Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Co-Room Mom is Discouraged

Last weekend I got an email from Jan, my co-room mom. After a few hiccups in our room-momming operations, I thought things were going fine. We had a class Christmas party, our auction basket was lovely, and parent volunteers have been in the classroom every week. Then I got this email:

Subj: Teacher Appreciation Week

Hi Becky, could you handle this? After organizing the last minute
Valentine’s Day craft and trying to figure out the reader and centers schedule I need a break from room mom stuff. It was discouraging to try to make the volunteer list and have many parents upset because they didn’t get all the days they wanted, etc. Thanks!


Then she favored me with an emoticon.

So of course I emailed her back and said, don't worry about it, I'll handle it, I'm sorry you're discouraged, cheer up camper, etc. I offered to take over the volunteer schedule. She hasn't replied to me. But I was a little surprised by her email. I'm not sure what she is talking about when she says that parents were upset because they didn't get the days they wanted. I'm thinking maybe it's that lots of moms want to come in and read to the class, and would do it several times if they could, when there really aren't enough Fridays for people to do it more than a couple of times. I find it hard to believe people would complain about this in an unpleasant way, and Jan should have told them to stuff it if they did.

When I got this email, I harrumphed and read it aloud. Our friend Jane said, "That sounds like a room mom signing off." I think that's probably right. And I love how Jan complains about the "last minute Valentine's Day craft." The story there is, Tuesday of last week, she came up to me at the 2nd grade performance of Seussical: The Musical, and said, "Did we want for me to do a craft on Friday? Because I can." I said, "Well, I think the class is just doing a Valentine exchange, with no parents, but I'm sure that would be fun." And she said, "Okay, I'll do it, I've got the supplies." But apparently the craft was the straw that broke the camel's back. And I should have said, "Noooo, don't do it! It's too much!"

Yes, I'm kind of bitching out about this, I guess, even though it's not that big a deal. But I'm thinking that if I were a medical doctor, I would prescribe Jan a shot of Toughen-Up. That is all.

17 comments:

Carrie said...

But wasn't it one of the parents in your kid's class who complained that not all the kids got the same exact gifts in their goodie bags at the holiday party? They probably DID complain about volunteer schedule.

Becky said...

Carrie, you're right! I forgot about that mom. She needs to shut it!

Camp Papa said...

Oh, yeah! That was the post that gave rise to the now classic: "Man up and lick the ring."

fraught said...

I find people like that exhausting. What does "Did we want for me to do a craft" mean, anyway?? Is that indirectese for "Maybe you could offer to do a craft for Friday?"

I gotta go find "man up and lick the ring." ;)

Amy said...

LOL Dad--that is truly one for the ages. Jan sounds to me like she may have a low threshold for stress, OR maybe she has lots of stuff going on in other parts of her life and this is the icing on the cake for her. That email says to me that she may feel like she is doing more than her share, and this is her non-confrontational way of telling you.

I know you are TOTALLY doing your share, as the fabulous team player you are. I'm just sayin', that's what it sounded like to me. :)

If the shot of Toughen Up doesn't work, there's always the Shut Up Juice. Maybe the complaining parents should have a sip or two.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Ooh, Becky, you are a lot nicer than I would be. Don't let her off the hook. She sounds like a passive-aggressive martyr case. Emoticon smote-a-con.

Keely said...

I'm with the lawyer mom. She sounds like a friend of mine who is SO passive-aggressive that she will offer to do things and then, if statues aren't erected in her honor, will fake a nervous breakdown because she's "so stressed out" and bail out of projects (like, at the last minute leaving everyone in the lurch) because "her therapist advised it".

Yeah, Jan, man up.

Camp Papa said...

Hey, Lawyer Mom, is there an symbol to indicate a virtual smiting??? If not there should be. There is a huge unmet need for it. Is there money to be made here?

Sara said...

Ha! You always handle this crap so well! I'm too quick to lose my inner cool.

Christine said...

Wow...I don't know how I'd have responded, honestly. First of all, if I'm asking someone to do my job for me, I'm calling them on the phone. Seems a little evasive to do it by email...

And second, I do know how I'd respond: I'd do what you did and say "sure, I'll handle it." Then I'd grumble a lot. And write a blog post about it. And hope she doesn't read my blog. : )

Casey said...

Now I feel guilty for not signing on for more stuff at my kid's school.

So why is your co-room mom flipping out after she's the one that volunteered for the job? Is she secretly resenting you for doing or not doing something? Parental politics are the worst.

Michele said...

I seem to be following Casey around tonight. Strange huh?

Anyway, being co-anything sucks. I do have to agree with Lawyer Mom on this one also. Jan sounds passive-aggressive and I should know, most librarians are in a class of their own when it comes to passive-aggressive.

Michele said...

I can't wait to hear the backlash from her or others after the teacher appreciation week. Isn't that at the end of April? At least you guys are super organized. I have a hunch the teacher would probably appreciate some of these moms to go away.

Hootie said...

Wow... I never really thought about the "librarian-passive aggression" connection. That clarifies a lot. "I will sit here and silently imply that you are not worthy of these items that, by the way, I have no more ownership of than do you. But I CHERISH these items... the way the ink actually casts shadows when the sun is low in the sky, the way the smell of the binding indicates the age of the book, the Dewey Decimal pas de deux between numbers and ideas.... Oh, did you find what you were looking for? Just the Mortal Kombat DVD, then? I'll give you a bookmark anyway, just in case you accidently read something."

Becky said...

Mortal Combat DVD. Heh!

And yeah, I do think her email is indirectese for something, but I don't know what. As Casey says, she volunteered for exactly this, and when we divided the duties, she wanted crafts and the parent volunteer schedule. Which are the two things that are now discouraging. So this sends me into a paroxysm of guilt, like, AM I not doing my share? But I think I am. Oh well.

And our Teacher Appreciation week is the week of March 9, so it's coming up. I'm SURE you'll hear mor about that.

Amy said...

You ARE doing your share, so no guilt! I agree with the others, though--that is a classic passive-aggressive email, though. After the teacher app stuff, you'll probably get one saying that she feels bad that she didn't do more to help, hinting that she needs you to make her feel better. Good times!

The Stiletto Mom said...

I can't wait to meet you in person and compare PTA stories. She must be VERY fragile, better not ask her to take over copying or laminating.

Also, the emoticon? PRICELESS.