Thursday, September 11, 2008

Missing Parenting Memo #46

URGENT MEMO

To: All new parents of entering elementary school students
From: "Oops, I did it again" OHmommy


Dear new parents,

Congrats on your latest parenthood endeavour, the elementary school years. The first couple of days may seem hectic with the amount of paperwork that accompanies your child. It is recommended you file them in a folder and read them thoroughly.

When you receive an invitation to your school's "Open House" please note that children are not welcome. Although it does not state this anywhere on the paperwork, use common sense and leave the children at home. This information will save you from attending an adult-only evening open house with three overly tired and hungry children. You will be completely embarrassed when you walk into the gym, late, coming face to face with hundreds of parents with no children. You might as well be naked. Seriously.

Your open house is the very first impression you have with teachers and fellow parents. Lying to everyone about your "sitter" bailing on you last minute to cover your stupidity is not the best way to start your career as a parent in the school.

Moreso, and of equal importance, when people try to convince you to become the "room mother" you have the right to say no. You have the right to say no to all or some of the following: no the PTA, no to lunch room duties, no to weekly play groups, no to bringing peanut-free holiday treats, and no to helping out during the election day party. You can say no, especially when you begin to feel so overwhelmed with dates and directions that the Chika Chika Boom Boom tree is suddenly blurry and you trip over the "better choice chair."

Again, congrats on becoming a parent of an elementary school student. It is a very exciting time for both you and your child.

Warmly,
OHmommy

PS. In return, I ask of you, to please forward any other memos that might be of interest to me that will save me from future embarrassments.

76classy comments:

momof3crazykids-Val said...

Oh no, they didn't? You really can't bring kids to the open house?

Eve Grey said...

I just wrote a post (more like a blurb really) about how much WORK it all is!

Don Mills Diva said...

Just say NO OhMommy - Just say NO!

A Mom Two Boys said...

Duly noted. And filed in the "to be pulled out in 2 years" file.

Tena said...

AMEN!
Nuff said, lol

Mr Lady said...

Oh, Mommy! Ohmommy! Have you JUST met me? Have my years of PTA bitching not hit home for you?

Resign, right now, from being room parent. NOW, WOMAN. Any PTA that holds a child-free PTA event of any kind, open house or not, is not worthy of your time and efforts. They are focusing on the WRONG thing.

Bring the snacks. That's the hardest-to-fill position, and ultimately, the one most remembered. Most bang for your buck, if you will. Drop them off early and hit the pub.

I'll make you a guide book.

beth said...

Good to know that I am not the only one that is so clueless when it comes to this stuff.

LaskiGal said...

Huh? What? No kids to open house??? I thought this was the time when your little ones take you for a tour, show you their classroom, their desk, their locker . . . stuff like that???

I love "no"--too bad "yes" tends to beat "no" to the punch all too often. Dang it!

Good luck!!!

Megryansmom said...

Eh, screw em and feed em beans. Why would you NOT bring your children to an OPEN HOUSE? Parent Teacher conference yes, but Open House, that's ridiculous.
P.S. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, one of oiur favorites!! Whoaaaaaa Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Flea said...

I know, right? I did that last year for the first time and my kids were in 4th, 7th and 8th grades. Ugh.

Here's another memo: When the school sends out papers in the summer telling you there's a meeting on X date at X time and you put it on your calendar, watch for emails and follow up mail. Almost every time the time has been pushed back a half hour, ensuring that I'm on time (I thought I'd be half an hour early to get a parking space).

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Do not let your children see their school work that you have kept for 3 weeks in the binder that is now overflowing because for god's sake they bring home 5 papers a day on the TOP of the trash pile. Hide it BELOW the empty cereal box.

Picture day will be right around the corner. The order form must be prefilled out and prepaid or you will not get it.

Get an effective dayplanning system. Your world is about to change in ways you can't imagine.

Designate a large area of your house for school crap.

