October 13th, 2011

A while back, I read the book Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads by Rosalind Wiseman. Building on her original work in Queen Bees and Wannabes, Wiseman takes a look at how the “mean girl” culture continues to exist at the level of parents now. This is a great read for pretty much anyone with kids, if I haven’t said it before (and probably teachers or anyone who works with kids). And not that I didn’t already know this, since working with parents is part of my job many days, but there are some frightening moms and dads out there. You probably already know the ones – the ones that are re-living their glory days through their kids, whose kids can do no wrong, who are more worried about getting excellent customer service at school than about their kids getting an education – these parents scare me.

But one point the book made is that these parents, as well as the true Queen Bees and Kingpins, are the ones who are most likely to be involved in their child’s education. They will be the ones running the PTA and helping out with the school bake sales. And they will have the most contact with their children’s teachers – which means their children may be getting some extra attention, unfair though it may be. You’ve all heard the phrase “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” – well sometimes it’s the squeaky wheel’s son or daughter getting greased. (Though now that I re-read that last part, it sounds a bit wrong – yikes. Let’s pretend I didn’t go there…).

More than anything, what this book inspired me to do was to get more involved in things that benefit Aedan’s education. So though I am much more comfortable being a wallflower and just grinning and bear it, I made the jump and volunteered myself for the school auction committee this year. And though it was merely for the finance side of things – a decidedly less glamorous part than any Queen Bee mom would probably take – it’s still meant that I’ve made a connection with a couple of other parents. And I feel good about the fact that I’m going to be helping to contribute to my child’s education. As I should be.

On the flip side of this, however, is my super-awesome ability as an achiever. If you give me a project, I can’t just do it, I have to overdo it. Give me kudos, please! So what did I do recently but volunteer again to (gulp) coordinate Aedan’s kindergarten room art project for the auction. So far, I’ve mentioned this to about five people, and every single one has had the same reaction – a loud guffaw of laughter. I can’t blame them. Not only am I not an artist in any sense of the word, but the thought of trying to wrangle fifteen five-year-olds to do an art project seems like the least likely scenario at which I am likely to excel. I’m hoping it goes better than anticipated.

Despite the fact that I’m probably in over my head, I do feel good about spending a little more time at school, talking to the front office staff and getting to know the teachers and other parents. And I’m glad I can do something to give something to the school, even if it’s only my time and my sanity. Although it’s been hard to take time away from my family to contribute to this, I know that it’s for my family, too, so it’s worth it. And as Aedan gets older, I know it will be easier to spend that time at his school and get him involved in those activities, too.

In the meantime, does anyone have any great ideas for a kindergarten art project?

  • keri

    When is the auction? What about ornaments? Each kid could decorate their own. I can help you if you need help.

  • Katie Davis

    I just attended the same type of event for Paige’s school  There were two art projects out of the Kindergarten.  One was a hand print tote bag with the whole class’s prints with names sharpied under them with the teacher’s name and year in a prominent location.  One of the moms bought it as an end of the year gift for the teacher.  Another cool project that went for quite a bit was a quilt with hand prints.. You could also give each Kindergartner a small iron-on transfer and let them each personalize with crayons and then buy a pre-made quilt/blanket and iron on each picture w/signature onto the blanket… Just thought I would throw those out there!  Good luck.  It can be a little scary swimming with “those” moms 😉