Pity Party Planner

7 May

This week I received an e-mail from the Kindergarden Room Mom informing me that it was time to get the ball rolling with regard to the Kindergarden End of the Year party.   Apparently at the beginning of the year I signed up to be “Lead Mom” for this extravaganza.  I have to tell you, this really doesn’t sound like something I’d do. I know myself pretty well.  I’m not a Ball Roller.  I’m actually more of a Huge Procrastinator.  I’m not at all detail-oriented; and I’m always running late, arriving harried and feeling like the only one in the room who doesn’t have a clue what’ s going on.   I’d have to have been out of my mind to volunteer to run the show.

When I told her that I thought she must be mistaken and that I probably signed up to be on the committee rather than overseeing the party, she responded with a lengthy e-mail which essentially provided legal documentation of my accepting the role of “Lead Parent.”   An excerpt:

“Hi Susan,
In the beginning of the year, when we volunteered to be a Lead Parent, we were each asked by Mrs. Johnson (and me) to be the organizer of one of the parties. Everyone who attended the meeting with Mrs. Johnson picked a party then. Mrs. Johnson talked w/ you sometime after the meeting and told me you wanted to be a Lead Parent , too. That’s when I asked you to be the organizer of the EOY party since it was the only party left that didn’t have a Lead Parent assigned. I remember thanking you in an email to all the the Lead Parents for taking this role on. Sorry you thought you were on the committee of planners. Any attempt to transfer any of the rights, duties, or obligations hereunder except as expressly provided for herein is null and void. “


Alright already.   Uncle.  I believe you.   I’ll lead the damned party. 


Who am I to argue with this woman?  She’s  a Professional Room Parent.  Expert Party Planner.  A card-carrying Good Mom.  She’s always volunteering in the classroom and is on a first name basis with the teacher.  She not only knows every child by name, but their mothers too.  (Me?  I sent out an e-vite  for my son’s birthday party and didn’t recognize a single kid who showed up).  Every flyer this woman sends home is packed with information and perfectly crafted with little kindergarden-esque borders and charming school-ish clip art.  She dots every freaking i and crosses each perfect t with painstaking kindergarden-teacher handwriting and really, my son would be far better off if she were his mommy.  I don’t stand a chance against her.   I decided my best strategy was to respond to her with an e-mail admitting my paralyzing ignorance of how to proceed.  She took to the the bait like a bass to a Cow Catcher Umbrella Rig (I don’t have a clue what that is, I just Googled “bass bait” and that was the first thing on the list…)  Anyway, in minutes she fired back an e-mail that thoroughly detailed every move I’d have to make.  When I saw that wealth of information, I figured all I had to do was:
  1. Highlight her suggestions
  2. Cut
  3. Paste into a new e-mail
  4. Send to the class

I told the other mothers to sign up to bring something and to make sure and “cc” the whole group so everyone would know who’s bringing what.  Presto!  The End of the Year party would organize itself!  Who’s the Professional Room Parent now?  

Boy was I naive.  

As soon as I sent out that e-mail to the other moms, my inbox was flooded.  The questions! The unsolicited suggestions! The need for clarifications!  Seriously Ladies, could you please read the other e-mails before you write back and tell me what you want to bring?  Why were there suddenly so many i’s to dot and t’s to cross?!  Frankly, my penmanship is about as good as my time management skills… This party is doomed!  After over an hour of sifting through and responding to e-mails about this Loathsome Luau, I received another lengthy missive from Room Mother Extraordinaire…

   “Have you thought about this?  Have you thought about that?   Why do we need flatware if all we are serving are fruit skewers and finger food?  Does anyone own a luau CD so we can have appropriate tropical background music? If the goldfish crackers are going to be eaten during the party then do we really need to pay extra for individual packs?  Are you going to send out invitations to the parents per the teacher’s request?  

My eyes began to glaze over.  My brain began to sting.  I wanted to weep.  Gahd this was going to be a lot of work.  A short while later, I was neck deep in the mindless micro-management of minutia when I ran headfirst into my first Diplomatic Blunder.  I had unwittingly authorized the provision of both plastic leis AND sand tube necklaces as party accessories…   Idiot!!  And even though the e-mail soliciting supplies had gone out a mere 36 hours earlier, and party was still more than 2 weeks away– both women had already — inexplicably– gone out and purchased their assigned accessories for the class.   Truly, I’ve never heard of such an obnoxious level of planning ahead.  Now what do I do?  Spend more precious time crafting an apology e-mail decrying my oversight and taking full blame.  That’s what I do.  

Dear Hyper-Organized, Overachieving Mothers who put Pathetic Procrastinators Like Me to Shame,

I can’t believe my egregious error!  How thoughtless of me to authorize two redundant tropical neck accessories!   Mea culpa, mea culpa…  Please forgive me and won’t the children be lucky to wear both the leis and sand tube necklaces at the party!

At this writing the party is still 2 weeks away.  There are Party Planning Update e-mails to be written and Updates to the Updates; Flyers to go out in backpacks and Invitations to be sent to parents; limbo poles to be procured, luau music to be located.  The list goes on and on… Why?  WHY?  What possessed me to have signed on for this?  I still can’t believe I really agreed to be Party Planner.      

Perhaps I’ll requisition the court documents for proof.  


One Response to “Pity Party Planner”

  1. Julie poplawski June 8, 2009 at 4:10 am #

    oh yes!! have been there – was there with school carnival last year.
    In August, with a smile full of teeth our mantra is “I just can’t, but thank you sooo much for asking!”

    Such empathy and smiles – thanks!

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