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Back To School: The 10 Types Of Parents You Will Meet At Your School’s Open House

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I hate back to school night, the open house at school where you’re supposed to “meet the teacher” and drop off a buttload of school supplies. I’m down with both of those, but the dreaded back to school night combines two of my least favorite things in the world; other people and their children.

I expect people to not suck, particularly in public, and despite having lived on the planet for many years already, I continue to be shocked and horrified when someone turns out to be awfulsauce. In the case of back to school night, what you’ll see is a lot of adults acting like children and this might make you sad.

1. PTA HBIC

This person will be the first one in the classroom, folded into a tiny chair and hands folded primly in her lap. She will nod along enthusiastically and when the teacher points out the volunteer sign up sheet, she’ll take the floor and talk about all the hours she logged last year as her child’s personal shadow.

2. Mr. or Mrs. Chatterbox

These two will NOT shut the hell up. Do you remember when you were in school, and it was almost time for the bell to ring, and the teacher would ask, “any questions?” and some idiot would say, “you forgot to give us homework” ? This parent is what that fun-ruiner grew up to be.

3. The Normals

The Normals show up together and are very much in love. They have precisely 2.5 children with a border collie at home. They are not divorced and never swear and their child is named something very generic and they own sweater vests and cardigans.

4. The Prodigy’s Parents

This is the only parent who will interrupt the Chatterboxes. They want to know how the curriculum will be tailored to their Advanced Child and how the teacher will deal with Advanced Child’s behavior when he becomes bored with the material. Did I mention that Advanced Child has been reading since he was three? Because his parents will mention that at least four times in one hour.

5. The Parents Who Are Just Looking For A Babysitter

These parents don’t really care what goes on, as long as their kid is fed and supervised. They usually duck out after they ask about how early they can legally drop their kid off in front of the building.

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25 Comments

  1. Shelly Lloyd

    August 7, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    I’m often #8 because I have to work some evenings. Is it wrong that I purposely ask to be scheduled those evenings?

    • Jamie

      August 7, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      I live in a very small town with just two schools in our district. I teach at one and my husband mans the Cub/Boy Scout table at the other. Oops, I guess neither of us can go…

    • Jessica Johnson

      August 7, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      I’m an 8 too! Nice to finally not meet you. >.<

  2. ted3553

    August 7, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I will be #11, the one who goes but doesn’t really want to be there and would really like to meet up with another mom who wants to go for a beer on a patio after this PITA.

    • middleofnowheremom

      August 7, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      omfg, can I cross my fingers and pray that our kids go to the same school?

    • Andrea

      August 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      Us elevens are everywhere. You just have to know the handshake.

      Pro tip: there is no handshake. We all just have RBFs

    • ted3553

      August 7, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      I believe the handshake is a ferocious roll of the eyes

    • Andrea

      August 7, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      SSSHHHHHH…you are not supposed to give that out!! Did you miss the meeting?

    • keelhaulrose

      August 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      I’ll join you. I’m a #12, an outsider. The parent who sticks out like a sore thumb and makes all the other parents wonder how one of them came to live in their district. I’m always used as a last resort when a volunteer is needed, and if I do something nice like contribute to bake for the teachers day I’m not asked to sit around and chit chat, just given a patronizing “these look good. Thanks, bye”.

    • the_ether

      August 7, 2014 at 11:58 pm

      Can type 11 also include the ones standing in a corner snarking about everyone else and pouring smuggled vodka into their punch?

  3. middleofnowheremom

    August 7, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    #10. Hands Down. My husband is this. Seriously, it can be mortifying. But, that’s what I get for marrying a dirty old man.

  4. chill

    August 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    The type I despise is the “Overcompensating for a Crappy HS Experience” person. It’s the person who was a total loser in school, so they have VOWED that their kid won’t have the same experience. They are in everyone’s face about how they are sooo involved in everything and how they know “everyone”, yet they have no idea that they’re THAT person that everyone avoids because they are (still) clueless. Bless their hearts.

  5. badmom

    August 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    #5 all the way. She’s probably safer at school than with my half-ass parenting anyway.

