Mean Mom Rant

Thursday, September 1, 2011
We are 12 days into school and Ive already had it up to here!
Is it just me and the fact that I get not one, but three request from pleading children, or has anyone else had it with school fundraisers?

First it was the yearbook.  Yours for a special price of $59.99  That offer came home in their school folder and I discretely disposed of it before they saw it.
Then the PTO fee.
Then the SLED check if I want to volunteer.  (Really?  Pay $25 so that I can volunteer?  Is that a little oxymoronic?)
Sure, I want everyone else to have to go through an extensive background check before they work with my children, but somehow I think I should be an exception to the rules if I did this just last year.  I mean….what do they think Ive done over the summer with 6 kids at home that could possibly be exciting enough to get me a criminal record?

There is the book fair that the kids emptied their piggy banks for last year.
The jump rope drive to raise money for charity.
A request for $95!!!  if I want to chaperone their school field trip this year.
And my favorite…the “Valentine Princess” contest.  Last year, 3 days after arriving at our new school, a letter came home in Abi’s folder that she’d been voted “Valentine Princess” by her class.  Abi gushed about how each grade voted for a princess and one of those chosen would be crowned queen at the Valentine dance.  “And I’ll get to wear a tiara and sash“.  She was all sparkly with anticipation already.
Then I read the fine print.
Being “chosen” by your class meant she was the second-grade representative picked to go out into the community and raise money for the school.  The girl with the most $ at the end of 6 weeks would be crowned queen.
Great!  Pick on Nominate the new kid!
We spent a couple Saturdays going around to local businesses.  She confidently presented her shpeel and brought in (what I thought was) an impressive $300+ for the school.
When someone else was crowned (because, according to elementary-school here-say, somebody’s grandfather forked out whatever necessary for his granddaughter to win the crown) I chalked it up as a good character-building opportunity for Abi.
….and vowed never to get suckered in again!

Which explains my cynicism when Tristan, Abi and Britain all slapped down huge manilla envelopes on the table when we sat down to do homework yesterday.
A fundraising packet……
A professional, impressive fundraising packet with catalogues and order forms.

If we sell stuff, we get to go to a special field day,” Tristan bubbled.
Yeah, with bounce houses and climbing walls” Abi chimed in.
And there will be this man and we’ll get to pet his special dog named Blue Sky“.  Britain, my animal lover was glowing with excitement.
We have a dog you can pet for free” I offered.
Mom!!” they all retorted in exasperation.
There will be a special lunch in a limousine if we sell x-amount” Abi pleaded.  “Can we sell stuff?”
“Honey, I dont think we’re going to do that.  No one’s going to buy stuff”  
“But you could!!!”.  Abi flashed a used-car-salesman grin and flipped to the jewelry section.  “This looks like something you’d like”
“Im not going to buy anything” I assured her.
“Ok, but just look…there are these cool containers so your sandwich doesnt get smashed”
“Abi, you eat caffeteria lunch…you dont even take a sandwich”
She tried again, “And on this page over here, there is Christmas wrapping paper, or extra long jump ropes or a silver key chain!!”
I tried to change the subject to what happened in their music class that day.
They didnt fall for it.
If we dont sell anything, we wont get to go!” Tristan was in disbelief that the appeal was not motivating me to pull out my check book.
Can we at least try to sell some of this stuff to Grandma?” Abi asked, seeing I was unmoved.
Sweetie, I dont know if Grandma needs any of that stuff either”, I said weakly…wearing down.
That was all it took.
They were like piranas with fresh meat.
Poor Grandma!
Abi and Britain started bookmarking which items they hope to convince Grandma that she needs.  Im sure she has a dozen uses for a picture frame shaped like a fish or a back scratcher or an envelope sealer.

So, in case my entrepreneurial children approach you with catalogues under their arm and big teethy grins, I wont blame you one bit if you run!!
Perhaps a good mom would fork out $50 for glow-in-the-dark star stickers…
….but Im a mean mom.

  • Jennifer says:

    This year I was presented with an online Fundraiser from my cousin who lives in another state. That was a first for me…it showed just how *little* of the proceeds actually went to the school from the purchase price.

  • RSmith says:

    I hear you. Last year I was required to pay $40 to be fingerprinted to volunteer at the school. The kicker is I have been volunteering more than five years at the same school, but I couldn’t let the baby of the family feel like mommy didn’t care for her, so I paid.
    I did make sure it was good for all the schools in our district, til my kids are all out. Agreed run for your life!

  • Ha!!

    Sorry, that’s all I have to say. 🙂


  • That’s crazy! At Kama school of a billion kids, we all voted no fundraisers! Everyone pitches in $25 per kid or $50 for the entire fam if you have multiple kids. That’s it!

    I’d tell the your kids..throw away the fundraiser papers and daddy and mommy will take you on the best date ever! Ice cream..movies..whatever works! Outsmart the fundraiser!

  • Danielle says:

    Girl….loose those envelopes quick! My girls got in the car last year saying they had the best day ever…because this guy had come and told them all about the amazing prizes they would win. We sold as much as we could, and ended up getting an ipod speaker worth about $15 and some nick nack toys that are already in the trash!!! They are ridiculous!! The only good parts are the magazine subscriptions!

  • lneal22 says:

    Yay for mean moms!!I’m with the Simmons family…great idea and way more fun! Such terrible pressure to dump on children and parents…

  • ogremom says:

    Fortunately, most of it ends by high school. But that’s several years from now. So glad we don’t have that junk any more! I keep thinking the phrase “free public education” really doesn’t mean ‘free!’

  • Brooke says:

    I am sooo with you! I can’t stand those things. So far, I promise Mckenna that she can pick anything from the $1 spot at Target if she doesn’t make me or anyone else buy something. So far, she actually goes for that. I told her that the prizes are about the same value as the $1 spot toys.

  • Rachel C says:

    wow, I thought our school was bad. those fees are crazy! Where does all that money go anyway? We still have to send in kleenexes and clorox wipes.

  • Donna says:

    I thought it was bad years ago when my kids were small and we did indeed, buy the “stuff” that they sold because we had no sucker relative to sell to! This is out of hand!!! (I’d buy from those charming kids of yours though….)

  • Margaret says:

    I have to tell you it’s been a long, tiring day, and this just made me LAUGH! The memories of those fundraiser days are never far away! When my kids attended, and I worked in a church school for over 25 years, it was hard enough to get parents to participate in the dreaded fundraisers. The school desperately needed the money for operational expenses, not bells and whistles, so you didn’t feel so bad about shelling out what you could. When I worked in a public school, profits from fundraisers were put into the Principal’s “slush” fund to do what they wanted with them; not always what parents would think “important” extras for the students! In both schools it was always hard on the families with more than one child, because parents had to float a loan to support the fundraiser, just for that coveted limo ride with the Principal! Now I support my grand kids who come around with the same fundraiser packet, so they can win the same prize as their parents did years ago; some things never change!

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