Welcome to the Room Party Parent blog! The focus of this blog is to discuss any and all things related to being a room parent. Whether you’ve been the head honcho for your child’s classroom or have done your part to assist, you know it’s a position that requires time, planning, organization, communication, recruitment, creativity, and so on. This blog is to share tips and experiences, be they successful or not, and to help each other stay positive in a role that’s fun and rewarding, but can also feel a bit overwhelming at times.
What’s that you say? It’s not overwhelming for you? Hey, that’s great! Please stay and share your wisdom…because it was overwhelming for me at first. In fact, until a few years ago, I never thought I’d be head room parent. Sure, I was always keen on helping. I’d go to parent meetings and sprinkle ideas. I donated. I led activity stations. I liked the feeling of contributing, but was happy the fate of the party didn’t rest wholly on my shoulders. I’m more of a worker bee, not a queen. Plus, I always mistakenly assumed there was someone else aching to do it. I’ve seen Bad Moms. The fact that there are movies with whole plots centered around freakishly overachieving moms means they’re out there, right? Not exactly. If they’re out there, there’s certainly not enough to go around!
Looking over the sign up sheet for my son’s class one year, I noticed that all the signatures before mine had written a big, fat NO next to the question, “Are you willing to be our classroom parent?”. I thought about saying yes. Then, I thought about how mine wasn’t the last signature needed. Maybe the parent behind me would be the one to say yes. Maybe they’d been looking forward to it and would be heartbroken to see the opportunity had passed them by. How dare I deny them that! The teacher later sent an email to all the parents stating our class did not have a room parent and to please consider it. I did and I haven’t looked back since. Sure, it’s a lesson in time management and planning, but I’m really glad I stepped up. There’s so much to enjoy about being a room parent. I love going into a class for a party and breaking up the daily routine with some holiday fun. I’m like the reverse Grinch! Wait, that’d just be Santa, wouldn’t it? I’m like Santa! I like getting to know the other kids in my kids’ classes. I get to know some of the parents too. I also feel like I’m supporting the teachers by showing them someone on the outside cares about their class. And, the best part? My kids love it when I’m a room parent. For whatever reason, they’re proud of me when I’m the leader of party time and that in itself feels pretty incredible.
Lately it seems like fewer and fewer parents are able to take on this role. I think some schools have even given up on room parents altogether. For class celebrations, it’s up to the teachers to plan something. Yet another task for our overworked, underpaid teachers!! I totally blame our jam packed home and work schedules. With Room Party Parent, I’m hoping to give precious time back to parents who genuinely want to help, but don’t have the extra hours to spare. Being freakishly overachieving is not a requirement, I promise! By having parties already planned, packaged, and ready to go, parents won’t need to spend hours organizing and teachers aren’t saddled with another responsibility. And, kids still get to revel in a little holiday spirit with their classmates. Win, win, win! Aside from the snack, almost everything you need for a great class party is shipped to you in one easily manageable box. No wheeling wagon loads of stuff to school. No risk of forgetting something and throwing the whole party off kilter. No massive clean up when the celebration’s over. All pluses in my book but, if you read this and decide you don’t need our box, at least we threw a few ideas your way…and convinced you to sign up, right?
At the end of each blog I’ve decided to include a tip for throwing successful class parties. A little nugget of advice I’ve picked up over the years. For my very first tip, I decided on something a tad controversial as Pinterest and other bloggers will assuredly disagree with me. Look at me, stirring up the room parent pot already! Anyway, classroom party tip #1 is - Do Not Use Marshmallows for Games! I’ve done it and have a ton of residual guilt. Why the guilt you ask? As if you couldn’t guess. Trampled, stomped, and smashed marshmallows all over the classroom. The large central rug was especially dotted with gooey white dots that just seemed to smear with every cleanup attempt. After chatting with other parents, I know mine wasn’t the only classroom this occurred. We’re parents. Of children. How did we not see this coming? How do other bloggers recommend this in good conscience? Is it a coincidence our longtime custodian announced her retirement shortly after one of our school’s parties? Maybe, but the marshmallow situation couldn’t have helped. So, use them for trail mix. Make them part of a hot chocolate bar. If you must, maybe, MAYBE use them for bingo pieces, but please, step away from the marshmallows when planning other party games.