Saturday, February 9, 2008

Slacker Parent Rant

I promise not to do this a lot, but I have to get this one out. Here's something that bugs the crap out of me: parents who expect other parents to deal with all the volunteer stuff for all the organizations their kids are a part of. I have been noticing rampant 'taking-it-for-grantedness' increasingly as my children get older, and now that they're both starting to get involved in many various things, it's starting to really annoy me. Is it that parents who are willing to accept responsibility have a certain smell about them that slacker parents can pick up on? Do we all have an invisible SuperParent cape on our backs? Just in the past week, I was at a PTA meeting (about ten parents, plus five officers and some school staff for a school of 400, which was actually a year-high), vacation bible school planning meeting (about 10 parents, including husbands and wives, for a children's program of over 150 kids, and we were cornered because we were all there waiting for our kids to be done with choir anyway), and a valentine's day cookie baking and decorating party at the church (20 kids dropped off for four hours, three parents stayed, which sounds good until you figure out that two parents are in the kitchen monitoring baking and cutting with a few kids at a time, leaving the other two alone with sixteen sugared-up elementary school kids).

I see the same faces at all these places. These same people lead the girl scout troops, teach Sunday school, staff fundraisers and coach sports teams. I'm not complaining about being involved in my kids' lives, but it DOES amaze me that 1) other parents aren't interested in taking part with their children once in awhile, and 2) that none of them seem to think that, hey, maybe those of us who do it all the time for everyone else would like a break once in awhile, and be the ones who get to drop OUR kids off for an afternoon for be watched by other people for free. I'm not talking about the parents with six kids here, or the ones who have crazy work schedules, but the ones who are obviously going to enjoy a date with their spouse while you do xyz with their kids for the umpteenth time.

Once administrators realize that you're dependable, you're screwed. This week I got volunteered to be in charge of the school talent show AND head the decorating committee for VBS this summer. No pressure or anything. Actually, I *am* looking forward to doing these things, even though I'm kind of scared to be in charge of the talent show, not because of the kids, but because of how their parents may act if they don't like how it goes. (Like when I coached teeball years ago, and one dad had the gall to not only expect me to teach his preschooler to be Babe Ruth, but to criticize me, fresh latte in hand, when his kid failed to make the all-star team. The last thing I will need is some stage mom freaking out on me because the mood lighting was all wrong for her second-grader's dance number.)

I fully admit that I bring some of this on myself, because when I go to these meetings, the desperation in the eyes of the PTA board when they're faced with no one to run something makes me feel bad, so I agree to take care of whatever it is, like being the liaison to the county board of education finance committee (OMG, what was I THINKING?!). I know that in six years, when Patrick is in fifth grade, I will probably have that same roadkill look on my face, and I hope that there will be someone as easily guilt-tripped as I am sitting across from me!!!

I'm done whining now. Oh, and if anyone has any ideas on how to decorate a church like a religious amusement park (I'm not kidding, that's the theme!!!), please let me know on the double!!!!