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.
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.)
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.