Back in my day, we went to “the prom.” Today kids go to “prom.” What’s the difference, you may wonder? Well, those three little letters — “t-h-e” — may have gone by the wayside, but there is another three-letter-word that factors quite prominently into today’s proms.
Yep, moms run prom.
Sure, we don’t actually go (OMG, your kid would never allow that)! But from the moment of the promposal (insert eyeroll) until they step onto that pimped-out party bus you reluctantly booked for prom night, it is obvious that you-know-who has been the prom mastermind each step of the way.
Kind of like the wizard behind the curtain but instead you are in plain view on the couch with your laptop, credit card and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Ladies, I‘m sure you would agree that our efforts are most deserving of a legitimate title.
Your teens may not give you due credit but you and I both know that Prom + Mom = Promager.
Why have moms had to become Promagers?
In our day, proms were a big deal but today’s proms are huge productions.
With teens feeling enormous pressure to plan and execute the perfect prom experience from start to finish. Fueled by the desire for Insta likes and TikTok shares, our teens’ prom expectations are completely off the charts.
It starts with the need to pull off the cute yet elaborate promposal.
Not unlike crafting the perfect college essay, a lot of thought and detail must go into the promposal.
It has to have a meaningful theme.
It has to be original.
It has to stand out.
So, who does your kid turn to? Naturally, his Promager.
You help them flesh out the idea and later dig your fingernails into your thighs to restrain yourself from ripping the sharpie out of his hands as he tries his best to decorate his date-to-be’s promposal poster board.
But the poster might not be enough. So, of course you Venmo him to help him seal the deal with flowers or other cheesy promposal “props.”
Then, there’s the shopping.
We won’t even get into the ordeal of shopping for a prom dress or suit (notice I didn‘t say tuxedo because kids today don’t know a cummerbund from a cucumber). Really.
Don’t get me started because the prom shopping experience with teens is a whole other blog post (if you know, you know).
If you’re a boy mom, you are reminding them to order the corsage a week or two out (or just doing it yourself while promising that you will make him pick it up from the florist because why should you have to do everything)?!
If you’re’ a girl mom, you are booking their tanning, hair and/or make-up appointments and wondering if this is what it felt like to be Julia Roberts’ personal assistant back in the ’90s during Oscar’s week.
Next, you must help them scout the ideal Insta-worthy backdrop for the splashy production that has become pre-prom group pictures.
During pictures, you must wrangle the teenagers away from their phones to arrange them accordingly by dress color.
I kid you not, the group shot must look like an “after” picture curated by The Home Edit.
And you must procure obnoxious props for the pics like a throne (no joke) and the obligatory metallic balloons that spell out P-R-O-M.
Oh, and you better coordinate with the other parents to be at the right place at the right time to take advantage of golden hour.
Just keep your fingers crossed that golden hour doesn’t overlap with the happy hour you and your husband are desperately trying to hit up after the prom pics.
And God forbid they roll into prom hungry.
They want to do dinner before prom and claim they have it handled but as prom nears, it becomes clear to you that they cannot agree on where to go and they also don’t know how to use their TikTok devices (aka, phones) to call to book a table.
So not only is dinner on you, but so is making the reservation.
Good luck finding a trendy-yet-not-too-expensive eatery willing to take a reservation on short notice for a party of 20!
Obviously, they will insist that they need to pull up to prom in the aforementioned pimped-out party bus, which you need to book for them because of a little something called “liability.”
And, if you’re the cool mom (I’m definitely not!) you may even get talked into booking them an Airbnb or offering up your basement or backyard for the prom afterparty.
If this is you, I tip my soccer mom hat and anoint you freaking Promager of the Year.
Eventually, the magical night arrives. “What a great night for them,” you think to yourself as they head off to prom. “These kids deserve to have fun,” say all the other parents.
But something occurs to you later that evening as you are stalking the party bus on your tracking app.
I made this happen! These kids would never have made it to prom night without mom’s planning, patience and help.
And, with that, you shamelessly post your kid’s prom pics all over Facebook, polish off your glass of wine and breathe a sigh of relief that another prom night is in the books. You are so ready to retire your title of Promager.
Unless, of course, this was junior prom or you have younger kids. Then you’re screwed.
About the author: At the time of publication, Allyson Acker has survived 3 proms and counting. She is the voice behind the blog Life After Carpool and you can also find her on Instagram and on Facebook