Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Co-Room Mom Has Gone Rogue

Remember how I told y'all how I wound up being a room mom, and also what the job entails? And I've given you a glimpse of the quirky personality of my co-room mom Jan. Well, now Jan is a loose cannon, y'all. She's off-message and operating on her own. We had agreed on a clear division of duties: I was going to collect donations from parents, keep track of the money, and organize the class parties. Jan was going to coordinate the classroom volunteers and do crafts.

Early last week I saw her at school when we were both picking up from Jump Rope Club. She wanted to send an email to the parents about volunteering for reading groups, but she didn't know how to get all of their addresses into her email system. I said, "Well, you have that directory of all the parents that I sent to you as a Word file. It will take a couple of minutes, but just copy and paste all of their addresses from that document into your email. Then you'll have them in your mail and you won't have to do that again." Okay, she was going to try that. We also discussed how the PTA was still murmuring about their flat-donation fundraiser, and I wanted to wait until that was over to collect money for the class. I said that it was about time to start organizing the holiday party and the class auction basket, so next week, I would send an email about party stuff AND donating money. And she would send the email about reading groups. Fine.

So I was surprised to receive, a couple of days later, an email from Jan, forwarded to all the parents by the teacher. It was a big unbroken block of text talking about the party, the auction, the reading groups, AND saying that all parents should send in their donations made out to her. Whaaa? The really weird thing was that this missive was a .pdf attachment that Mrs. S forwarded. I have no idea how Jan managed to save her message as a .pdf, but apparently the goal of getting all the parents' emails into a message was not achieved. So the email arrived with no subject line, no text, and a .pdf attachment. It was like a Chinese puzzle box.

I didn't know if Jan misunderstood our plan, or just had a different take-away from the conversation, or what. So I waited a day, then went ahead and sent out an email to the parents saying, "You've already heard from Jan about x, y, and z, so let's talk about the holiday party," and so on. Jan emailed me right back saying, "Great job w/ the memo! I can never word things the right way so I’m so glad we are together in this!!" And she favored me with an emoticon:
She said that one mom had given her a check, unsolicited, and it seems that Jan panicked and decided she needed to collect all the checks. Or something. But if she is going to keep track of the money, it doesn't actually leave me a lot to do. I considered offering to take over the parent volunteering stuff, since she is now doing the money. Then I smacked my hand against my forehead over and over until I came to my senses. But maybe I am kind of a control freak, or more likely, words and tone are just really important to me, because I didn't like losing control of our communication strategy.

So that's what's up in Room Mom Land. Meanwhile, the children are learning and flourishing, etc. So all is well, I GUESS.


Keely said...

Or maybe you don't like being represented as a manic, computer-illiterate spaz?

Yeah, me neither.

Minnesota Matron said...

Please. Can we slip something into her milk at lunch time? Ugh.

The Stiletto Mom said...

Hi there! Wanted to let you know there is an award for you over at my place. :)