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Checking The Box
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August now comes to an end. Back to school nights have been hosted and we are well on our way in the 2016-17 school year.

The first week of school tends to be the favorite of my two children. Now in fourth and sixth grades, that short week offers them the opportunity to get reacquainted with friends, see the teachers they’ve missed and say their most favorite thing.

“You have homework!”

Ah yes, the first week back to elementary school brings home piles upon piles of papers needing time and attention to bring the district (as well as their teachers) up to speed on all necessary information. In truth, I’m still trying to think of a way to minimize/ streamline this process and sit in the company of a few of my District Office friends. In the day and age of check homework on the website, watch tutorials for Common Core math on the website, why can’t our student info be revisited each year via a secured web link?

Oh, the paper and administrative time that could be saved, by the click of a mouse or visit to an App.

Today, however, is not that day. So this year I gave myself a time goal and got to work. Yes, I was that mom. The one who sat down to the table on the first day of school and knocked through two seemingly identical mounds of paper for my two children.

My children were both impressed and proud as I sent them to school the next day with complete packets. Deep breath taken, pat on the back and a couple of fist bumps and we were ready for this school year.

I referenced the movie ‘Bad Moms’ in a column a few weeks back. Truth be told, I’ve always likened myself to the ‘Misfit Moms,’ you know the ones. I don’t ‘pin,’ or craft. I’ve never sewn a thing in my life and braiding hair I leave to a friend or hair stylist. I help at school when I can and hope not to embarrass my children as I am usually dropping them off wearing sweaty workout clothes versus a fashion friendly ensemble. Oh, and I’m the mom that enters the crosswalk on occasion, failing to see the attendant as I’m squinting to locate my children just beyond her. Never a good thing.

Back to School night and the meeting of their teachers, would prove to be yet more confirmation that my duo is plagued by Misfit Mom. Both meetings, while a bit daunting, went well. Sixth graders are upping their game and preparing for the middle school transition and fourth graders are being challenged a bit more as they transition to the upper tier of Elementary School. In short nothing too unexpected.

That is until my PIC (partner in crime) read ahead and noticed my name listed on the fourth grade BTS outline. I was being thanked by her teacher for ‘Checking the box’ and stepping up to room mom responsibilities.

Now I recalled checking a box, I did not recall this title which I was certain was something a Misfit Mom such as myself should not be entrusted with. I mean, some days I forget my kids.

Eventually the teacher caught up and gave a lovely few words of gratitude and appreciation for my ‘Checking the box.’ I sat wide eyed and smiling. Then I confessed to what I thought I had committed to, which was a classroom helper. It would seem that the Room Mom is the party person extraordinaire or at least that’s what the fear in me told me.

For anyone that’s parented a child in the past two decades it’s no secret, class parties can get out of hand. Needless to say I was scared. Fortunately a fellow mommy/dear friend also in attendance at this meeting came to my aid as Co-Room Mom. A few more moms introduced themselves after and offered to pitch in too. And then there was my sweet PIC, not knowing what my fear stemmed from but reassuring me he’d take care of the cupcakes and punch - not to worry.

Two weeks later, I am happy to report I am not only still the Room Mom, but I’m embracing the role and what I can offer this class - simplicity.

As it would turn out her teacher did not expect big parties, craft stations and game areas. She shared she appreciated the less is more approach and reassured me the children do too. This is after all a learning environment and only so much time is allotted for festivities.

So as we begin to face our second month of the school year here’s the lesson; just be you. Sure it was easy to get caught up in the knowledge of some of other class parties and find myself seated in meditation to recover. What was even better was to do exactly what we preach to our kids, face the fear. Take the time and address what plagues you.

The teacher and I actually had a great chuckle as I shared the story with her of my shock, my fear and my reason. I checked the box for my fourth grader, she likes having us (my PIC, myself and her grandmother) on campus. I did this for her. Now in turn, I will do it for her 33 classmates as well, with the help and support of one fantastic Co-Room mom, a teacher with a sense of humor and a handful of parents who want pitch in where they can.

Can’t wait to pop the bubbly … er, uhh … Pour the gluten free punch? Either way, it’s bound to be a memorable ride. Cheers!


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.