Ahh, Dec. 21 I’ve been waiting for you to arrive. Today marks the official beginning of winter break. School is out and let the no homework or waking up early for 14 delicious days celebration begin.
Today is also what some parents call the recovery day as in recovering from yesterday’s school holiday party they had to either assist with, contribute to and/or eyewitness.
Now with children no longer in elementary school I’ve been out of the school party trenches for a couple of years, but I’ve still got the emotional scars. Yes you read that right — emotional scars — because there’s nothing like an elementary school party to alert you to how you fall in the parent pecking order.
For instance, if you’re asked to bring napkins to the second grade winter party then you know that’s code for the homeroom parent and the party subcommittee thinking you’re a loser. Napkins signal that you’re third-string and riding the bench in the over-involved parent Olympics.
If you’re assigned napkins it’s like getting a note that says, “Don’t worry we know you’ll probably forget to buy them and if you do then you’ll probably forget to put them in your kid’s backpack which is why we’ve asked three other moms just like you to bring napkins in hopes that one of you actually do it. Oh and P.S. would it kill you to get ones with a holiday theme?”
I’d hate to see what would happen if you bought a roll of Bounty paper towels and tried to pass them off as napkins. Okay, I might know exactly what would happen. In my “friend’s” defense the paper towels did have reindeers on them. And did I mention they were the super absorbent variety. Hello, seven-year-olds spill things. I call that multi tasking - napkins that are also the quicker picker-upper.
In the spirit of educational research I’ve created a handy guide of the seven types of party parents you might experience at a suburban elementary school. Consider it my holiday gift to you.
The Wagonner: This mom can be seen parading down the school hallways with a Town and County red wagon crammed with party supplies all neatly packed in labeled bins from the Container Store. And because this mom takes her duties seriously she’ll have monogrammed her name on the wagon lest anyone dare to forget that she’s the one that contributed a majority of the party goodies.
The OCD:- You can’t spell fun without OCD. Oh wait, you can because there’s nothing like a 40-year-old control freak to kill the fun buzz. Cookie platters have to be symmetrically placed on the table. The crayons for the art project all have to be organized according to the Pantone color wheel and God help you if you bring Bounty paper towels.
The Pinterest Passionista: If you want to see a crafty mom cry just watch as 26 kindergartens go rogue on a multi level mini marshmallow recreation of the North Pole and turn it into a snowman “poop” fight
The Look at Me: We all get it you’re the life of every party. But maybe just this once you could simmer down and let some third graders enjoy the spotlight.
The Educational Whiner: This parent is gripping about how the party should have some sort of “learning component” while not so casually mentioning their kid’s acceptance into the gifted and talented program and Duke TIP.
The Suck Up: A laser has nothing on this parent’s ability to zone in on the teacher and begin operation “How Can I Make You Like My Kid the Best.”
The Feeling Like I’m Back Getting Shade From the Cool Kids in Junior High Parent: Alright, this could just be me, but I doubt it. Please someone tell me I’m not the only one who has ever felt this way.
Reach Sherry Kuehl at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.