Room Mom Guidelines

by Susie Johnson
Originally Published: 
A woman wearing a pink dress handing over a present in a green packaging

Dear Overachieving Room Moms,

I always aspired to be like you.

To be organized, send out important emails at least a month in advance, come up with cute and unique gifts for the teachers, and throw a class party unlike any other 3rd grade class party in the history of mankind.

Then I was a Room Mom.

And none of that shit happened.

Now if you want to go above and beyond, on your own, feel free.

If you want to write a personalized version of the 12 Days of Christmas and sing that to the teacher while you present her with 12 different gifts, and none of it involves any time or energy from me, go for it. I am totally over the my-gift-is-better-than-your-gift competition.

But when did it get to this point?

Why am I being given craft projects to do at home for an end-of-the-year teacher’s gift? Isn’t that what the Room Mom is for in the first place?

I am all about showing appreciation for the teacher. Teachers are majorly under-appreciated. Teaching is usually a thankless job.

I 100% believe in letting the people who are helping to raise our children know how much we value the work they do every day. But I think their gift should be about how awesome we think they are. Not how awesome we think we are.

Class gifts are becoming more look-at-how-creative-I-am and less what-would-really-make-the-teacher’s-life better. Or easier. Or happier.

You’re not going to get an award for the Craftiest Room Mom Gift.

I want to give the teacher something he or she wants. Not something that is going to get shoved into the closet, or worse, the garbage, the minute the last kid walks out the door on the last day of school.

So I propose 4 simple Room Mom Guidelines:

1) Room Moms shall not have access to Pinterest for the entirety of their term as Room Mom.

2) Room Moms shall not ask parents to assemble anything or do anything that adds to the busy schedule of the parent.

3) Room Moms shall determine what gift would really make the teacher’s day, and year, by using one of the two following methods:

Gift registry/Wish List: This is just like a bridal registry. Let the teacher register at the beginning of the year. He or she can check off any items that he or she would like at home or at school. Or just make a simple wish list. Collect money. Pick shit off list. Teacher is psyched. Done.

Survey: Have the teacher take one of those stupid PlayBuzz Surveys that you see all over Facebook. What End of Year Gift Are You? Get answer to survey. Collect money. Teacher is psyched. Done.

4) Money for class gift will be collected via the Room Mom Website. If you want to spend lots of time on something for the teacher, spend it making a website. Email the class parents and give them the web address. Put a “donate” button on the website. Like a Kickstarter campaign, parents can contribute money toward the class gift. They can contribute any amount. Parents with a shit ton of money can contribute more, and all contributions can be made anonymously. That way, no one feels bad. You don’t have to collect money in envelopes brought into school by 7-year-olds or wait at the preschool entrance and flag down parents. Nothing gets lost on the way to school. You don’t have to harass anyone. Once the money collection period has come to a close, use the funds you’ve raised and refer back to RMG #3.

Sounds like a perfectly good plan to me.

In fact, it sounds so good I think I might just volunteer to be Room Mom next year.

Related post: 6 Things I Learned as a Kindergarten Room Mom

This article was originally published on