  6. Elizabeth Wakefield

    August 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Number 10 sounds vaguely familiar…

  7. AugustW

    August 7, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    I guess I’ll be an Absentee this year, as my daughter’s preschool is 12:00-3:30 and I work 8-5. But I’m sure Grandma will be quite involved, lol.

  8. koolchicken

    August 7, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I’m somewhere between #’s 1 & 10. There’s no way in hell I’m doing communal supplies. And I’m not saying Happy Holidays. But I will happily greet you with a holiday greeting that fits your particular religious background. I don’t give a damn about evolution being taught in science class cause I can teach my kid whatever the hell I want to at home and I plan to.

    And while I know I’ll end up on the PTA I do it because it’s what I was raised to do. They’re my people and I belong with them. At least I’m honest about it. And besides, someone has to harass the other parents with asinine lists of stuff they have to make/bring for the monthly bake sale. I do not shadow my kid though. If other people want to log their kid’s every fart that’s fine with me but I have better things to do. I’m not sitting in the stupid tiny chair either.

    • Michelle Pittman

      August 8, 2014 at 10:54 am

      That’s how i feel about supplies but our school system does communal supplies in grades k-2 (maybe first)? i was very irked — i bought the crayola stuff because let’s face it, rose art sucks ass and i bought my kid the cool folders he wanted — only to be told by him after the first day that they share and some other kid took the super cool folder he picked out and he was stuck with something else

    • koolchicken

      August 9, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      See, this is the problem I have with it as well. Parents are more than happy to buy their kid higher end stuff if it’s for their kid. But when it’s communal supplies why bother. Cause there’s a real chance your kid is going to end up short changed. And your kid is now forced to watch someone (he may not even like) use the special folder he picked out all year. This nonsense just breeds resentment and causes more issues than it solves. And there’s also the issue of parents who think “Communal supplies, great! Now I don’t have to buy my kid anything”.

      My son is a toddler now. And I promise you, if this nonsense is happening in the school I plan to send him to I’m putting a stop to it. There’s just no way I’m funding everyone else’s kids desire for Disney crap just so my kid might have a shot as using the pencils he begged for with Lightning McQueen on it.

      And you know, I’m not a bad person. I’m definitely Type A and was born to be the PTA mother you want to strangle cause I’m always involved. But I’m also the person who’s not going to tolerate any nonsense and will actually get things done. So in the long run, while I might drive you nuts but it’ll pay off in the end. Cause the things that bug you bug me, and I won’t just put off changing things- I have it done by the end of the week.

  9. jen27

    August 8, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I’m usually #1 because I’ve been my daughter’s “class parent” every year and so every year the teacher asks me to say something about volunteering. I hate the #8s in our school who are #8s by choice (meaning they don’t have work/small children at home/etc) because those parents are tools.

  10. TigersInLove

    August 8, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Oh my god it’s like you’ve been lurking in the corner of my classroom for every Back to School Night I’ve ever done. I encounter every single one of these every year, no exaggeration. The Prodigy’s parent(s), in addition to grandstanding during the actual thing, always corner me when the thing is supposed to be over and I’m just tired and wanting to get home to my own kids and they want to grill me all evening on how I will appropriately challenge and motivate their gifted snowflake. I would like to also offer The Latecomers: they saunter in 30-40 minutes late when my presentation is just wrapping up, and they expect a private re-run of my whole spiel. Most parents I deal with don’t suck like this, but Back to School Night somehow brings out the worst in them every year.

  11. C.J.

    August 8, 2014 at 11:54 am

    #11 – The stalker mom. I had one of those, took my 3 years to get her to go away!

  12. guest

    August 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    #3 So sue me if I like a good cardigan.
    #10 Half the joy of school for me was when we got to pick out school supplies so I’d be real peeved if my kid had to give his cool stuff up to some other brat. Now, if that brat couldn’t afford supplies I’m also the person that will be bringing in extra to the teacher for the inevitable need of kids upfront or down the road when they run out of supplies.
    I am good with the science and I’m fine with happy holidays. I’d like my kids to meet people of all different beliefs and backgrounds though.

  13. brebay

    August 8, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    There was exactly one type of parent at my kids’ : the one who wondered why the hell we all had to stand in the student ID line for an hour and 15 minutes (and we were the lucky ones.)

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