I have always wanted to be the working mom who could have her cake and eat it too. Preferably two slices.
This year, I decided, during the Meet the Teacher extravaganza, to volunteer for every field trip and room party for the year.
I think I ate the whole cake.
Honestly, after the first field trip to pick apples I forgot that I had volunteered for EVERY party. Then I got the email for the Halloween party and I remembered.
Fuck me. I am going to take time off work and spend it with 30 first graders. You couldn’t pay me enough money to do that. And, after going to these school events, my kid’s teacher does not get paid enough. I’d like to start a campaign to raise the pay of first grade teachers by 50%.
Pretty much, the parties consist of kids rotating from station to station making crafts, eating snacks and making enough noise to deafen everyone in a three-mile radius.
You know, the first few parties I was on ring toss and musical chairs patrol and it wasn’t terrible. Okay, it was. There were some really sweet kids, and I made it a point to talk to my son about them afterward and not so gently nudge him in their direction. And there were obnoxious kids and I prayed that he wasn’t friends with them.
“Gee, isn’t Olivia sweet? You should talk to her.” Or, “So… are you friends with Wyatt??? No? Well, maybe that’s best. I think you should definitely keep having lunch with Tyler.”
Once again, I don’t know how teachers handle it all. I had a few kids who came up that I could pinpoint as bullies. The cocky boys who would grab at the rings to toss, or the ones who would look at me with a raised eyebrow and ask, “So, whose mom are you?” Little shits. I hope they stay far away from my kid.
Then, there were the greedy kids. They wanted two turns, three prizes, and they would hang on me, hoping I would give in. If only I could have treated them the way I did my own children. I would have said, “Oh, hell no. Get your sorry ass in time out and stop begging.” Instead, I was all sunshine and saccharine, “No, no. You just get one lollipop. Now move on to the treat table.”
And, oh my Jesus. The treat table. There was one mom who made all the treats because she had one of those kids who can’t have gluten, or nuts or anything fun. But, seriously, I would have eaten her treats. She made GIANT Rice Krispie treats, coal made out of Oreos and marshmallows, mini cupcakes with hearts, and she brought the good juice boxes. Not the Honest Kids crap, but Hi-C fruit punch. When does she have time for this? I would have brought bagged graham crackers and store bought cupcakes, and then I would have thought I did an excellent job.
Each party was so painful, but I kept going back because my son seemed to love that I was there. And, frankly, I really didn’t know how long that would last. When will I become an embarrassment to him? When will I be banned from these parties?
Finally, I was vindicated. At the last party for Valentine’s Day, I was told that I was labeled by the kids as, “the fun mom.” Because of this, I was allowed to leave the purgatory of ring toss/musical chairs and man the Bingo table. I didn’t know I had been the bastard stepmother and relegated to the ring toss corner because no one knew what to do with me. I just thought that was where I was needed. Nay, nay. I was not cool enough for Bingo. Not until I was, “fun mom.”
Each kid grabbed at the giant rolling cage that housed the Bingo balls and wanted to turn it themselves. I relented and let each kid turn it once. One kid said breathlessly, “Even Max’s mom doesn’t let us turn the crank.”
Yes, that’s right I am cooler than Max’s mom. Suck it, judgy parents.
I still wanted to put the little bastards who clung to me and grabbed at the Bingo cage in time out, but I very gently encouraged them to fuck off.
Finally, the party was done and I could take my little boy home. He walked tall and held my hand on the way out. And that is what makes me the “cool mom.”