99 Problems

Published on April 8th, 2014 | by Kim Hoffman



I thought I had escaped.

When my oldest daughter seemed uninterested in joining a certain national girls’ club (that shall remain unnamed) I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I had dropped out of this club in second grade, foreshadowing a lifelong path of non-conformity and,  as mothers often do,  I was secretly hoping my two daughters followed that same path.

So when 4th grade started and my daughter announced she wanted to join the troop with all her friends were in, I admit, I was a little bummed. She is a sweet, cautious, somewhat shy soul, so I knew this was not an impetuous whim; this decision was 3 years in the making.

“Are you sure? Really?” I asked, knowing what a silly question this was, as well as the response.

Yes, she was sure.

What I could do? Deny my daughter this all-American rite of passage?  I didn’t want to be a buzzkill mom so I smiled sweetly and said, “That’s great, let’s do it, Honey.” I knew it meant another activity to squeeze in, ironing things on sashes, and those dreaded, time and energy sucking cookie sales. Ironically, it was the thing she was MOST excited for, so I kept  my trap shut and my negativity buried deep within.


Why I hate The Cookies

 My disdain for The Cookies is not limited to all the obvious reasons a Northern California mom might object to them.. The Cookies’ nutritional value – or lack thereof – is certainly a bummer. Wheat-laden sugar bombs are not big sellers among my immediate circle of gluten-free, no sugar (or anything processed) Moms. (Ironically, there is a gluten free cookie out this year, but not in Northern California.  Really? Who decided another market would be more appropriate?)

We also cannot pawn off The Cookies to any of my activist friends, who are aghast that they are still not made with fair trade, organic chocolate but are still made with palm oil. What’s more, The Cookies are wrapped in excessive plastic and packaged in virgin cardboard boxes, which are printed with toxic inks, and on cardboard probably from old growth redwood trees.

Basically, The Cookies just suck.

Oh yes, and if you eat too many you will feel yucky.  There’s that obvious reason, too.

But my strongest argument against The Cookies is really just practical.  As a mom with three small kids, survival is a very delicate balance of activity juggling, carpooling, food prep and dishes, homework, and basic management of stuff. The stuff kids need, and then lose, that has to be tracked down and retrieved.

The frenzy to “Sell The Cookies” for two months upends our elaborate survival strategy. I have to find time in the already packed schedule to get my kid to the booth, supervise the booth, do more pick-ups and drop-offs, keep track of the money and inventory, and pimp out those The Cookies to anyone I can, against my better values.


The Final Straw 

Then there was that Saturday night The Cookies nearly ruined me.  And by that I mean they ruined a hard-won night out – dinner, drinks, and a concert with husband and some friends. Our daughter was sleeping at her friends’ house, and that mom was going to take them to the cookie booth in the morning. I was scheduled to them pick up a few hours later. Check. My younger two kids were at home with a sitter. Check, check. I was liberated for a rare – and let’s not forget costly – night out. Post-dinner and several cocktails in, ready to get my groove on, the barrage of texts started.

Cookie Fanatic Mom wanted to “maximize cookie sales” the next day so she needed to “split teams up”, and the girls to need go to another place than originally planned, blah, blah, blah. Seriously? Now? Is Sat night not sacred and off-limits to this kind of logistical bullshit? Everything was all set and now, it was not.  This was a serious buzzkill.

Of course, my husband was NOT dealing with any of this, since this distinctly falls under MOM column.  He instructs me to relax while I waste an hour at a concert trying to figure out at what street corner to pick up our daughter up the next day, and at what time.

That night, I cracked: my hatred for The Cookies was solidified. Irrevocably.

Yes, I know people love The Cookies. They teach young girls those super awesome, American capitalist skills. It’s a social thing. It’s a math thing. I get it. Yes, I am annoyed, but I am first and foremost, a wise mom. I know to only unleash my rant about The Cookies on my husband, girlfriends, and you, dear reader. For the sake of my girl, I buck up and put my best game face on. In the midst of my fuming, I shift and  turn on my Mom survival skills. I breathe deep and do my best to “reframe” and “get positive”

It is with that in mind, I dig deep, and retrieve my own deeply buried capitalist hat and find the silver lining of this whole cookie season:  turns out the cookies are Kosher, which means my daughter and I sold the shit out of them at my son’s preschool Purim festival.

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About the Author

Kim Hoffman lives in Oakland, California with her husband and three children. In her previous life, she worked a retail buyer, clothing designer, fair trade importer, and in green business sales. These days, she strives for a balance of sanity and humor, while continuously feeding, schlepping, and nurturing her family of 5.

3 Responses to Kim Hoffman is HATING THE COOKIES

  1. Phaedra says:

    Sweet!!! I still would have bought 5 boxes!!

  2. Brian says:

    Way to “journal through your rage,” Hippie mom.

  3. Lisa says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your nicely composed rant.

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