This one goes out to all you room moms and helper moms. ‘Cause I know, right now, one of you is struggling with sign up genius. You are setting up a multi-hour event with revolving volunteers for a “crafts from around the world party.” There are multiple volunteer shifts that need to be filled, with a hot chocolate station that needs to be manned, and you need to get people to bring veggie trays, fruit trays, chips, festive plates and napkins, hot glue guns, pinecones, glitter, and collect the pizza money, and all that happens on pajama day. And that’s just for your oldest kid. You are also somehow in charge of organizing the group gift for the teacher, the switch teacher, and ancillary teachers.
And you are over it. You are one gluten-free snack tray away from a compete meltdown.
I get it.
I want you to come on a journey with me. Back to Mrs. Dean’s second grade class of Windcrest Elementary School in December of 1981. Go Roadrunners! Now some of you may not remember back that far. Some of you may not even be born yet. And that’s ok. I’ll help you with my 80’s angel wings (of the hair variety) so you can see back in time.
You see that lady with the curduroy culottes, large glasses and the Victorian style top with the puffy sleeves? That’s the room mom. See that large, lime green plastic box she’s carrying? That’s called a Tupperware. She is smiling. She is handing the cupcakes that are in the Tupperware off to the teacher. She is LEAVING. Now the teacher is passing out the cupcakes. One of the students is tearing off school-issue brown paper towels to use as both a plate and a napkin. Now the kids are eating the cupcakes. The teacher is passing out her gift to the kids. It’s a candy cane. Not a candy cane that’s been made into a reindeer with pipe cleaners, pom-poms and google eyes. But just a plain candy cane. They are now watching a film on the projector.
That’s it. That’s the party. And the kids love it.
How we got to where we are today is a mystery to me. And before anyone calls me a Scrooge, know that I love party day. I have achieved the level of “sign up genius master” for when my kid was in the 1st grade, which was the same year I dressed up as Strega Nonna complete with old lady Italian accent for the Tomie de Paola-themed Holiday Party of 2014. I can go all in. But sometimes I think it’s a little out of control.
So how do you stay sane? Well, I’ve got 2 phrases for you.
1. “No, thank you”
Just say no. Another 80’s classic. It’s ok to say no.
But if you end up saying yes— and trust me, we, the slacker moms, need you to say yes—and find yourself thinking about making from scratch chocolate-dipped rice crispy treats on a stick with peppermint sprinkles because you saw it on Pinterest, consider making tear and bake chocolate chip cookies instead, and include your kids in it.
We shouldn’t be just trying to “make it through” December. Make the time to take the time. To do the things that really matter.
And if you still find yourself going crazy, repeat the phrase my friend “sally” (name changed to protect the semi-innocent) and I say to ourselves during this time of year:
2. “Ain’t nobody got time for that…stuff.”
Just saying that quietly under your breath will help you more than you ever know. That and perhaps a holiday libation or two.
So, Happy December guys. I’ll see you at the Holiday Party. I’m the one who will bring the unpopped bag of microwave popcorn. My Pinterest fail will be back at home, in the trash, where it belongs.