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Advice to a New Room Parent

Our friend Wendi Aarons of WendiAarons.com has hilarious inside scoop on what it really means to be a room parent!  Don’t miss her post below (originally published on WendiAarons.com Sept. 12th, 2012).

THE TOP 7 SECRETS OF ROOM PARENTS


1. You’re A Hero
That’s right, a big hero. As soon as it’s announced that you’ve sucked it up and volunteered to be the Room Parent, you’ll be worshiped. That’s because now the other parents no longer have to feel guilty about not doing it themselves. Hooray for you! Of course, you should immediately take advantage of this good will and make them take you out for lunch and coffee and paraffin spa treatments. Because, just like your kid’s new school jacket and $50 backpack, your hero status will soon be lost.

2. You’ll Start the Year as a Benevolent Dictator
At first, you’ll be warm and friendly to everyone. You love the other parents! They’re awesome! You’ll happily invite them to a welcome coffee where you tell them how excited you are to work with the class and all the fun activities you have planned. You assume that if you’re super sweet and likable, the other parents will bend over backwards to help you as much as they possibly can. Hahaha! You are an idiot.

3. You’ll End the Year as an Insane Despot
Because sweet and likable get you nowhere in Room Parent Land, my friend. You’ll first realize this around October when nobody volunteers to help with the school carnival and you’re stuck sweeping up 100 pounds of confetti by yourself in a dark parking lot. Therefore, you’ll need to change tactics and no longer start your emails with a cute, “Hello, parents!” Nope. No way. Now your emails need to start with the much more effective, “LISTEN UP, LOSERS” and include a few thinly veiled threats. Yeah, that’s right. Show ‘em who’s boss.

4. You’ll Be Judged No Matter What
If you skimp on the holiday party decorations, you’ll be called a slacker. If you overdo it on the holiday party decorations, you’ll be called a show-off. The phrase “can’t win for losing” is pretty much the room parent’s mantra. Therefore, just do whatever you want to do. Chocolate fountain? Great! No chocolate fountain? Great! As long as the kids and the teachers are happy, it doesn’t matter what the Judgey McJudgersons think. Even if they were kind of right about how you shouldn’t have given the kindergarteners bows and arrows on Track and Field Day.

5. You’ll Need Loan Shark Skills
As soon as you become the Room Parent, you may as well change your name to Jimmy NoNeck and start lifting weights because for the next nine months, you’re nothing but a good fella chasing the other parents down for money. A $20 contribution to the class fund doesn’t seem like much, but for some reason, nobody ever remembers to give it to you. Therefore, when it comes to paying for things, you have two choices: 1) foot the bill yourself or 2) learn how to bust kneecaps. Guess which one’s more fun?

6. You’ll Be the Teacher’s BFF
The biggest, and perhaps only, perk of being Room Parent is increased proximity to the teacher. Getting face time isn’t always easy, but most teachers will welcome you with open arms and happily chat about your child, the inner workings of the school and what they think about the principal’s love life if you’re hanging out in the classroom helping out. Then, years later, when your daughter needs a glowing recommendation to get into Harvard Med, you’ll know just who to call. Suddenly cutting 100 replicas of the Alamo out of Styrofoam won’t seem like such a time suck after all.

7. You Will Never Have to Volunteer Again
The good news is that once you’ve spent a year as Room Parent, you can pretty much coast for the rest of your kid’s school years. A simple, “What’s that? You need library volunteers? Well, if you’ll remember, I was Room Parent four years ago and I’m still not fully recovered. See how my hand still shakes? Good luck, sucker!” and you’ll get out of anything. You see, fair volunteer, the Room Parent is like a firefighter who almost died while rescuing 10 adorable kittens; nobody’s ever going to ask you to run into another burning building for the rest of your life because you’ve already gone above and beyond. And that makes it all worthwhile. Good luck!

 

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Don’t Miss:

Easy Classroom Parent Scheduling on VolunteerSpot.com

Great Room Parent Tools & Resources (video)

Room Mom Survival Guide (eBook)

Room Parent Ideas on Pinterest

 

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