By now the class mom sign-up sheet has likely arrived in your child’s backpack. Or maybe it was passed around at back-to-school night. I’d like to take this opportunity to stick a shiny gold star on your cute little forehead for even considering this noble role. You are a mom among moms. Just don’t take this responsibility lightly. Class parenting is not for the faint of heart. Many are called, but few are chosen. (Especially if you have a power-drunk PTA board that subjects you to a cloying application process as though you’re vying for Homecoming Queen. But that’s another post).
Between all my three kids, I’ve probably served four or five class mom sentences terms. It’s not like I’m trying to pass myself off as the class mom Grand Puba. I have simply learned a thing or two along the way. And I like to help a sister out. Like loose bowels and other dirty little secrets of labor and delivery, there are elements to class mom stints that insiders tend to keep on the low. To heck with that! I’m telling it all. Here’s what you should know.
- Class mom is not Mommy & Me time. You’ll be asked to do things with as many as a half dozen kids at once—like math bingo, making Thanksgiving hand-print turkeys. If your kid is always first or gets do-overs, the game or activity will get old really fast for the rest of the class.
- Yes, you can juggle class mom with your fulltime job. Depending on the school, you may get a definitive clique vibe from the tight-knit group of mothers who typically volunteer—like it’s an exclusive sorority of stay-at-home-moms and you don’t measure up. Usually, even if most of the mothers don’t have paying 9-5’s, they don’t mean to come off as stuck up, judgmental haters. So put your big-girl panties on and step up. You don’t need new best friends, but you do need to be involved in the place your kids spend most of their time. As class mom, you don’t need to log weekly hours of actual face time. The main thing is communicating with parents and organizing them to donate food, supplies and in-class help when the teacher asks.
- There will be snot. No tissue? No problem. A sleeve or back-handed wipe is proper hygiene in a kid’s world. Think about how often you have to remind your own children to wash their hands after making potty. Now multiply your kid by 23. If you have a germ phobia now is a good time to get over it. Alternatively you can invest in a fashionable hazmat suit or carry hand sanitizer around like an appendage to ward off boogers and other bacteria.
- You’ll work hard for the money (so hard for it, honey). No, I’m not saying class mom is a paid position. But you will be expected to get the parents in your kid’s class to pony up for holiday parties, teacher gifts and various and sundry other happenings. Be prepared to nag some of them with passive-aggressive flyers, annoying emails and the like. Mostly parents mean well. Some are just slackers. Others, like me, are empty headed, pre-occupied and overwhelmed. Still, you’ve gotta get the cash…It’s all about the Benjamins, baby!
- Stay in your lane, boo. Don’t walk around all “bossified” trying to run the show. As class mom, you are merely a trusty sidekick. If the teacher says he likes to call students to the art table one at a time, don’t make the executive decision to corral them in groups of five because you think it will save time. Remember, class moms must wear their thinking caps and listening ears at all times.
- If she is looking for a teacher’s pet it probably won’t be you. Friendly conversation is always welcome, but chances are the teacher already has a best friend. So try not to prattle on and on about everything under the sun. Most important, keep the adorable stories about your kid to a minimum. In fact, pretend you don’t even have kids. Who knows better than the teacher how so very special and positively brilliant your wunderkind is?
- Put up or shut up. Try to refrain from spouting your grand ideas about the district’s budget deficit—or even the juices served at lunchtime—unless you are willing to make up a plan and take action. My grand-daddy used to say, “Opinions are like elbows. Everybody’s got them.” Have you ever taken a good look at elbows? No one’s are particularly spectacular. I trust you get my drift.
- Don’t be a Desperate Housewife. Gossip and drama are best reserved for guilty TV pleasure (alongside a gossip magazine and a pint of ice cream). What happens in the class room stays in the class room. If you notice that Johnny is having trouble reading or Ashley wears pull ups at rest time, keep your trap shut.
- Crack is whack. Okay, girlfriend, we all get that you’re sexy and you know it. But leave the low-rise, ultra-skinny jeggings at home. If you can’t do it for me, do it for your kid. Trust me, once her classmates get a glimpse of your naked backside, she’ll never live it down.