What no one ever mentioned to us, though, was playground politics. If you have kids, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Just as difficult to navigate as a Planned Parenthood Lobbyist at a Tea Party Fundraiser, playground politics are even more scary than a Republican Senate Hearing on contraception, because in playground politics there are....women.
Sorry ladies-but I've never seen a dad get up in arms about the party decor for the 6 year old's Valentine's Day Party not being "inclusive".
Last Fall, I agreed to be a "room parent" for my older daughter's 1st grade class along with 2 other similarly naive people. I know, I know, all you veteran parents out there can stop smirking. This job isn't too hard, but a few times a year we need to hustle and get some shit done. There's the class parties, teacher appreciation week, blah blah blah. And that's when it gets weird.
Let me just tell you, these parents are a tough crowd. Too many emails, not enough emails. They need more reminders about what they need to send in, they need less reminders. The party isn't long/short/fun/creative enough. We left people out. We didn't walk you through it or we over-managed. In general, we suck. Even though we all work, have kids, and are for some reason ridiculously busy, the 3 of us still find time to make creative classroom parties and other activities that we hope the kids and teacher will like, and most of the time we succeed. A few parents thank us, but most are silent. Which is fine-we're not in it for the glory. (Ok, fine, I am, but let's just keep that to ourselves). But sometimes, we make a mistake. And then? Well, let me just say that I wouldn't mess with no suburban mom on the hunt. The thing is, I LIKE all of these people. They're people I see all the time, exchange pleasantries with, even hang out with sometimes.. And I sort of get it-you want what's best for your kid, and maybe sometimes reason flies out the window when you think your kid is getting the shaft. But it's hard to see them as allies in the fight for a Kwaanza free holiday party when they're giving you the smack down for a mistake you made at 3 am while you were frantically cutting out circles for the snow man craft project for the next day's winter festival, AND you have an 8 AM meeting , which means you need to leave before dawn to beat the traffic. While they were sleeping and definitely NOT cutting out circles
But in the end, I'm proud of what we've done this year. Being a room parent is actually a hard, thankless job. Who knew? And frankly, after this experience, I'm not sure why anyone would want to do it, (and now I know why no one else signed up-I am such a sucker).
I guess I'll try to see it for what it is-just politics, not personal. And, I am definitely ready if I ever want to run for office. Sorry Beltway, you ain't got nuthin' on playground politics. These moms could make Grover Norquist piss his pants.