Like everyone else with a child in elementary school (and probably at all school levels), I am getting crushed by the end of the school year. It happens every year, and I feel about it the same way my research assistant feels about a project we do together annually - if it doesn't result in at least two heart attacks and one instance of forgetting our names, we haven't really done the project.
The biggest lessons I have learned is to back the eff off in June and respond quickly. As soon as an email comes asking for money to thank some person who has no doubt, done something amazing for my child, I put cash in an envelope with the person's name on it, and deliver it ASAP. I know these (mostly moms) are hunting down a lot of people, and they don't need the trouble of having to ask multiple times for something. I also quick-scan all class or activity party invites and decide what I can realistically bring, sign up, and move on. For Connor's classes, I always volunteer to bring a treat. He's picky, his friends all tell me how much they love my baking (which endears me greatly to them), and I know whatever I bring will be appreciated (and it might be the only treat at the party Connor likes). For Helen, I let the pinterest moms do their thing (thank you - your thing is always amazing), and take something that's easy to prepare. If someone needs napkins, I volunteer those as well due to a napkin ordering mistake I made a few years ago which resulted in more napkins being delivered to my home than I have been able to use in the past several years.
I do not start new projects.
I do not ask other parents to do anything for me. We are all dying.
I organize a carpool to every bday party that isn't in the immediate neighborhood. For whatever reason, most of Connor's friends' parents tend to drive their kids both ways to everything. But the last two parties, I simply emailed one other parents and said "I can drive either way, want to carpool" and both times, I had the parent practically kiss me through email at the thought of not driving. One of the times, we were able to shove a third neighbor in the car which was awesome because his mom was - at the moment my note came - fretting about having to say no to the party because she couldn't figure out how to drive either way (which is no problem when there are three kids and two parents have already offered to drive).
Finally, I try very hard to be thoughtful about every decision that is not on the above list, because I know when I'm busy I make crappy decisions. I have already scheduled a playdate when my parents are supposed to be arriving - and it's a playdate that got rescheduled to that time because I had to first cancel it about 45 minutes after making it when I realized I was not going to be home to host the playdate. Gah! So...I'm hoping my parents don't curse me too badly for either sitting at the airport for me waiting for the playdate to end, or having to hop on the subway or a cab.
I also try not to overreact, which is why I'm posting here, instead of on Facebook. For real, I received an email today asking me to BID ON A SPOT to recreate the first grade musical with parents on the last day of school and donate the proceeds to a music department in need.
My thoughts, in this order:
1. That performance was for our children. Yes, parents. I get it. We have all memorized every line in that show after hearing it sung over, and over, and over, and over these past couple of months. But guess what? That performance is not ours. Yes, we could recreate the show. We could also talk loudly to our children about how we ride bikes up hills faster, read better, and can totally kick ass at the monkey bars (well, maybe they own that last one). But we shouldn't. It's their show.
2. Rehearsing at home would only mean Helen would likely be prompted to sing the score over, and over, and over, and over - with Connor joining in frequently. I've lived that hell (twice), I'm not encouraging it to happen again.
3. It's a children's show. It was not designed for adults to perform. There's a fine line between engaging in something with your child and mocking them.
4. If there is a music department that needs money, surely we can get it to them without going through the trouble of a performance and the two or three rehearsals that are planned. Asking me to take part in this is a demand on my time that I simply don't have in June.
I'm thinking before responding to that email, and I'm glad I had the presence of mind to do so. I'll be sitting this one out. I hope the other parents do as well. And Helen, when you read this, let it be known that you were the best damn Crabby Cabbage that How Does Your Garden Grow has ever seen. And I hope you always remember how much fun you had sharing your role with Miley and how the two of you, in your words, "could not stop laughing during part of the show because you were having so much fun." I almost missed that performance, and I almost had a heart attack when I thought I didn't get it on film. I am so proud of the work you did - even if it did make me want to put ear plugs in and run outside because the thought of hearing the musical even one more time was driving me nuts when the show got close.
But you know what my role was? Costume assistant. And I had a ball meeting other moms to take on this task. You noticed right away that I had put special golden gems on your cabbage, and you thought they were divine.
I'll update with the video - probably some time in July.