Dear Snarky – The Over Gifting Room Mom

dear_snarky_logo-1Dear Snarky,

I’ve had it with the room mom at my son’s school. So far, we’ve been hit up to contribute money for teacher gifts to the tune of over $100. I’ve already paid in for a teacher birthday gift, Christmas present, and wedding anniversary gift certificate (and we still have teacher appreciation and end of year gifts we’re going to have to contribute to). NOW we’re being asked to each pay $30 to buy the teacher a Southwest airlines gift certificate so she can use it to fly to see her first grandchild!!!!

The teacher drives a Range Rover, for crap’s sake, I think she has the money to buy an airline ticket.

How do I say no way and not seem like a jerk?

Signed, Fed Up

Dear Fed Up,

If you go deep into the Dear Snarky archives you’ll see I have answered this question before, but because I get letters like this so often I deem it imperative that I address this issue again. So everyone listen up.

The easiest and most effective thing to do is to just say no with pride in your voice and zero shame. I would also tell the other parents you’re saying no because I can assure you most of the moms and dads are looking for someone to be the first brave soul to throw the word out there and then they will follow. 

This room parent obviously has an agenda like extreme sucking up or she’s in some sort of room mom competition where she wants everyone to know that she’s the queen of room parents everywhere. You don’t have to feed her agenda by participating in her illusions of grandeur.

Also, at the risk of getting a social media beat down from teachers everywhere, I’m inclined to think the teacher needs to shut this down and that she should have shut it down when she got a wedding anniversary gift from her students. I mean, come on, a teacher’s anniversary is a personal event and not one to be celebrated with her room of fourth graders. (And before the angry comments start coming my way I know that, yes, the teacher might have said something to the room parent about excessive gifting and was ignored.)

That said, you have no control over the teacher and room parent, but you do have free will so do every kid and parent in that class a favor and be the first one to say no.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With An Attitude – email me at or send me a private message on my Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page.

5 thoughts on “Dear Snarky – The Over Gifting Room Mom

  1. kitty wilcox says:

    Just an FYI……most school districts have a limit on the dollar amount in cash/gifts that a teacher can receive from parents – there are usually limits for individual parents and groups of parents. Check with the local school board or principal to see if yours has limits. The teacher should also know this and she should know that it is her responsibility to refuse any gift over that amount. In my school district, if a teacher accepts a gift from a single student over $25 or a group gift that adds up to more than $15 per students s/he could be fired.

    As a former PTA president I know that some room parents are over eager to please the teacher. Don’t let that mom talk you into doing something you are not comfortable with. If you don’t want to confront her about it, ask the PTA president to do it – you can even leave an anonymous note for her……happens all the time. 🙂

    • Jeanine says:

      Wow! Those “limits” are WAY above any limits should be! But I do like the anonymous note idea. 20 years ago I did the “no” thing or maybe a small individual gift. Also, donated some money to the classroom, instead of selling or buying expensive Christmas wrapping paper, for which the school only gets a small percentage.

  2. Mrs. Teacher says:

    I’m a teacher and I don’t think you’re wrong to suggest that the teacher in question should have “shut this down” when she got an anniversary present. My guess is the teacher loves all the attention and is one of those educators that likes to become BFF’s with the parents. (Worst idea ever!) At the school I teach at this kind of “gifting” would be seriously frowned upon.

  3. Patty Staab says:

    You had me at “drives a Range Rover.” The teacher can afford her own airplane ticket. The room mom needs a hobby or job like maybe personal shopper.

  4. Linda Ramos says:

    Just say…..hell to the no. If you all want to get together and buy supplies……something she would need and appreciate much more ….go for it.

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