Wednesday, February 13, 2008
OLD ROOM MOM
Something a roommom who takes her job seriously might make. Not me.
A couple of weeks ago I went to the local craft store in search of Valentine's Day craft crap. There was nothing there. Of course not--it was two days before Valentine's Day why would I expect to find anything for that holiday? They were already on to Fourth of July. I was there because, for some reason I cannot remember, I volunteered to be a room parent again this year and it was my turn to run the Valentine's Day party.
I stood at a sale bin of half a dozen red foam thingies with two other slacker roommoms picking through the stuff listlessly. They looked as disinterested as I did so I suspect they are old hags like me who have been at this a little too long.
It doesn't help that this year I am paired with one of those annoying uber-roommoms who wants to do everything to the nth degree. She is not familiar with the saying "less is more". In fact, she may not be familiar with the word "less". If a few snacks are good for our kids then ten snacks are better. If two games and two crafts are fun then 12 of each must be that much more fun, fun,fun!!!
I worked the holiday party with her. She was in the corner overseeing a craft project in which the kids made necklaces out of jingle bells (actually, a pretty good, low-key project). Before long I heard her voice rise sharply, "No, you need to stop now! You have TOO MANY JINGLE BELLS!" she was saying to a girl who was rather maniacally stringing a few thousand bells on her vinyl lanyard rope. A few more minutes passed and she came over to get help.
"What. Am. I. Supposed to do about this!" she hissed at me with barely contained fury.
"Excuse me?" I said.
"That girl!" she said speaking of a tiny fourth-grader as if she had just knocked over a liquor store. "She's using too many jingle bells!"
"Ask her to stop?" I suggested.
"I did and she won't!"
"Alright," I sighed, "I'll play bad-cop." I walked over and tapped the little felon on the shoulder. She looked up at me with Ritalin-laced-googley-eyes and I knew there would be no reasoning with her. "That's your last jingle bell," I said.
"I just have to finish this," she said, without malice. She was not naughty, she was crazy.
I went back to break the bad news to the roommom. "She doesn't mean to hog them, she's just fixated."
"Well!" she harumphed, "What will I tell the other children when they come to make a necklace and we're out of jingle bells!" she demanded to know. I looked around the room. There was a karaoke machine in the corner, snacks on the table, gifts from the gift exchange in a pile, Nerf football in another corner, and a rockin' game of Twister out in the hall. I looked at the clock. There was maybe 10 minutes left before clean-up time.
I shrugged. "I don't know what you'll tell them. They'll be heartbroken if they can't make a jingle bell necklace."
Later the crazed roommom sidled up to me and asked if she could help at the upcoming Valentine's Day party. No, I assured her, I had it all taken care of. She looked crestfallen and I was confused.
"You mean you actually WANT to attend?" I asked incredulously. I would rather try to wrestle a toddler into a snowsuit (the fourth level of hell) than attend a class holiday party.
"Yes, of course I want to attend!" and she looked at me strangely. "Why did you even volunteer to be a roommom?" she asked.
Well, that stung a little. But she's right. Why am I a roommom? And why am I making fun of someone who's doing her job well and taking it seriously? I'll tell you why! I have roommom burnout--big time. I've been doing this for years and frankly, I wasn't that good at it when I was ten years younger and gave a shit. I don't like coming up with crafts, I don't think kids need more treats, and actually, now that I think of it, I don't really like kids.
So I've decided to move on. Much to the relief of the roommoms and children everywhere, I bid you adieu. I'm passing the torch. Hanging up my brownie pan. Retiring my glue gun. You get the idea.
Good luck and remember, when it comes to room parties, more is probably more.