I was once in your shoes. I was juggling the career, the husband, the kids, the pets and barely holding onto my own sanity. Once in a while I would get an email from the PTO or a room-mom and think “one more thing I need to do.” More often than not I would miss a school deadline or forget to give money for the school party or teacher’s present and would be indignant about the entire thing, running out to Starbucks the morning of a party and throwing the teacher’s name on the card. I had BIG things to do, the job stress prevalent, the schedule, the meetings, the presentation so numerous, there wasn’t much else I could do but to keep my head above water. My kids were prospering, the husband was prospering, the job was rocking but there was one person exhausted and her name was Me, Myself and I. I developed diabetes and decided that I needed to save myself and resigned from my job as an international marketing executive. I was fortunate enough to be able to financially do so. I made the transition from corporate mom to room-mom.
Today I wear the room-mom shoes and I get it now, I really get it. We are helping take care of your kids for you sister-mom. While you are struggling to maintain your well-deserved, hard-fought career and managing to still get dinner on the table, we are in the trenches at school helping your child read, helping the teacher staple some papers together or hand out snacks. We are in the classroom checking your babies in-and-out of their after-school program and we are coordinating teacher gifts and end-of-the year parties. We make sure your child gets on the bus during field-trips and that they participate in classroom parties.
We have your back. We are sharing our love with your children. We are an extension of you.
Some of us are really tired, just like you are but for different reasons. As with any “job” there are politics, limited teamwork and limited response to our ideas or efforts. One thing is for sure, regardless of what shoe we are both wearing; together we are making the world turn, together we raise our babies and together we get those babies through their school years.
My fifth grader is graduating from a school that is brand spanking new and as a result he will be a member of the first graduating class. The moms that are in the volunteer trenches are groaning, our kids have been shuffled as new boundaries and new neighborhoods pop up all around us. The veteran room-moms don’t know if they have it in them to coordinate one more party, request one more bake sale item, and are even questioning pulling together one more graduation party. I include myself in this category not because I’m a veteran room-mom, I barely make a PTO meeting, but because I have three children, two dogs and a husband who travels more than he is home and I too, am tired.
Then my heart got pummeled this week and I realized I had to participate in the planning, coordination and execution of a kick-ass graduation party for our 5th graders. My heart got pummeled when I found out that another mom has cancer and is getting treatment. My heart got pummeled when a Dad contacted me regarding donations, insisting he give more than the amount requested. He stated that when his wife was well she would not get the support she needed from the other moms and would wind up carrying the room-mom burden alone. His wife is unable to carry the burden any longer but his daughter still needs the love and support we room-moms provide. My heart got pummeled and told me to stop and listen to it.
I was brought to my knees. Little moments of love make a big difference.
So all moms, I implore you, the next time you get an email from a room-mom, or the next time you feel unappreciated from a mom who has too much on her plate to even read your email, take a deep breathe. The work we are doing is important and we need to respect each other’s part in the lives of our children. Consider this a gentle reminder.
We all have a role to play. Let’s do our part for their sake. Open up your emails, take a second to send out a donation or send those juice boxes into class, and we promise to find the energy to contribute love and our energy to your child’s day, again and again. For now I am going to bake your children some cookies for their dance on Friday that my sister-moms are coordinating. After that I will be at the graduation party meeting for our children. I will let you know how it goes and I hope to see some of you at the dance!
It takes a village. Mothers let’s unite.