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Controlling Room Mothers

School is starting and you can already hear miss bossy boots clomping down the hallway with new orders for "her" team of room mothers.

Being a room mother is difficult enough without taking orders from other mothers. The moment your role as a room mother starts to feel like a popularity contest, ditch the ice cream socials and find your own niche in the classroom.

If picking up cakes loaded with hydrogenated oils for classroom parties isn't your thing, there are a multitude of opportunities for you to be the room mother who stays above the fray.

There are most certainly going to be circumstances when avoiding the bossy boots room mother is simply impossible, but you know why you're volunteering in the first place and it's up to you to keep the focus on the children. 

When you're told to bring napkins and paper cups to the "fall-fest" just do it and be glad your help is needed. When conflict arises, don't let resentment spoil your purpose. Being a room mom is a short-lived temporary chapter in your life, so make it a point to ensure that it's a pleasant memory for you and your child.

There will likely be a few negative incidents you'll always remember, but there's no reason to voice your opinion to your child or anyone else at the school. It will only bring the spotlight to your own shortcomings in handling the proverbial know-it-all room mother. Even though you'll want to remind her that she should reserve her "power plays" for the tennis courts, don't do it! She has already earned her reputation, so let her be. Remember, it's not about you or her--it's about the kids. 

Tap into your own skills and put them to use for the kids. Teachers are often very open to small gestures of classroom assistance such as coming to read to the kids during story time or spending time with them to explain a specific career. Bring your firefighter husband to school, fire truck and all, and you'll be the classroom hero. 

Maybe you run a hobby farm. Bring a baby lamb to school and the kids will never forget it. Perhaps you're a financial advisor. Bring some pennies to school and teach the children about the surprisingly simple concept of compounding interest.

Maybe you're handy with taking videos and creating DVD's for classroom events, offer your help and you'll be connected with the kids in a unique and fun way that everyone will appreciate.

The key is to use your natural instincts to connect with kids who are typically a captive audience for anyone who knows how to make them feel special and most of all, worth your time. You already do that at home with your own children, so doing it in the classroom is as easy as putting on your boots and walking down the hallway.

And since you're confident, you don't need the bossy part to pull it off.

Marc August 09, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Very well said!
Kristen Berry August 10, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Glad you're reading... Thanks Marc!

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