I landed on the Bad Mom space

My children do not know how to play Monopoly.

I never thought of this as a mothering failure until yesterday. Monopoly is a tiresome game which always lasts about 42 minutes longer than it should. The most exciting part is deciding between being the boot or the terrier and it goes downhill from there. I want to go to jail where the only real estate I have to worry about is my 8 X 12 windowless cell.

This is American Suburban blasphemy. Aren’t all families supposed to spend brisk evenings in turtlenecks, sipping mugs of cocoa with marshmallows as they jockey to buy the B&O?

I happily avoided playing Monopoly with anyone for the last dozen or so years. That means my children have not played it, either. They’ve played many other classic board games—I’m not totally neglectful. They know the thrill of having boy/girl twins and a rewarding medical career on the Life board. They also like to make their own elaborate board games, complete with stringent and senseless rules and exceptions to every rule—usually involving chore-trading and other forms of bribery. It’s fun to watch the baby bunny trump Darth Vader, but only if he has a green power donut.

Yesterday’s epiphany occurred when my sixth-grade daughter came home from school upset. This isn’t atypical, as anyone with a daughter in sixth-grade will note. It took a lot of gentle questioning to find out why she was so downcast. It involved a huge project her class had been working on for weeks, culminating in the cafeteria with a toga party and chocolate fountains.

They played Romanopoly, a life-sized version of the Monopoly game. The kids had partners and each little team was in charge of properties from ancient Rome. They had to play the game, which took up the entire dining area of the cafeteria. My daughter was miffed when other teams talked of attempts to purchase her properties: The temple of Divus Julius and the temple of Castor and Pollux. As far as she was concerned, she did the research so she got all present and future real estate rights of ownership.

She didn’t understand it was all part of the game. How could she? We actually own Monopoly. It languishes in the same closet where we store the dusty coats I wore in college and spare pillows. The only excuse I had for her was…nothing.

I told her I was sorry. I should have taught her to play

Monopoly is part of our cultural heritage. It’s assumed you know how to play, just like it’s assumed you can ride a bike or have tasted McDonald’s french fries.

I knew about Monopoly’s position as King of Board Games, but I never imagined an entire day at school could be ruined if one of my kids hadn’t payed tribute by rolling the dice, just once.

We’ll crack it open soon. My next-oldest child is in fourth grade, so I have two years.

I call the thimble.

Gretchen can also be found blogging at Lifenut.

17 Responses to I landed on the Bad Mom space
  1. Kelly
    November 2, 2008 | 12:13 am

    I’m so glad to find a fellow Monopoly avoider. My kids discovered the game a few weeks ago; it was in the closet at the townhouse we rented on vacation. My husband was thrilled. I was not. Boring, boring, boring.

    (Can I still vote on Tuesday?)

  2. Lifenut » Scrabble is boring
    November 2, 2008 | 8:34 am

    […] To read about another big board game failure which ended up ruining a child’s day, go say hello at 5 Minutes for Parenting. […]

  3. Courtney
    November 2, 2008 | 8:43 am

    How horrible…lol…not that she hasnt played but that the teachers find it fun to play. I guess it is a good teaching tool but eesh that game can rouse some hostel feelings. I remember i use to play with my husband and it always caused a fight…ALWAYS!

  4. Dawn
    November 2, 2008 | 8:51 am

    Oh Gretchen! My grandmother always played Monopoly with me growing up. I remember thinking she was cool for it! My husband and MIL agree with you about it though!! Elizabeth and I have had some doozy games!! Once, we played an entire snowy afternoon. Yes, it is a standard. No Scrabble (or Life) here though. Actually, I don’t think I have ever played Life!!

  5. Nini
    November 2, 2008 | 10:49 am

    Oh I completely agree, Monopoly is boring. Should I be worried now that we don’t even own the game? I have to admit some of the variations look a bit more promising. It might be more fun to vie for the Kwik-E-Mart.

