Drunk with Power and Demanding Candy Corn

I think I may have mentioned in passing a time or two that I am room mom in Cody’s first grade class.  Actually I am one of three moms who signed up this year (although I was not planning on signing up and technically allowed myself to be talked into it.)  There are several things I like about being room mom.  I like being a part of Cody’s classroom.  I like getting to know his classmates.  It warms my heart every time one of his peers smiles and waves at me in the hallway.  I like knowing what is going on in the school.  I especially like getting extra face time with Cody’s teacher and I think it helps Cody to stand out from the other twenty-six kids in his class.

Cody and Mustache

I mean, really, how could he not stand out? How many other six year olds do you know that have a mustache?

I do not like having to nag the other parents to help out at various school run events and classroom parties.  I do not like relying on others.  I don’t trust people to follow through because last year when I was room mom in Cody’s kindergarten class I learned that a lot of people don’t.  And I understand.  Heck, last year I fell off the face of the earth several times when Cody had a seizure or when my dad’s Alzheimer’s worsens and he quickly passed.  Life is messy and things happen, I understand.  My understanding does in no way lessen the stress I feel when I have to rely on some random parent to bring the popcorn to make Halloween Popcorn Hands (I actually saved this link for an entire year just so I could remember to make them with the kids this year.)

Halloween Popcorn Hand

Photo courtesy of Colleen over at The Smart Cookie Cook.

I do not consider myself to be a natural leader.  I do not like asking for help.  I took on the role of room mom last year partially to force myself to socialize with the other parents and to step out of my comfort zone.  This year I vowed that I would not be room mom, but instead I would be the person who volunteered for many classroom events.  I would be the person the room mom would be grateful for.  Well, you know – the best laid schemes o’ mice and men go often awry, or gang aft agley, for you literary types out there.

I am trying a new tactic, one that makes me feel a bit evil and pushy but it seems to be working.  When a parent emails me, expressing an interest in wanting to help I reply with a direct request instead of giving them a list of choices.  If they say they can come in to help out for the Halloween party, I express gratitude and tell them to come in at 1:45 to help the kids get into their costumes (five minutes earlier than the scheduled time to ensure they are on time).  If they write to tell me they can bring something in for the party, I express gratitude and respond right away asking them to bring a specific item.

So last night I was happily typing parent names into my Excel spreadsheet (oh, yes I do – I love my Excel spreadsheets) next to the items we need for the classroom Halloween party and I laughed out loud.  I told Husband to watch out; I was feeling drunk with power. I had just demanded, albeit in a nice way, bags of candy corn from a complete stranger.

Candy Corn Collage

About Shoes

I am an elementary school teacher, a former microbiologist, a mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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31 Responses to Drunk with Power and Demanding Candy Corn

  1. jensine says:

    what a cool idea … and drunk with power is healthier than just drunk

  2. Carrie Starr says:

    Oh how I love being a room mom- and demanding candy corn from others without guilt! Glorious!

  3. proud of you, Shoes. The specific, direct request will be your best friend through the school years!

    • shoes says:

      Yes, I think you are right about that. It is not my typical personality type so I am struggling with it but if it gets the job done (and I don’t have to do the whole job myself) then it is very much worth it.

  4. “gang aft agley”! I never thought that I would read that line again–you took me right back to my English Lit class in high school. I love your new approach. I think it’s hard to ask for help and room moms often get stuck doing so much of the work because they don’t know how to go back and ask someone for help–even when they’ve offered. Great idea!

    • shoes says:

      I rather miss high school English Lit class…

      I had a tough time with the room mom thing last year and am still struggling with it some now. It is both harder and easier to have several room moms as you can divide stuff up but at the same time you feel like you need to keep everyone in the loop and not step on others toes. I have just sort of taken charge because no one was stepping up and things needed to be done. The direct approach is working rather well but I am not comfortable with it yet.

      Although if there is left over candy corn, I think I know who will be taking it home (insert evil laugh here) 🙂

  5. Love it!! I’m too scared to be room mom but I do go into my son’s Kindergarten classroom to help out once a month at the specified time his teacher gives me to help out with various projects!! It does give you a close connection with the teacher and it’s great to get to know all the kids! The past two years I had volunteered in my daughter’s Kindergarten and 1st grade classes and the majority of her grade knows me now and always comes and says hi!! It is awesome!

    • shoes says:

      I am not comfortable with the room mom thing either. I go into the classroom and do specific tasks also and I like that much better than the organizing and emailing I have to do for the room mom stuff. It is so awesome to be in the classroom, to meet and get to know the kids, and share that little part of your kids world. I love it!

      So, I can put you down for a bag or two of candy corn, right? 😉 Hehehe

  6. Great job! And speaking as someone who often offers help, specific, detailed requests are the best! Being told what to do is so much better than having to come up with something on your own!
    And besides, my new favourite saying is “I’m not bossy, I’m helpful!”

  7. I am afraid the power is getting to you.
    Good for you for helping out and getting involved. I’m sure it benefits Cody.

    • shoes says:

      I will know the power has really gone to my head when I start demanding candy corn in January!

      It is good to get in there and be involved in the educational process. I am glad I have the opportunity to do this for him.

  8. I get drunk with power at my Guide unit! Being a leader is great because you get to tell the kids (and parents!) what to do and they think you know what you’re doing!

  9. Jodi says:

    Drunk with power is not something I would typically associate with you. 🙂 Having done the route you are doing many years ago, I remember well the frustration and anxiety that went along with the position. The way you are doing it is great! When left to their own devices, most people fall flat. 🙂

    • shoes says:

      Me neither, which is why I find the expression in relation to myself so funny. There is a lot of frustration when dealing with people, even if they are good and mean well. Direct and to the point instructions seem to be working for me even if I do feel a bit bossy.

  10. Love the popcorn hands. An edible spooky idea for Halloween. Your son lights up the room with his creativity. Great post.

  11. oh and i thought i was extremely organized but have yet to dip into excel!!!! I miss reading your posts friend. You and your family are often on my mind and in my hearts constantly! When we come over in the spring we’ll have to get together!

    • shoes says:

      My Excel love runs deep. It is a great program you can use for almost anything. 🙂

      I often think of you and your family as well. I do hope we can connect this spring. We may be making a trip across the mountain this winter; if we do I will let you know.

  12. Nancy says:

    Great idea, the one about just assigning tasks whenever a parent volunteers! You have the makings of a great leader in you! (That popcorn hand is fabulous! Very crafty. May have to give it a try myself!)

    • shoes says:

      The idea of task assignments is going to make this year a while lot easier on me I think.

      I hope you try the popcorn hand – they look so cool!

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