All over the country, I know there are little girls who dream of being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). They spend their days anticipating the time when they can wear black yoga pants and a ponytail to the grocery. They dream of mornings spent watching “The View” and afternoons happily volunteering at the kids’ school. Well, I’m here to tell them that while there is plenty of time to walk your Labradoodle with your girlfriends and learn from Barbara Walters, there is a much darker side. The world of the stay at home mom can be much like Fight Club, but with manicured hands, and words as weapons. If you aspire to be a SAHM, proceed with caution and don’t ever get a tiny dog that would lose a fight to a cat. Its not o.k.
Below are exchanges with my “co-room mothers” at my children’s school regarding the year-end party. Read all the way to end – it’s a doozy. I am “K”, the krazee lady is “T”, Mrs. C is the 4th grade teacher and “P” is the other room mom who just handles the money. Yes, that’s a lot of women to throw 3 parties for a bunch of 4th graders.
From: Mrs. C
Sent: Friday, June 3, 2011 9:19:08 AM
Subject: Last day schedule
Hi Mrs. E, Here is the schedule for the final half day, Thursday June 16.
10:40 - 11:10 - fourth grade lunch- this is so that students do not miss their specials on early release days.
11:10 - 11:25 - fourth grade recess outside
11:25 - 12:10 fourth grade specials- music art etc.
12:10 - 12:50 - ice cream sundaes in the class room provided by room mothers, recess outside if time.
If there are any changes you will be the first to know!! 1:00 - dismissal Thanks!! Mrs. C
To: Mrs. C
Subject: Re: Last day schedule
Ah, you are a peach Mrs. C - thanks for sorting this out. I'm sure it was more work than it should have been, but I appreciate it! We'll take it from here!
To: K; T
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2011 9:51 AM
Subject: RE: Last day schedule
Hi Ki and T ,
I have not received any responses to my email “offering” a last opportunity to donate to the class. So, $300 is what we are left with. I am more than willing to donate some more money so Mrs. C can have a nice gift.
----- Original Message -----
To: P; K
Sent: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 9:59:27 AM
Subject: YEAR END PARTY for Fourth Grade
P and K:
I ran the idea of popsicles by my daughter and she was thinking they were going to have ice cream Sundays and I think the other kids were also.
Some of the parents really want to be part of the parties so I suggest that:
(1) I send out a Sign Up Genie for ice cream, toppings, whip cream, etc. so they can all make their own ice cream Sundays. Parents really love to be part of this.
(2) I will get pails and put their names on the pails and fill them with soakers, balls or water toys, light sticks and all sorts of summer toys. I can put some items also in the Sign Up Genie so we can keep the costs down.
I really want them to have a super party and a really nice goody bag to take home. I went to a pool party the weekend for a fourth grader this weekend and her pail that we made with her name on it that we made for her in kindergarten was next to her pool. So she still had it 4 years later. I will find out about the 25 student. Unfortunately, most things are sold by the dozen so this could be difficult unless I mix up the items a bit. I will ask Mrs. C what the situation is. K maybe you could think of a game or a craft to fill the extra time. I think we will only have time for one small thing.
Please let me know what you think. I can get the Sign Up Genie out today and order the goody bag items today.
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2011 12:21 PM
Subject: Re: YEAR END PARTY for Fourth Grade
T, while I appreciate you wanting the kids to have a great party, the rub is that this is supposed to be a very low key "celebration", not a party since technically we are supposed to be having instruction all the way up to the end to meet state and federal requirements. So, we can't have a bunch of parents coming in and we just have the 40 minutes to achieve it. So I think we can do sundaes and some playtime outside. The office is pretty adamant about this not being a big deal. I would contact them re: whether we can even do goody bags before you put too much effort into it. As I said before, I'm happy to get the ice cream and fixins.
P, I think $300 is a sufficient gift for Mrs. C.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 10:53:14 AM
Subject: RE: YEAR END PARTY for Fourth Grade
K and P:
I contacted Mrs. C and she said that Ice Cream Sundays and Goody Bags are fine for the party.
I sent out a Sign Up Genius for the Ice Cream Sunday items for Ice Creams, toppings, sprinkles, cherry and whip cream and for extra toys and candy for the Goody Bags.
I found draw string bags, bracelets, toys, candy, stickers all in a Fourth of July theme. The bags are 101/2 inches so if parents want to contribute to the goody bags they can.
