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Classroom Party Treats Are Really Important…Not

This is late coming, but thought you might enjoy it.

On Valentine’s Day, I was room mother in charge of the party and the refreshments.

There were 5 other moms who said they would help. In plenty of time, I called each one and put each in charge of something: one mom in charge of games, one in charge of paper goods, one in charge of a take home favor, and me in charge of the refreshment (which where we live still consists of something gooey like a cupcake and chocolate!) One mom I could not get in touch with at all.

On the day of the party, I got there early to set up. Already there was 2 dozen cupcakes sent by the mom I could not get in touch with. There was one huge tray of cookie-store decorated theme cookies (think wildly expensive) sent by another mom, a new child in the class had also been sent to school with 2 dozen cupcakes, and yet another had sent in the right number of chocolate something -or-another, in addition to the 2 dozen cupcakes I had brought and the special suckers I had gotten for the group.

The teacher and I had a good laugh about it, and was able to bundle up all the extra food and send home with the kids, along with keeping an extra set of cupcakes for snack time the next day. We did double check to make sure no other classrooms were short on goodies, and even shared a lot of the goods with the office and janitorial staff. While I was kind of perturbed that as the head room mom I had put in lots of time trying to get things sorted out reasonably as far as supplies and food, and the other moms had just sent things without asking, it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Until, I started hearing from the other moms. The “cookie-store” mom was really upset because her child was upset that she had’t been able to pass out her cookies and have the class eat them.Apparently this had been a long standing tradition for her child and everyone (but me) knew about it and it was wrong that she hadn’t gotten to pass these out. The mom of the new child was also worried because her offering was meant as some sort of ice breaker for her child and was upset that her child hadn’t gotten to pass them out and get to know the other kids (sounded like a popularity thing to me). The mom whom I hadn’t been able to contact wanted to know what had happened to her cupcakes if the kids hadn’t gotten to eat them? I got a number of phone calls from both mothers and the teacher, who had also been getting calls from the mothers. Even after explaining about the tons of food that moms had sent in (without checking with the teacher, or me) they just kept venting to me about it.

That was the last time I volunteered to room mother. 0214-11

{ 155 comments… add one }
  • lkb May 23, 2017, 5:20 am

    I get the OPs frustration and understand why she wouldn’t want to volunteer again, but I can also understand the frustration of the other moms. I can understand why a mom would want to know:
    *why an apparently long-standing tradition (though not known by the main mom organizing it?) was not upheld just when “my child” finally got to take par.
    *why “my child” new to the school was not able to pass out the treats and get to know his/her classmates. (BTW, I don’t understand the “popularity thing” mentioned by the OP, perhaps something in how the mom expressed her dismay?) This may have been simply what the new child’s family was accustomed to at old school.
    *Why the cupcakes that were sent in (at considerable time and/or cost) were not used when others’ were. (Especially if mom may have had some other crisis going on — hence her being hard to reach).

    I can only suggest that perhaps the OPs treats could/should have been the ones held back or given to other classrooms. It would have been a particular kindness if they were held back in favor of the new child’s offering.

    Just wondering, how old were the children, what grades?

    • saucygirl May 23, 2017, 9:26 am

      the way I read it, the “long standing tradition” of the fancy cookies was just something this one particular mom had been doing with her child. so it was always her child giving them out. Which is also why I think the popularity thing is relevant for both this child and the new kid. If the parent’s aren’t donating the items just so the class has them, but so that it is their specific child bestowing an item on other kids, I can see how it would be like you are trying to impress/bribe/set yourself above the other kids.

      and this is why we can’t have fun in schools in anymore. the hassle and complaints that comes from trying to do something nice for a class isn’t worth it. chocolate should make everyone happy. 🙂

    • Kate May 23, 2017, 10:21 am

      If the moms wanted all these things done, they should have told OP when she called them to discuss the Valentine’s Day setup. