:22 pm Hamlet's Mistress Says:

    I question Brownies having young girls make kneeling pads… it seems very very wrong.

  51. On August 8th, 2010 at 10:25 pm Janet Says:

    Reading your post, makes me look back and be thankful that when I wanted to join brownies as a child, my parents said no…:)

  52. On August 8th, 2010 at 10:58 pm tobacco brunette Says:

    My mom was the fucking troop leader, which is probably why we made drink coasters and not sit-upons.

    “Found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peeeeanut, just now..”or did you not stick around long enough for that beauty?

  53. On August 9th, 2010 at 12:33 am Alexandra Says:

    Oh! I can’t believe this, finally, with half my life over, the dirty truth can come out: I Hated brownies!!

    Thank you, on so many levels, for this….

  54. On August 9th, 2010 at 9:56 am Katie Says:

    I think I was lured into Brownies by the false image of fun and interesting shit my brother did as a Boy Scout.

    Brownies were totally lame. Even at such a young age I remember there were some activities I regarded as a complete waste of time.

    The only thing I can clearly remember is that damn song they made us sing about smiling “There’s something in my pocket, it belongs across my face…”

  55. On August 9th, 2010 at 11:29 am Suzy Voices Says:

    “…I keep it very close to me in a most convenient place. I know you couldn’t guess it if you guessed a long long while. So I’ll take it out, and put it on. It’s a great big Brownie SMILE!”

  56. On August 10th, 2010 at 2:22 am BadScout Says:

    Oh man as we got older, this song became dirtier and dirtier.

  57. On August 9th, 2010 at 11:28 am Suzy Voices Says:

    My most horrible memory of being a Brownie was when we were coming home from a field trip and I had to pee. I told the mom who was driving that I needed to stop, but she just told me to hold it. But I couldn’t, and I didn’t. Peed right in her car, that bitch.

  58. On August 9th, 2010 at 11:40 am Sabreena Says:

    I too was a girl scout but I enjoyed it because my mom was our troop leader and she was very unconventional. She would find ways to earn the badges without doing a shitty craft (she was very creative about reading more into the handbook than was there). When she took us on our campout the adults got wasted and we all partied until the wee hours of the morning. Needless to say she was soon fired from being troop leader (not because of the campout, what happened at the campout stayed at the camnpout) but because the other den mothers felt she was not representing the ways of the Girl Scouts traditionally. I left with her but the best part was the rest of the troop quit too to show support of my mom.

  59. On August 9th, 2010 at 11:46 am Andygirl Says:

    Nope, Daisies are baby girl scouts. I know, I was a Daisy and then a Brownie. At least the Daisy uniforms are blue and yellow. Very attractive. 😀

    I quit after brownies, but I was always *that* girl in the troop. The one who always sold the most cookies. Mostly because my mom wanted a winner and I just wanted my mom to love me. Needless to say, it hasn’t gotten me any further in life. I tell ya what.

  60. On August 9th, 2010 at 12:12 pm Queen of the Rant Says:

    Becky I was going through Aunt Becky withdrawls my whole vacay, feels good to be back, have some catching up to do, but hella missed you!

  61. On August 9th, 2010 at 12:28 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    DUDE. I was SO lonely without my blog. I was also gone and dude, DUDE, without a computer, and only my iPhone, this was just sad.

  62. On August 10th, 2010 at 2:21 am BadScout Says:

    Wow, I was a scout from Brownies all the way thru high school. I thought about quitting many times (yep, some of them girls were bitchy) but always stuck with it. I was lucky, we were never forced to earn badges or fight for cookie superiority and we got to decide for ourselves what we wanted to do. I did earn a few badges over the years, including the make-up badge, the “growing up” (read:puberty sucks) badge, car maintenance and riflery (sp?). We also went camping with the boy scouts (same leaders). One thing I hated: they were always handing us plastic string to make lanyards with while we waited for things. I still don’t understand the joy of braiding strands of plastic to make a keychain.

  63. On August 10th, 2010 at 2:24 pm Regina Says:

    I was forced to be a Brownie and was also a Girl Scout for one year. I hated just about every minute of it. Made the sit-upon too. I think mine had contact paper on the outside so it was waterproof! I spent the day at an overnight camp, to be introduced to it, and realized that I never wanted to be outdoors again.
    Who remembers this gem- “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold”.

  64. On August 13th, 2010 at 11:53 am niki (strawbrkiwi) Says:

    I too tried brownies.

    Loathed and despised it!

    I’ve never been a sales person so the cookie sales made me want to cry. And now I hear stories of all the cool things learned and adventures had by my boyfriend and his brothers during their years in the boyscouts.

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