I will send out another email reminding everyone that there are NO NUTS allowed for anything.
We probably have time for one short game either inside or outside for 15 minutes. K can you take care of the game and I will also probably need help dishing out the ice cream, syrups, toppings, whip cream and cherries.
Let me know if you can get a game and help dish out the ice ream sundays for the party. I also forgot to ask for bowls and spoons if you can bring those.Thanks.
Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2011 11:03 AM
Subject: Re: YEAR END PARTY for Fourth Grade
T - I was surprised and perplexed by your decision to move forward with the over-the-top sundae party despite the school's direction that it must be a low-key event. I'm not sure whether you failed to read my message or simply chose to disregard it.
In either case, I am not comfortable asking parents to contribute additional items given that most families already donated to the class fund and expected that it would cover these events. I also don't wish to be affiliated with the party since you've disregarded the school's wishes by making it a big event and inviting other parents. At this point, it's all yours.
Because I committed to be a room parent, I will be there to help with the sundaes. However, I won't be planning a game since the "clap out" is at 12:30pm, which means we have 20 minutes for sundaes at best.
Sent: Thursday, June 9, 2011 12:55:27 PM
Subject: Your email is insulting
I was shocked by the tone of your email to me. In all my years in school and I have never had anyone speak to me in this manner and quite frankly I am VERY insulted.
I did read your email and I contacted Mrs. C. She said it was fine to have both an Ice Cream Sunday and a goody bag. So I checked with the teachers and found out that you were wrong. I also informed you that I was going to ask the parents to help with the ice cream and goody bags BEFORE I sent out the sign up genius.
You are wrong again; there were a lot of families that did not contribute. Both P S and I put in our own money since there were a lot of parents that did not contribute anything. The parents were informed up front that the donations were for the 2 teacher gifts and for the decorations for the party. The donations were NOT for the food. That was very clear in the email. Also the parents have always brought the food for the parties. They enjoy being part of the parties.
I would like to give the kids a nice going away goody bag for the year.
The kids and teacher loved the Valentines Party. I got lots of thank you notes.
The Halloween party that you did was really dismal and I heard a lot of complaints about it.
I was trying to make a nice party for the kids. I don’t think having ice cream is “OVER THE TOP”.
You did not help at all for the Valentine’s Party. You were supposed to be in charge of the Halloween party you deserted me alone in the class room by myself with games that I had no idea what to do. You were supposed to be at that party and you left me there alone with no instructions and I had to try and figure out what you had in mind. You asked me to have the children get on the floor and push an apple across the floor with their nose which would have them basically getting their faces on the floor which was very unsanitary.
I guess I will do another party by myself again. This is no different from last two parties. I spent days working on the Valentines party and quite a bit of time on this party and this is what I get for thanks for hours and hours of work.
I really resent your email. You are rude and ungrateful. I don’t know who you think you are to talk to other parents like that. I am doing all the work and all you can do is write nasty emails. This is really unbelievable. I have never seen anyone behave in this manner.
YIKES, somebody has got a bee in her bonnet! If she’s never seen anyone behave in this manner she must not get out much. No one in all her years has ever called her on anything? This email is exhibit number one in my case asserting that the school is failing to enforce its supposedly strict “NO NUTS” policy.
The escalating hysterical tone of the email is pure gold. The very very best part is the spelling of “ice cream SUNDAYS”. I didn’t know that when I signed up to be room mother, I was signing up for a party throwing competition. I think we now know exactly WHO these parties are for and it isn’t the kids.
I can’t be bothered to refute all her kra-to-the-zee accusations, but suffice it to say, I’ve been at every party and felt that rather than spend $100 on crap to hang on the walls and “goody bags” full of plastic crap from Oriental Trading Company (landfill donations I call them), we could have very nice parties (cupcakes and games) and spend the bulk of the money on teacher gifts since she is the one who gets the pleasure of spending all day with our little darlings! I’m also baffled at the idea that $300 isn’t a nice enough gift for the teacher?
My favorite line is “you deserted me alone in the class room by myself with games that I had no idea what to do. You were supposed to be at that party and you left me there alone with no instructions and I had to try and figure out what you had in mind.” Like I left her in charge of the nuclear reactor with no instructions.
I didn’t send the angry reply she is so clearly eager for. I simply asked her to call me so we can resolve these issues – no call yet and I don’t expect one.
So, the question is: Is it me or is it them?