Your K-12 Cheat Sheet

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 12.42.20 PMTomorrow I will be the mother of a high school graduate. (Excuse me while I wipe away the tears.)This means that I have done a complete maternal tour of duty of the K thru 12 experience. Like any mother who has reached this milestone I have emotional and physical school project scars from poster boards, glue guns, and dioramas. I still experience lingering episodes of homework related rage and two words can trigger an episode of PTSD – field trip. I’m sure I’m not the only mom who has cried herself to sleep on more than one occasion because she knew in the morning she was chaperoning an all day field trip that required three hours of travel time on a school bus.  

Because I’m a giver, I feel it is only right that I share some of the wisdom I have gleaned from this parenting journey. As always, feel free to take notes.  

Tip 1: Volunteer Early and Often  

Get your foot in the classroom door early. Sure, you don’t want to be THAT mom who lives at the school but you want to make sure you’re getting a peek into the inner workings of the classroom. Yes, you want to help the teacher and your kid thinks it’s awesome to have his mom at school. Who care’s about that, (okay, you should sort of care about that) the real reason you want to be in that classroom is to do your own little FBI profile on each kid. Because here’s the deal, the girl who is mean in second grade is usually still mean in 11th grade. Argue this point with me all you want but I stand by this statement.  

Tip 2: Force Yourself to Go on a Field Trip

Get a sitter for you little one that’s still at home, take the day off work, just make it happen because spending seven hours on the road with your kid’s class is like putting everyone’s personality under a microscope. You find what cliques kid’s separate into, who has severe motions sickness (don’t discount the value of this knowledge), whose parents pack them crappy lunches (trust me every lunch tells a story) and if your kid’s teacher is a screamer. You really don’t know a teacher until you see him or her in a free range environment.  

Tip 3: Don’t Bounce a $10 check to the PTO

Long story but it’s goes something like this; I changed banks and accidentally used the “discontinued” check book. This resulted in an embarrassing phone call about my bounced check and the “service” fee the PTO was charging me (which was much more than the $10 check). For years, I felt like I was being financially tracked and monitored by the PTO. Seriously, I don’t think I was imagining all the side eye I was getting.  

Tip 4: Attend Field Day 

This is your opportunity to bear witnesses to all the parents who think they’re cool. Pay close attention to when the aggressive, sporty dads show up to turn a simple field day activity into the X Games elementary school edition. Also be on high alert for the moms who take 15 hours of “muscle confusion” classes a week displaying their charms. This is when you need to get out your phone and pull up your list maker app. Any dad who is yelling at first graders to hit the bean bag target harder and to really kill it at the Frisbee toss should go on your “Do Not Want this Dad Ever as a Coach” list. As for those hot moms they go another list and I’ll let you figure out what to call it.  

Tip #5: Beware of the School Drop Off & Pick Up Jerks

If there is a parent who still hasn’t mastered the school pick up and drop off lane by the end of the school year the most prudent decision you can make is to severely limited your exposure to them for the duration of your parenting journey. Why? Because they are either idiots of the highest order or they are huge a holes. I’m talking the worst kind of a holes. The ones that think they are so special and so important that even rules made to protect children don’t apply to them. Cutting in line with their SUV, jumping the curb, going the wrong way – they don’t care because it is always and always will be all about them.

Tip 6: It’s a Marathon So Pace Yourself

Pick and choose your battles carefully. The squeaky wheel may get the grease but after a while the principal and school staff will stop hearing the squeak. If you have more than one kid you have to be extremely particular about your complaining quota. You really can’t go full crazy until your last child is in their last year at a school. And yes, in case you’re wondering, to date, I have had two full crazy episodes. Not that I’m bragging or anything.  

Now, there are times when I think that I may not be following my own advice. I just found out the counselor that shepherded my son through four years of high school and would be doing the same for my daughter, a soon to be incoming freshman, is not just leaving the school but she’s transferring to another district. You don’t think she’s running away from me do you?

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

15 thoughts on “Your K-12 Cheat Sheet

  1. 3rd Grade Teacher says:

    Bullseye! Love it and it’s all true. We need to hand this out at back-to-school night for all the parents.

    • On the inside ... where it counts says:

      Agreed! It’s a big playground … there are all types. So glad that there are wise Moms like SITS who are raising kids who will be adults when my kids are adults!

  2. Abs says:

    Mom of five kids here and the school pick up and drop off tip is right on. Also, love the pace yourself advice. Hugs to you Snarky!

  3. Emily says:

    I’m new to your blog. A friend shared your link on Facebook and I kind of think you sound like a jerk. I bet the counselor is running away from you. It’s bouncing check moms like you that tick me off. Volunteering up at school so you can “profile” children. You sound scary. I volunteer to help out and I’m PTO vice president for the same reason. Get an attitude change lady.

    • MamaL says:

      Tip #7: figure out the parents with no sense of humor nor the technical ability to unsubscribe from newsletters and limit your exposure.

  4. Daria Morgendorffer says:

    Snarky tells it like it is. Sorry if that bothers anyone. I for one appreciate her honesty.

    And while we all volunteer because it’s the right thing to do — the wise mom also uses that opportunity to quietly observe and gather intel about students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Our kids spend very long days away from us at school.

    How else are we supposed to really comprehend what school is like for them, as they navigate the cliques, the politics, and rules (written and unwritten) ?

  5. Mom Meets Blog says:

    Truer words have never been written! All those inside peeks into the world of how kids interact with each other throughout the years pays off – my son is now in middle school and the way the kids have split off into the different cliques is not surprising at all – and no surprise to my kid either, which makes life easier for him!

  6. yabaald says:

    B*tch in 2nd grade is the B*tch in 11th, so true. Not there yet, my oldest is in 8th, but I KNOW who da B*tch is. I always have, lol!

  7. Pearl ;) says:

    I have tears running down my leg….AGAIN!!! If you can’t make a field trip, try the 3 day “outdoor education”. That is this beautifully worded advice, all witnessed in one shot. If only smuggling wine wasn’t frowned upon. Emily needs directions on how to un-follow. LMAO

  8. Catherine says:

    So true about pacing yourself. In my school, we all know who the overbearing, helicopter, screaming, “what have you done to my lazy ass kid?” parents are. The typical responses are an eye-roll, blowing them off, and a warning to next year’s teachers. The response we’d like to give though would get us fired.

    And some PTA moms are cool, but a lot of them are reliving their high school years. It’s sickening.

  9. Jeanne says:

    As a PTO treasurer for 4 years, there is nothing worse than making the phone call that a check has bounced. (It was the worst part of the job) The extra fee I passed along was only what the bank charged us. The rest of the post was spot on though! My daughter is “graduating” 8th grade and the High School will have a whole new set of mine fields to wade through, thanks for the reminders!

  10. A.PROMPTreply says:

    Oh, I know those ones at the drop-off lane that think it’s all about them…..Oh, they are so annoying!

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