KEEP BELIEVNG

PS (I called the day of the open house to ask and was told no kids. I lucked out that the junior high kids next door were available). By the way, when your kids get to junior high and high school, suddenly open house night become "bring your kids along" events again. What the????

Jyl @ MommyGossip said...

I want you to know that not only did I say no to the PTO and to the room mom request, but I also didn't make an appearance at back-to-school night--with or without the kids. I put in sooooo many hours the past two years, I figured I needed a long break. So far, I am not feeling guilty and my kids haven't asked me to be there once. Seriously, I probably volunteered over 1000 hours last year. I kid you not. Between volunteering in the classroom, designing the school's yearbook, and being a co-chair of the Cultural Awareness committee, I barely had time to chat with T-Daddy. So... let the "no" fest begin.

Wow! Did I need to get that out and validate my decision or what?

In short.... here, here!

krissy said...

That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Not bringing your kids to their school? Duh.

Okay, don't forget about early outs and then don't answer your cell phone because you are too busy with weeds and then don't go pick your kid up an hour late because you forgot early out and you didn't answer your cell phone. However, if you do leave your teary eyed child at school an hour late, then buy the child whatever they want.

Yep, experience. *sigh*

Jolyn said...

You also DO NOT need to order from every scholastic book club order form that comes home in your son's backpack. Believe me, there will be more.

And fyi? Here in Dayton (suburbia) kids were in abundance at the open house before school started...

just jamie said...

Oh. No.

Those damn unreliable babysitters. Pshaw. Yeah. Totally.

And, um, I totally just suckered some parents into many endless hours of cutting out hundreds of gingerbread men, and sunshines, and well... you'll see. ;)

Head's up: You are NOT required to send in EVERY last class "wish list" item. I have about 400 Sharpies now. Oops.

maggie said...

I would have had no clue. I'd have brought a bunch of kids and maybe even peanut butter cookies. I know there is some peanut allergy thing that is a big deal now that wasn't however many years ago (no offense to anyone - I just know little about it), so I'd probably create a really big scene. I'd still say you done good. ;)

Miss said...

WTF? Thats not right. Open House is when the kids get to show off their classrooms. That was not right.

Tip: As tempted as you will be, DO NOT SAVE EVERYTHING YOUR KID BRINGS HOME. Trust me. BE SELECTIVE. If you want to keep the art work and what not, get a three ring and some of those insertable clear sleeves and bam, instant scrapbook.

Elaine A. said...

Oh I SO would've done the same dog-gone thing. Brought the kids, signed up for stuff I didn't want to say "yes" to... I feel ya girl.

DYSFUNCTIONAL MOM said...

I've had kids in school for over 10 years now and I've never been to an Open House that wasn't full of kids. Never even heard of it! So don't feel badly.
I'm the room mom for the Princess's class this year. I'd taken several years off of that whole gig after the divorce & working full time, but now I'm sticking a toe in....

Jill said...

Oh that really does suck, doesn't it? That must have been fun...

Same goes at our school here - though I found out at the last minute - and my friend had to bring her kids to my house too for the sitter.

On the bright side, I bet you made a great first impression!

BusyDad said...

I have to admire your parental excuse reflexes. The "sitter" canceling was sheer brilliance. I should take lessons from you. I would have just said "um... you've just been punk'd!" and proceeded to throw things around like I was on some hidden camera show. (Ok fine, so I've been drinking and can't write anything that makes sense.)

manolosonamission.com said...

OMG, you are turning into Mom! Your kids are going to have the same stories we did. Except you'll have no excuse! You're American!

Irene said...

Seriously! No kids at open house? That is what open house is FOR in our school! For the kids to show the parents their room, projects, etc. Strange. I would call that "parent/teacher get-together".

Oh, I already decided "no" to most of the volunteering. With two other little kiddos, and no easy access to babysitting, there is no way I could do all that stuff without going nuts.

