Angry room parent: c’mon help me out!

Here is a Momversation that I started. One of my pet peeves: parents who don’t help in their public schools.  Do you judge the non involved like I do?  Loved getting the input of Janice from 5 Minutes for mom ( who I met at BlogHer, Hi Janice! Let’s do “5 minutes for room parents”) and “Mr. Lady” ( love that moniker) of Whisky in my sippy cup (also met at Blogher, sassy, fun gal).

Since I can’t respond to the videos since I went first I will put them here:  I don’t find a difference between single or married parents.  In fact, my co room parent is a widower and he is very involved ( bless his heart).  Also, there are parents who don’t communicate with me, but go to the teacher.  That’s fine.  I check in with her so I know who to lay the heat on and who to leave alone.  Yes, the amount of communication you can get from a kids school is daunting. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to be the room parent to help streamline it and make it more clear.  I hate the amorphous “come help” email. People need specifics and they need to know why?  Example: This past weekend we kept hearing “come to a rally to support charter schools” on a Saturday morning when I –as a blogger– was given free passes for my family to go to Knott’s berry Farm.  My husband was all for ditching the social action and hitting the rides.  Since I grew up going to everything from Libertarian “victory” parties to marches for the the ERA this was causing me some pang.  But, frankly the whole event seemed to vague.  So I delved deeper into it and then I composed this email:

So, do any of us want to get up early and hustle somewhere Saturday

morning?  I know I don’t.  But, I’m going to suck it up tomorrow and

do just that.  We need to have a good showing to show the LAUSD and

the State they can’t pick the pockets of the Charter schools.  They’ve

done it and they will do it again if we don’t rise up against them.

It’s like when the ants face down the grasshoppers in A Bug’s life,

our collective numbers can send those who would underfund ( even more

than we are) into the mouth of a bird.

Okay, not a perfect analogy.  Look, drive downtown, wear a green

shirt, yelp and clap for an hour and go home.

Guess what?  It worked.  Our class had showed up in better numbers than most others ( along with the 15 parents who do most everything).

My family didn’t get on the bus with the crowd.  We put on our green shirts, found a meter, stayed for an hour clapping and yelping, then hoped on the freeway and a great time at Knott’s ( short lines, Camp Snoopy, good for little ones).  Btw, all having matching color shirts not a bad idea at an amusement park.  I could find them easily.

But, don’t tell me your busy.  We all have a lot going on.  I’m watching…

10 thoughts on “Angry room parent: c’mon help me out!

  1. I can come down on both sides of the fence on this one. I’m pretty involved with stuff: work full-time, President of the school PTO, Treasurer of the Youth Football League, VP of our Chamber of Commerce….. So, I don’t sit home and do nothing. I have to take days off work when there is a PTO event during the day (not too often) and I spent all day every other Saturday (home games) during football season at the football field doing working the gate concession stand, etc. (in addition to the weeknights of prepping and discussing football business….which is in addition to getting my kid to 3 nights per week practice…and my husband was a coach). I did my fair share of griping about the parents who wouldn’t even sign up to work 1 hour on 1 Saturday at the concession stand (UGH!!!!!)

    BUT – I also don’t want to be made to feel bad if I can’t do one more thing. My kid is in a regular public school, so maybe I just don’t understand how private/charter schools differ in responsibilities — but why the heck do you have to spend so much time there? I know teachers have a lot on their plate during the day, but why do you have so much responsibility? Shouldn’t the principal/janitor pick out the new vaccum cleaner? Granted – I understand their are always extra events that need parent help to accomplish, but it sounds like yours is extreme.

    I know that being ‘busy’ isn’t easy to hear, but DANG IT – we ARE! Even if my BUSY includes staying home to clean my house, it has to be done. My busy might be sleeping in ONE day of the week, so I can’t go to a rally on a Saturday morning.

    I hate to bring up the stay at home/work outside the home (and all combinations in between) differences (I’ve been both), but there IS a difference. I’m not saying that the stay at homes should do all volunteer work, not at all (nearly all the good volunteers for football work outside the home). BUT, it is a factor in the time available to do project. I can’t do all the stay at homes can because I would have to give up my vacation hours at work. It just is not possible.

    Good luck getting more communication from your parents…..I know it is a frustrating, tough position you are in.

  2. My wife is a public school teacher and deals with non-participating parents all the time. Teachers can only do so much. You don’t have to be crazy-involved in every project, but a little bit can go a long way for each child.

  3. You make a super good point. Engaging people gets them more involved. I bet if you keep sending personalized emails, you’ll keep getting more response. Either way, this video was way fun to do with you! *waves hi!*

  4. Did my time on the PTA. Yep, the 15% do the work. I think a lot of other parents are not interested in helping as they are afraid to get sucked in to doing way more than they want to, guilt. Or afraid of the PTA, Room Mom wrath!

    I decided I was happier volunteering directly in my kids’ classroom when I had the time to do so.

  5. You: uninvolved parent running frrom me like that plague. Me: Room Mom. Just as freakin busy as you are. I have no super powers. I cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound. I am not independently wealthy. I do not sip pina coladas in Hawaii between class parties. I am doing this because I love my child AND I really like yours. Though, you leave something to desired. My 5 year old can return an e-mail. Why cant you? I am not asking you to sell a bucket of cookie dough or ugly jewelry or Coupon Books that nobody wants. I am asking you to bring cupcakes so that YOUR CHILD can eat one too. What I do as room mom DIRECTLY affects your child. Dont lump me in with everyone else begging for money for arbitrary school needs. Not that they dont legitimately need the help. I know there’s alot coming at you and I feel it too, but the moment the sperm hit the egg this became our responsibility. I am working to make your child laugh and be happy. The bag fulll of loot they come with after the Halloween Party that gives you a few moments peace didn’t fall out of the sky. It fell out of my wallet. With money that I spend the EXACT same time and energy earning as you. The only difference is you reap the benefits. Are you better than me? Are you some elevated above such petty costs and is it my duty to make sure you are pampered?? Should I feel lucky to be able to serve you in this way? How about a simple “Thank You” after you show up to the party at the last minute and enjoy the time with your child after I sent you several witty, and well thought out emails asking for just a bit of your ever so precious time and/or dollars. Not even a thank you, but how about you fain interest when I try to make small talk with you about your child who I spend alot of time with and kinda feel funny that I we have never conversed. Just that would be something. Maybe you have no personality. Maybe you are scraping the last bit of deodorant out of the barrell because you cant afford to buy any. I doubt it given the size of that SUV you don’t wave to me from. Understand, I dont wanna be your friend either, but we share something very special together. OUR KIDS!! I would love it if, when my daughter tells me something so awesome she did with your child, I didnt have to think “Well that’s great…too bad his parents are cheap jerks.”

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