So I got called lazy by a total stranger today and it took everything I had NOT to totally go off on her Martha Stewart little butt. Maybe I should fill in the whole story:
Back in October, I got a rather frantic call from the "Head Room Mom" at my kid's school. She needed someone to step up and be the room mom for my son's 3rd grade class. She had already called me the month before and I had politely refused -- I had offered to help in any way that I could but I have 4 kids, and RUNNING a class party is hard enough without having to keep up with the 2 and 4 year old that I would have in tow at all times. This time, after about a 2 hour conversation, she had convinced me that it was "super-easy" and that "everything is practically done for you" since there are only 2 parties allowed in the class each year, so I reluctantly accepted and waited for my folder to arrive with all of the information. I never got a folder.
I had kind of forgotten about it, what with trying to raise 4 kids and having a husband who is working 2nd shift...oh, and having my gall bladder removed in the beginning of December, which left me throwing up for 6 days after surgery. So after my surgery when I finally start feeling somewhat human again, I remember that "Crap, I have to plan the 'Holiday Party' for William's class" and realize that I never got the stupid folder with all of the "super-easy" info and stuff that is "already done for me" in it. Now, in hind-sight, I probably should have called the school and found out who the "Head Room Mom" was again (since I couldn't even remember her name), and tried to get her phone number so that I could have called her and asked her whatever happened to the magic folder. But I didn't. I thought "Hey, I have a degree in English, its a letter saying 'There's a party. Send Chips,' so how hard can it be?" So I took a whole five or six minutes to whip out a letter that said basically that and to ask the parents to send in a wrapped ornament to do an ornament exchange ($5 limit). I hopped in the car and took it to the school office and left it to be copied and given to the teacher to pass out on a Tuesday afternoon before the party 9 days later on the following Thursday. The office staff said that they would run the copies as soon as it was approved and that they would call me if there was a problem. I never got a call. But Friday night, I got an email from that Head Room Mom letting me know that the letter had not gone out. The office staff had given it to the Assistant Principle, who had given it to the Principle, who had contacted the PTA President, who had called the Head Room Mom -- this process apparently took 3 days. The problem was that it wasn't the "pre-approved" letter that was supposed to come in the fabled "So-Easy-A-Caveman-Can-Do-It Room Mom Folder" that I never got. I was not allowed to tell the parents to send a $5 ornament -- I was supposed to say "new or gently used" in case some of the parents didn't have the money for such things. I thought that was ridiculous since I sure wasn't asking for "new or gently" used paper plates, napkins, chips or drinks. I was pissed. So by the time I found out about it, it was too late to send any letter out, and I got to do the entire party by myself. We had snacks, candy, and a goodie bag to take home and the entire party cost me over $100. We did not have a craft or a game. I was the only parent who showed up even though the teacher had sent home a note the day before the party inviting everyone to attend. The kids had a great time and there was almost no left over food. I thought that I pretty much rocked.
Well, the only other party allowed during the school year is Valentine's Day. (First of all, I find this 2 party rule completely asinine. There should be AT LEAST 5 parties a year for elementary school -- Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, and End of Year.) So it is time to once again to plan for the party. After talking it over with William's teacher, we decided to bend the rules a little and ask a few parents to contribute money to buy pizza. I finally got the Golden Folder and was shocked by how little it actually contained. There are 21 kids in my son's class and only 6 parents had provided emails or phone numbers and I was one of those. So I sent an email to the 5 remaining parents asking them to send in $5 each as their contribution to the party to cover the cost of the pizzas. One email came back as undeliverable, and the same person's phone number was no longer valid. I got 2 responses of "What a great idea" and then....then I got the phone call from Mrs. Polly Perfect.
She introduced herself as "so-and-so's Mom" and then proceeded to go on a self-praising tangent about how she was the room mom for her youngest daughter's class and what a great job she had done and how she would be happy to share some of her tips and advice with me. Now, those of you who know me, know that I was mildly amused by this at this point, and I tried to indulge her fantasy that things are always sunshine and rainbows where our kids are concerned for just a little while longer. She then asked me what kind of game and craft I was planning for the Valentine's Day party and there was an audible gasp when I told her that we weren't planning on having one. I explained that the teacher and I had discussed it and that we had decided that it would be easier to just get the pizzas, drinks, chips and maybe some cupcakes and let the kids socialize for the 45 minutes allotted for the party. Her response? Well she said "I just don't think that it is fair to the kids to deprive them of these fun activities when they only get 2 parties a year just because you are too lazy to organize them. I was really pretty upset that there was no craft for the party at Christmas. I was sure that so-and-so would be bringing home an ornament or something that they had made in class. I had my younger child's class make ornaments as part of their party and they absolutely loved it and had a great time." Through gritted teeth, I explained what had happened with the Holiday party -- that I had done the entire thing by myself with 2 kids in tow 2 1/2 weeks after surgery and that it cost me over $100 to do so. Her response to that was that it could have been done cheaper -- she had done her younger child's party all by herself "as a gift to the parents in the class" and only spent about $60 WITH a craft and a game. With white knuckles in a death grip on the phone to control my annoyance at Little Miss Perfect, I told her that the teacher doesn't want a game. She doesn't want a craft. She wants pizza and snacks. Period. She went on to pontificate about how our children deserve more from us than 45 minutes of eating junk food and that they should be allowed to make memories during these parties. I was obviously dealing with Rainbow Brite. Her kids must be perfect angels who burp sunshine and poop Skittles. I mean, I don't know about any of you, but I really do not remember ONE holiday party that I had in elementary school. I do not remember the food, or what we did, or how many games and crafts we had -- nothing. I remember that we had parties and they were fun and relaxed and no one was trying to make sure that we finished our craft before we got to eat, or finished eating so that we could play some stupid game.
I finally had to cut into this woman's delusion by telling her that I had to respect what the teacher wanted and that was food and nothing else. I thanked her for her time and (ahem) "advice" and asked again if she would be willing to send in the $5 for the pizza. She said that she would but that she wanted to make sure that the kids had a "good" goodie-bag to take home from the party this time and so she would be doing those as well. Ignoring the obvious dig at the goodie-bags I had provided for the Christmas party, I told her that would be wonderful, relieved that I could check that off of my list. She told me that she would love to meet me in person and would do her best to finish up her younger child's party so that she could get to the classroom and meet me on Valentine's Day. She will surely come floating in on a cloud of pixie dust with forest animals in her wake, birds singing around her head, flowers will litter her path and the room will get brighter by her mere presence. I. Can't. Wait.