Yeah, like others said - Just say NO!!!

chichimama said...

No kids to parent teacher conference. And make your parent teacher conference for as late in the semester as possible, as if you do it in early October the teacher won't really have a clue yet as to how your child is really doing (assuming he/she is not a problem child).

No younger children to older children's classroom events unless they are expressly invited or you ask the teacher ahead of time.

As class mother, you will probably be getting the 5am phone call saying school is canceled when it snow. Make sure you know where the phone tree is before you get the phone call. Expect the other parents to be grumpy when they answer the phone.

Say yes to making treats, they do not involve need a babysitter for the little ones. Say no to the book fair, please, I beg you. It is like a vampire sucking the blood out of you.

Good luck....

Robyn said...

Hah! That had me laughing out loud!

And I don't think I would've known NOT to bring children to an open house. If both parents want to go (or you're a single parent), you're supposed to spring for a sitter? At an event without alcohol? Whatever!

Karen MEG said...

You can get sucked in... I always feel the pull to get involved in the School council, but I'm good friends with the chair and she says it can be such a major headache.

Ironically I'm volunteering at G's kindergarten class today. I'll do it alternate weeks, just like I did for my boy. Working with the kids, especially the ones just starting school., that's the type of volunteering like.

I think "open house" was the wrong term as well. Sorry that was such an embarassment ... sounds like something I would do ;)

As everyone says, just don't get yourself too involved. You don't want to hate it!

Melissa said...

Hmmm, we have Open House tonight. Looks like I'll be leaving the 1st grader home....

Natalie Jane said...

When you bring your dripping child into class, don't tell us he dropped his juice between his legs. We know what really happened....

Natalie Jane said...

P.S. Sorry. My daughter will be the one needed peanut free snacks. I PROMISE it is just as much a bitch for me as you!

Crystal D said...

Open House = no kids?? We had ours last night too and there were kids everywhere. But I knew that from pre-school last year. Parent teacher conference is a kiddo no-no, but open house, that is totally ok.
Say no to half that stuff!! From my experiences last year, I really enjoyed the stuff where I got to be in the classroom but the library volunteer and book sale, forget it. I loved doing read-aloud and going on field trips. The "in the class" stuff is where you will get to meet the other kids and get a better idea of what Jay would like to talk about after school. That way you'll know what questions to ask to get the answers you want to hear about.

Jessica said...

They really should just start the opening remarks with "Look, here is the expectations of you 1) Send in $100 in one dollar bills to cover all needed fundraisers, field trips, parties and teacher gifts. 2) Budgets are low so if you have an extra at home...we need it: tissues, TP, paper towels, ziploc bags, craft supplies, art supplies, clorox wipes..... 3) We will make the parent teacher conferences at the most incov. time for you. So get over it now 4) Have no expectations that your children will REALLY learn any academics but we believe in social promotion...no worries your kid will go on to 2nd grade regardless 5) This all being said, it is really important that you provide academic and exploratory stimulation at home we don't guarantee it here

Hmmm...cynical? :)

Stephanie said...

Ok, open house was always for parents AND kids at my school. And home schooling is always an option to save yourself from the embarrassment. ;oD

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

I am taking a year off volunteering--it's been fun so far. So far, no one has made a comment yet it is only September....

Courtney said...

We always went to Open Houses with my parents so I totally would have taken my kids. Thanks for the heads up.

Kelly said...

It seems odd that kids wouldn't be invited. At our Meet the Teacher night it's optional. they even have a classroom with 8th graders in it to babysit younger ones if you want. (that is so nice!) Don't be embarrassed. I understand the overwhelming part too. It's so hard for me to say no especially when it's something related to my kids but at the same time you'll find that it always tends to be the same people that volunteer. It's frustrating.

Indy said...

We had an open house two nights ago WITH kids. Who knew? When you are president of the PTA, you can make sure to make a note of it in the paperwork.

