We are always so grateful to those class moms (and dads, of course — let’s get more of you!) who volunteer their valuable free time to do what’s often a thankless job. So with school in full swing for most of us, or just getting ready to kick off (hey, NY friends!) we thought we’d start the year off on a good foot, recommitting to be better, more responsive parents when it comes to working with our awesome class parents.
Especially after hearing from Laurie Gelman, author of the hilarious Class Mom: A Novel and one of our most popular guests on a recent episode of Spawned.
(Seriously, take a listen!)
Here’s what she has to say about being a class parent — and if you are one, survival tips to make the year more fun (really) for everyone.
Top: Freaking Great Job mug by Emily McDowell: Great class mom gift. FOR the class mom. Hint.
In Defense Of the Class Mom
I have to say I’m a little tired of the parent who gets involved in their child’s school being portrayed as a villain. In movies like Bad Moms, Big Little Lies and even The Intern, all the volunteer parents are portrayed as bitchy, judgmental busybodies.
I think they have it all wrong.
To me, the class mom (or room mom or teacher’s helper) is the cool mom.
She’s hip, she’s groovy, she gets it done and she doesn’t take crap from anyone. Well, actually, she does, but in a cool hip and groovy way.
Think about it. This is someone who takes time out of their own life to make things better for your kid. She types up lists, sends emails for the teacher, plans parties and gifts, gets people to chaperone field trips and finds volunteers to supply food and water. And if no one volunteers and no one wants to chaperone guess what? She does it. She does it and she doesn’t get paid. She rarely gets thanked and gets acknowledged even less.
She always has pertinent information at her fingertips. When are school pictures being taken? Are soy nuts okay for the allergy kid? What time is dismissal on the last day of school?
The class mom knows.
I’m going to say it. The class mom is a saint. And yet many parents treat her as if she is an employee of the school.
Many claim she is judging them for not making the brownies from scratch. She is not. But she will judge you if you don’t volunteer to send something, or even worse, say you will and then don’t.
So allow me to suggest that this coming school year show your class mom a little love. She doesn’t need much, just these few courtesies: If she sends you an email, read it! If she asks a question, answer it! If she needs help with something, help her!
If you’re too busy to lend a helping hand, let her know that too.
Oh, and don’t forget to say thank you.
Now you’d think after all that love I’d give you some fun tips on how to be helpful to your class mom. Instead, I want to give this year’s class moms five tips on how to make the year more enjoyable for yourselves.
1. Have fun with your emails. Don’t just cut and paste the information from the school. Add your own twist to it. This way, parents look forward to hearing from you.
2. Rally the parents in your class with some good old-fashioned competition Who can send the quickest reply to your email? Who can send the funniest response? Maybe even give parent prizes at the end of the year.
3. Don’t burden yourself with over-informing your class. Trust me, they want to know as little as possible.
4. Let parents know your frustrations. If they aren’t volunteering for anything ever but you know they can spare the time, go ahead and give them a little crap about it. They can handle it.
5. No matter what happens, remember: it’s not you, it’s them.
You can find Laurie Gelman’s Class Mom: A Novel at our affiliate Amazon or your local indie bookstore. Buy it: You won’t regret it, and you may score points with the class mom when she sees you toting it to drop-offs.
Photo: Damian Zaleski | Unsplash