  6. edj
    November 2, 2008 | 11:02 am

    I HATE Monopoly and refuse to play. However, I did buy it for E when he was 5, and I made my husband teach him. It was good for his math skills. Now he has the Lord of the Rings version. *yawn* He can occasionally talk his father or brother into playing. He LOVES board games. I hate them.
    Also, just in case you ever meet my father-in-law, NEVER EVER play Monopoly with him.
    But that sounds like a fun day at school! What a creative teacher. My 6th graders are doing Rome as well in history.

  7. Gill
    November 2, 2008 | 3:37 pm

    We are proud monopoly players..number 1 daughter sulking if she doesn’t win, number two daughter normally wins but has no clue as to how..and my youngest, the boy…normally says – take over Mum its boring!
    I limit each game to 1 hour now – after that game over…most money and property wins! And i only ever give up one hour!!!

  8. Jamie
    November 2, 2008 | 5:35 pm

    Monopoly is really too time consuming for younger kids. And older kids. And adults. (Yawn).

    As a kid, I was pretty luke-warm about it until we got a Monopoly game for our Nintendo, because it went much faster as a video game. Of course, it’s not exactly a board game anymore when you’re viewing it on a TV screen and playing with a remote control. But at least we could still fight over who got to be the car.

    By the way, Scrabble is a lot more fun online too. 😉

  9. Anonymouse
    November 2, 2008 | 7:34 pm

    I loved Monopoly growing up. I was always the hat. And the banker. Sometimes I even played by myself, which coincidentally, so did my mom when she was a kid.

    I suppose I was just “that kid.”

    Don’t even get me started on Scrabble. I dominate that game!

  10. Amy from Occupation: Mommy
    November 2, 2008 | 10:19 pm

    I hate Monopoly. My daughters are 6, 4, and 1.5. My oldest has Monopoly Jr which only takes about 10-15 minutes to play. I wonder if that is good enough?

  11. amy
    November 3, 2008 | 2:21 pm

    We played Monopoly for days as kids. Partly because we bought properties based on favorite colors, but mostly because we refused to mortgage anything, we always paid cash and we did not barter. The game lasted a long time, no one got rich, no one lost and no one won. We weren’t very good capitalists. My husband’s family is another story. Shortly after we started dating, I was told we were playing monopoly with his brother. I yawned inside, but smiled outwardly, the way you do when you’re first dating. Anyway, his family plays for REAL. They buy every property they land on, regardless of whether they like the color, they mortgage to buy hotels, the game involves huge trades of multiple properties. They scoff at people who buy utilities and railroads. And you know what? The game lasts about an hour when you go for broke.

  12. goslyn
    November 3, 2008 | 2:45 pm

    Ah, poor Aidan. I, too, despise the game of Monopoly, but I do remember a time period of about a year, somewhere around 6th grade, where I was obsessed with it. My friends and I made up additional rules, and we would use additional pieces – usually Hersey’s kisses, for extra development on each property.

    Ah. Those were some good times, I tell you.

  13. Beth - total mom haircut
    November 3, 2008 | 6:29 pm

    I didn’t learn how to play until I was in High School. I guess I was sort of ridiculed at that point, but I kind of prided myself on it. No Monopoly game ever ends well:)

  14. puzzle games
    April 4, 2012 | 3:52 am

    … [Trackback]…

    […] Read More: 5minutesforparenting.com/171/i-landed-on-the-bad-mom-space/ […]…

  15. rachat de credit
    April 5, 2012 | 7:49 am

    … [Trackback]…

    […] Read More here: 5minutesforparenting.com/171/i-landed-on-the-bad-mom-space/ […]…

  16. computer free hd wallpapers
    April 5, 2012 | 9:11 pm

    … [Trackback]…

    […] Read More: 5minutesforparenting.com/171/i-landed-on-the-bad-mom-space/ […]…

  17. … [Trackback]…

    […] Read More: 5minutesforparenting.com/171/i-landed-on-the-bad-mom-space/ […]…

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL https://parenting.5minutesformom.com/171/i-landed-on-the-bad-mom-space/trackback/