I am skipping next week's PTA meeting in hopes that everyone will forget how involved I was in SECPTA. I am hiding until they find volunteers and room moms.

LceeL said...

It's YEARS too late, but I would REALLY like to froward this post to SWMBO. (She Who Must Be Obeyed)

mommynotes said...

Our elementary school sends a big memo home about arranging a sitter because of limited space. Now some people still bring their kids they just ask they sit in the hall if there are several. You can bring your kids to the conferences in the fall and spring but hey have to sit in the hall so I would suggest a sitter.

Sorry you did not get that info. Love the post!

DCD said...

Okay - what if you *gulp* can't make the Open House, of your first born, who just started Kindergarten?!?!

The guilt is killing me, but we have had plans in Boston for two months now. At least I won't get suckered into being room parent. Or anything else because I'm sure I'll be publicly shunned for the rest of the year.

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

oh, you sound like me - I always get the dirty looks, but if you want me - you get my kids too! I don't do babysitters!

Oh, and no one offered to be the room mother for my son - so I told her I would!! Lord help me!!
I've got Phonics books all over my dining room tabel to tear and sort and collate!

Krystyn said...

OHMommy, you crack me up...I'm sure you didn't make any of these blunders, right?

Just say "no!" So true.

This letter applies to daycare as well where they are harassing me to volunteer!

Nap Warden said...

I would have brought the kiddos...What do I know?

Cecily R said...

Oh, I am laughing WITH you on this one...because I have SO been there.

I've been doing the school thing for six years (not counting preschool) and I STILL mess things up like that, and I STILL feel like I don't know what I'm doing. Sigh...

I don't imagine it will get any better when Isaac is in junior high, will it?

Nan Patience said...

These last couple of meet the teacher nights, one of us goes (usually me) while the other stays home with the kids (usually Big Daddy). We used to try to make arrangements so we could both go, but I think that was some time ago now...

Kel said...

Don't worry, we all do it in the beginning, plus we also learn to master the art of saying NO to school duties.

Good luck!
~K

renatamic said...

that's it...i'm officially buying you a super mom t-shirt! cause, obviously that's what you are and are trying to even surpass the supermom status...so time to start thinking of a new nickname? maybe "super-crazy-over-committed mom?" SCOCM for short.

rockanddrool said...

welcome to the life of a mommy of school aged kids!
i just missed my daughters open house...because hubby, who is a teacher...had his open house on the same day AND we had no sitter. and as you found out...children are NOT welcome!!
enjoy!

Tracey said...

I recommend to all new kindergarten and first grade parents: Don't volunteer for ANYTHING other than a field trip or class party here and there. Get your feet wet. Get the feel of the school. THEN Decided if school volunteerism is really your cup of tea...

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Our open house is tonight...and come to think of it, they never say anything either!

The first year, I scrambled to get a sitter and came running in the room just in time for the meeting to start.....once I was there I found out that they were offerring free child care for anyone attending the meeting.....would have been nice if they told me!!!

I think you should say yes to the PTA....they obviously need someone that knows how to communicate with people....and you certainly do!

Lisa

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

I think you are Kick Arse!

the planet of janet said...

we call it "back to school" night. that seems to make it more clear that it's for parents ;-)

open house is at the end of the year, and kids ARE welcome to haul their parents around, showing them all their accomplishments in the classroom.

you're welcome!

AGSoccerMom said...

At our school it's called BACK TO SCHOOL NITE and it's also no kids.
That's when teachers dicuss the curriculum. Our OPEN HOUSE has kids it's a little later on, they have ice cream social or a BBQ to raise $$$ for PTA. Well that's here in California.

kittyconcerto.com said...

Wait.... now I'm not a parent, but let me get this straight.... there's a school function but your NOT supposed to bring your kids??? Um, Houston we have a problem.

DON'T take on too much. I'm inflicted with that disease as well, and it can and will erode your system if left untreated.

Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children said...

HILARIOUS! I'm so sorry I'm laughing at your misfortune. Thank you for this wonderful public service message.

Amy said...

I LOVE this!! So true! And believe me you can say no because all the mommies from your Mommy and Me country club will say yes!

ThatGirl said...

Just went to a Middle School Open House. Even more tedious, if you can believe that.

MommyTime said...

I will have to save these for next year, when I will surely need them! Thank you.

mamatulip said...

Ooooh.

Duly noted.

THopgood said...

Oh Lord have mercy! SAY NO! DON'T DO IT! GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!!!!

Steph said...

I love it I wish you would have posted this letter last year when we went to back to school night with 2 in tow :) LOL

Blessings From Above said...

My daughter is in 3rd grade, which makes me an expert! :) Kids have always gone, and been welcome, to open house. It's their chance to show you all around the school, their locker, etc. Anyways, it never would have crossed my mind that kids were not welcome.

On the other hand, saying NO is something I still can not do. I have been the room mom every year. This year, I decided it was someone else's turn so I did not sign up. Well, nobody else did either so I ended up getting roped into doing it again. Still kicking myself for not having the guts to say no. Oh well!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I think you and I are on a similar channel today.

My tip: If you want to avoid getting buried in papers, I suggest ONLY keeping special projects that your child brings home. If you keep every single sheet of paper they bring home we may never hear from you again what with all the drowning!

JCK said...

Oh NO, Oh Mommy! You didn't? They didn't? It is like being naked. Not that I have shown up naked in public.

Mimi aka pz5wjj said...

Oh, I forgot to warn my neighbor to not bring her kids! She learned the hard way too.

Robin said...

Here is a thought that took me years to become brave enough to implement - You do not have to purchase something from EVERY fund raiser. If you feel guilty, buy the teacher some school supplies, that way 100% of what you spend will go to the school and not in some "fundraiser's" pocket!

Issues? Yeah I have few!

lattemommy said...

I'm sorry, but this post just makes me love you. You've made my day! ((hugs))

April said...

I do see your point about leaving the kids at home, but for some of us, it's not an option. I was glad to see that Riley's new elem school provides babysitting for PTA meetings. I hope the same is true for other events because I have to bring the kids.

Marie around the World said...

I really enjoy reading this post and the one about "Mommy and me".
They are great but you should the memos more often and so it could take off the shame and the guilt of many parents.
And also the comments, so interesting! Thank you ladies, I am taking notes !

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Heh. But really? They should put it in the memo.

* TONYA * said...

since when couldn't you bring your kids to an open house. I've ALWAYS taken my kids ... but then again, I may have been so busy appeasing them that I may not have noticed that nobody else had theirs there too ... mmm, best look for this next time.

Rhea said...

OHmommy, people do sometimes bring kids to our parents' night. It's no big deal. Really. But, I hear your pain. I really do. The bad thing about us parents is that sometimes we're too judgemental of other parents. I say forget about it. If someone really cares, they're silly.

Rhea said...

BTW, my 11yr old son told me today that they can train bumble bees to find explosives. My noodle is baked. I can't wrap my mind around that at all.

Allison Says said...

LOL!

I can't believe that you aren't supposed to bring kids to open house...they expect you to pay for a babysitter to go to a school function? Seems crazy to me.

Marmarbug said...

ugh that SUCKS!
And how the heck did they all know? I would have been pissed!!!

Kim said...

I had no idea about the open house thing..thanks for telling me.. seriously..

Happy Days said...

My computer has broken and I have not been on lately. I just had a quick second to catch up and I am laughing right now with tears in my eyes! I can sooooooooo relate to this. I think they should have mentors for parents of kindergarteners! I feel like I need more of an orienteation than the hour before the first day! You always get me laughing girl. We do live parallel lives with our three babes. You are in Ohio and I am in Boston.

 

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