I spend a lot of time harboring #momguilt, so this school year I decided to assuage my conscience by offering to become one of the class parents at my daughter’s school. Every year, the PTSO relentlessly seeks two parental representatives per grade, and apparently, nobody ever wants to take it on. Now I know why.
I’m fairly laid back (or so I like to tell myself). Okay, maybe I occasionally flip out when the house is a total sty, and I bark at my kid to do her homework from time to time, but I’m not super fastidious about anything in particular. I’ve never read a parenting book (somebody else always did, and then gave me the takeaway), and I’ve always liked to think I seemed cool and fun to other parents. Until now.
Before I volunteered for this gig, I didn’t realise all I was going to be doing was nagging the f*ck out of the other parents. If the teachers have something to relay to the class, they don’t send the email directly to our class email list. They send it to me, and then I forward it along. When the school sends bulletins and reminders, it is my job to resend that same frigging information to our class with a chiding little, “in case you missed this!” asterisk in the intro. I send out emails asking parents to volunteer for school functions. I send out reminders when those first emails have failed to solicit enough recruits. I send out emails asking for money for holiday teacher bonuses. I beg parents for class excursion ideas and then for volunteer chaperones. I send out emails about setting up weekend playdates and get-togethers. Not that anyone would want to go on a weekend playdate with me—I’ve become a total pest!
I swear, in the past six months I have become the most annoying person on the planet (or at least in the primary school). The kind of person you’d hide behind your phone from if you saw me walking down the street. People probably roll their eyes when they see my emails show up in their inboxes. And I don’t blame them. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that I was going to be so damn irritating. After all, I’ve been on the other side, rolling my eyes at the barrage of emails from class parents of years past. Maybe I thought I could bring some pizzazz to the title. More likely, I’d forgotten how needy the class parents could be. Maybe I blocked it out to save my sanity.
It’s stupid to complain, though, because it’s not even that hard. So I send emails. I don’t even break a sweat. It’s super thankless and I can definitely feel the eye rolls through the ethers as I click send, but it’s all basically a cake walk. It’s just not cool. And maybe I’m oh-so lame for saying it (and totally missing the point of parenthood), but I want to be cool. I want to enjoy the Mum Life I signed up for. I want to be the one making other parents laugh as we drink wine while our kids play upstairs. I want to be the one complaining about the mass emails, not sending them.
So, I’ve got a plan. I’m going to have my damn cake and eat it too. I’ll guilt five parents into chaperoning the museum excursion on Tuesday, and then I’ll host a playdate where I can be my regular snarky self on Saturday. I hate being the designated class nag, but I hope the people who know me—the mums and dads I’ve gotten to know and hung out with over the years—also know I’m just doing it to pitch in and that I don’t actually believe they needed three reminders about the craft fair. Maybe next year I won’t volunteer to be the class parent, but I’ll try not to groan when the emails come in. Because, hey, I’ve been there.