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.

Dear Snarky – The Teacher Gift Grab


Dear Snarky,

This week marks the dreaded, or at least by me, Teacher Appreciation week. You know the one where the class mom sends out fifty emails basically making you feel that if you don’t bring in gifts for your child’s teacher your family is going to be placed on some black list for the rest of time?

Wasn’t the Kindle FireHD and the $100 gift certificate from the class at Christmas enough to let him/her know they are appreciated? Or the basket and bouquet at Valentine’s Day bought by the class? Or the $150 gift certificate for the teacher’s birthday from the class? Or the giant basket of goodies, flowers and restaurant gift cards during parent teacher conferences enough? 

 Also, my kids have multiple teachers which even at five dollars a card can really bite into my family budget. I personally would just like to ignore Teacher Appreciation Week, and the upcoming End of Year teacher gift free for all, but I don’t want my kids to feel bad either. What do you do?


Going Broke Mom

Dear Going Broke Mom,

Take a breath, relax and know that I’ve got your back. What you’re suffering from is known as A.C.M. – Aggressive Class Mom fatigue. This is the parent that treats her stint as Class Mom as a competition where her talent is brow beating other parents via email disguised as gracious chit-chat and making snide comments at school drop off and pick up. Her goal is besting the other class moms in the “Look, look I did more for the teacher and had the best class parties!” category.

When my son was in kindergarten the class mom wanted all of us to contribute enough money to get the teacher a $1,500 PRADA bag! I know, totally crazy right? The class mom had the math all worked out.

There were 18  kids in morning kindergarten and 16 kids in the afternoon class. Making a total of 34 kids. If each family contributed only $50 then the teacher could be rocking a Prada. I declined to participate in the Prada purse shakedown and got the teacher a movie gift card instead.

That said, you are under NO obligation to get a teacher a gift. How, do I know this? I asked many, many teachers and contrary to popular suburban lore teachers do not spend their recess break comparing their gifts and one upping each other with who has the bigger gift card tree.

In my survey I found that the thing teachers appreciate any time of the year is a letter or email from a child or parent telling them how much they have enjoyed learning. If your letter is especially praise worthy several teachers suggested that it is equally awesome if you can co copy the principal.

Trust me, people who teach didn’t go into the profession for a Starbucks gift card. So don’t stress out and give the gift that keeps on giving a daily heartfelt appreciation for education and the people who dedicate their lives to it.