Class Mom Aspirations.

by Wendy Sachs

 

 

Last year when my son Jonah asked me to be the class mom, I responded “but I’m your mom sweetie,” I don’t need to be the class mom. He was temporarily disappointed, but didn’t push the point. This year Jonah was adamant. “Mommy,” he announced at the end of August, “you will be the class mom this year…you MUST.”

 

Having your mom as Class Mom when you’re in third grade seems to carry elite status. It’s like being a hall monitor or on safety patrol, but better because your mom is ALWAYS in the classroom for the smorgasbord of events – events that often involve food.

 

So midway through last year, Jonah began plotting my move to become his Class Mom – the quintessential Queen Mama School Bee. Maybe he was motivated by first choice cupcakes at the end-of-the-month collective birthday parties or maybe he simply wanted to bask in the glow of my in-class presence, who knows. But the pressure was on and I didn’t want to let him down.

 

So I promised that this year to volunteer as class martyr and throw myself into the minutiae of mind numbing responsibilities like collecting Scholastic book order forms. I am not knocking the importance of the administrative efforts that must happen to make a classroom run smoothly, I just have no interest in doing them. And while I swear I am at the school for pretty much everything – or certainly everything that warrants an in-person visit, the class mom literally is there for EVERYTHING. Things frankly, I’ve chosen to avoid.

 

So believing that Jonah would feel more pride in my being his Class Mom than if I were to say win a Nobel Prize for eradicating the Swine Flu, I decided to suck it up and sign up. After all, how much longer will my son actually want to see me in his classroom?

 

What I didn’t realize was that this Class Mom thing had become super competitive. In past years at Back-To-School night a paper was passed around seeking volunteers. I would always push the paper to other desks mumbling softly so the other moms could hear and not think that I was shirking my duties something like, “I really wish I could, but I work full time.”

motopay2
12.10.10

I think that this is a prime example of an opportunity for women to stand together as a whole "mothership" and not be feathered by the other "shit". Look at all of this petty garbage and try to get over it please.

motopay2
12.10.10

Did you tell "ms. complainer" that you knew that she was talking about you?

motopay2
12.10.10

the "luxury" of needing only one income is not even a choice in a country that doesn't give any time for maternity leave. That is if you want to know your child and raise your child yourself; a thankless task in this society. A "huge thank you" would be to recognize this as not a luxury but a real JOB important to society!

motopay2
12.10.10

Who says that a stay-at-home mom is "doing nothing"? That is a judgemental statement towards families where only one parent works and I find it offensive. Why must women, and mothers especially be pitted against one another in this way.

evd1068
06.09.10

Class mothering is a different experience each year. It all depends on the teacher and what the school does or does not provide to the classrooms. No one should expect to do this job without figuring on shelling out a bit of cash along the way. Because of a lack of volunteer parents in my son's K, 1 and 2 class, I have done this job for the last three years and for both of my children's classes this year (K and 2nd grade). The first two years while working full time and again now that I am taking a hiatus from corporate world. It's a juggle no matter what. While it's very hard if you are a 9-5'r, don't assume stay-at-home moms don't have other obligations too. Maybe they are caring for ailing parents, volunteer elsewhere or have household issues you don't know about. Just because you are working full time out of the house doesn't excuse you from your obligations to the school and your children.
If you do find or make the time to take it on, enjoy the happiness you bring to your child because you have just made them one of the most popular kids in the class. You also get the benefit of knowing the teacher(s) better, meeting all the kids, some additional interaction with the administration and knowing the other parents (for better or worse.) To me, it is worth any bit of money, aggravation and time to have that experience.
That being said; it most definitely isn't for everyone. If you don't have money in your budget to cover shortcomings during the year, you will need to be very creative or very good at chasing people for help-financial or otherwise. If you can't work out the schedule and be there to schlep for each event, do yourself, the other volunteers and the teacher a favor and don't sign up. It's better not to volunteer than to sign on and not be able to fulfill the tasks when needed or be grouchy while executing them. Instead, please do help the class moms out whenever possible and,
1.) DO NOT complain about what they are doing. I'm sure they are doing their best even if it may not be what you might have done if you had the time to do it yourself.
2.) Meet your own obligations by responding to requests quickly and contributing to the parties and events whenever you can. You don't have to spend time baking or in heavy preparation. Everyone goes grocery shopping and there are always store bought goodies, supplies, drinks, etc that will help the class immensely.
3.) Don't skip out on the class donation. Your child benefits from all that happens in the classroom. Most classes don't ask for more than $20 and maybe some cash at the holidays or end of year for the teacher's gifts. If you can't afford what they ask for, give what you can. The class moms will understand and just be glad you actually sent in the money without being called 5 times. Ultimately the class moms end up having to cover what the other parents don't deliver.
Definitely do jump in and sign up if you can. You may not love it at every event but your kid will be so happy you are doing it that it may make up for the time, money and back biting that sometimes comes with the territory. Just smile and realize that, like childbirth, you probably won't remember the painful parts but only the good times that you hopefully have when you are there. They don't stay this young forever.

momof2boys
02.26.10

There are plenty of moms in my son's school who don't go to an office during the day, and whose job it is to focus exclusively on this kind of stuff. We are lucky to be in such a great district where a good number of families have the luxury of needing only one income.
So I don't feel guilty about my lack of interest in the class mom job. And I give a HUGE thank you to the moms that do it. I sign up to provide snacks, deliver school supplies when they are needed, and I've even apologized to my son's teachers (they job share) for not being more available during the day, who in their awesomeness pointed out to me that they are both working mothers so no need to apologize!

Michi
02.04.10

I don't believe there is a class mom in our class this year because no one would take the job! The teacher sends out all the notices of the after-school parties, etc.

RedGal
10.13.09

I would never be the class mom, I think the other posters covered most of it. I do volunteer and and always give money for the gifts because I know that the classmom will pay out of her own pocket. I recently posted on truuconfessions.com about how amazed I am at how many parents have no school involvement at all and that's something coming from me because I am not a "joiner" at all. I don't mean volunteering because I know most people can't fit that in bacause of work . The showing at our back to school night was awful and that is information to help you and your child.

bbmup
10.07.09

I recommend 2 parents (usually moms) share the position and split the duties I did it last year for my 5th grader (our elementary goes to 5th), and it was a JOY (yes, I said JOY) to do the tasks with a partner. I am a full-time working mom with 3 kids and my co-room parent was nearly a full-time volunteer stay at home mom with 2. Even better was that we each had different skill sets that we could capitalize on. It was a great mix, and I am so glad I had the experience. It was good for our children, the class, and the teacher. Both of us also volunteered for our other children's classes, we just did it on a more selective level. Figure out a way to make it work - but only do it if you are interested. We still need the parents who give donations, send in supplies, bring food, and write the checks!

Separately, for our youngest child's Kinder class, we actually had a group of moms and 1 dad who volunteered all the time. There was 1 parent a day who helped the teacher sort, organize folders, grade homework, decorate the room, etc. And a core group who always came through with class donations, wish list, dream list (Yes, I said DREAM LIST). Ask your teacher if she has a dream list, and you'll find out what she really needs! Now we are 2 years out from Kinder, and most of us are still a great core mom group even though our kids are in several different classrooms. And, we each gravitate to different tasks so it works well most of the time. But, we do have to protect ourselves from the contrary parents who bark at others or are never satisfied.

MyHormonesMadeMeDoIt
10.06.09

I say sign up for a field trip when possible and call it a day. Class mom just does not seem conducive to working mom.
http://www.myhormonesmademe.com