For the uninitiated, a Room Mother is someone who has volunteered to do stuff in the classroom, including planning holiday parties, emailing you way too many times a day, and staging public shamings of the parents who don’t raise enough fundraiser money. Now, I would rather chew glass than join the PTA, so I try not to judge the room mom too harshly, but in my own experience they all seem to fit a certain personality type. Last year I was in charge of bringing green sprinkles, so I brought green sprinkles. Unbeknownst to me, these were the wrong color green. She wanted hunter green, I brought kelly. I got such a scathing telling off that I was certain that at any moment she would begin to seriously doubt my commitment to Sparkle Motion.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It is better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven?” this applies here. Befriending the room mom is key to avoiding tasks like the Cookie Station or being glared at witheringly from 100 paces when you attempt to leave the party to go to work. This is best achieved with a gift card to Hobby Lobby or by repinning her stuff on Pinterest with sycophantic affirmations.
The Cookie Station is where dreams go to die. Somewhere along the lines, someone decided that decorating sugar cookies “to take home later” was a super duper idea for a party populated mostly by the 6-and-under set. Spoiler alert: it’s not. I learned the hard way that the Room Mother is not okay with kids eating these beforehand and spoiling their appetite for the mini mincemeat pie tray that she painstakingly put together. The problem, of course, is that as soon as the kelly green sprinkles go on as a finishing touch, you will not get the cookie away from a Kindergartner without losing a finger.
The Grabber. For a mere $14.95, at retailers wherever fine products are sold, you can attain one of these bad boys. Best paired with sharpening your reflexes at a Krav Maga class, you can quickly swipe the treats away, saving them so that they can be ground into the bottom of your kid’s backpack later.
You know what I’m talking about, and what you’re in for. The tiny chair is a demonic contraption, its plastic specially molded to replicate sciatic nerve pain whenever you sit in them. Hunched over and suffering, these chairs are perfectly designed to get people to confess their darkest sins just to get the pain to mercifully, finally stop.
We return to the As Seen on TV endcap of your neighborhood drug store, where you can acquire a pair of Booty Pop padded undies. I would never recommend these as a figure enhancer because you are beautiful and your derriere is doubtless fine the way it is, but as a way to defeat the tiny chair, it has no equal. As a bonus to you thrifty moms, you can likely find a pair of used Booty Pop knickers for 2.95 on eBay this very instant.
It probably comes as no surprise to you that five-year-olds don’t have a long enough attention span to sit still while you instruct them on how to hand paint festive chevron stripes on a porcelain bird, or the brain chemistry to give a shit, but this hasn’t yet dawned on the Room Mother. At some point, you will be instructed to hand embroider a Santa hat or spray paint an antler gold, and you will begin to question your decision to not homeschool your kid as they begin to writhe in the agony of staying still that long after eating all of the stuff that they made at the Cookie Station.
Lie. I’m normally not a proponent of lying, but I can see no other gracious solution here. You can say that you’re allergic to mod podge, or that your great uncle’s sister’s cousin’s son once got in a bloody hand-to-hand combat with a deer—and lost—and therefore the idea of gilding an antler is too much for your fragile psyche to bear. If you need to make it convincing, do it before you put on the Booty Pop, and after five minutes in the tiny chair you’ll be crying real tears.
Inevitably, after about 45 minutes of holiday party, you may have to leave. Maybe you need to get to work, or get home with a younger sibling. You might have to go put dinner in the crockpot or shampoo your hair or maybe you’ve just had all of the holiday cheer you can stand. At this point the combined glares of those parents that are committed to sparkle motion will begin to bore holes in you as you tactfully gather your things.
Tell the Truth. You have enough shit to feel bad about, so just be sincere. Tell your peers that you’ve selfishly grown accustomed to the luxuries of shelter and food, and so you need to go secure their continuance at work. Tell them that unless they’d like to deal with younger sister’s inevitable meltdown without her morning nap, you need to bounce. Say that you have a standing coffee date and blow that popsicle stand. Just be sure to thank everyone that put work into the party and give your kid’s teacher a thank you gift, if you can afford it. As stressful as kids’ holiday parties are, people put a ton of time and effort into them, so just be sure to express your gratitude before going home to drink your weight in mimosas.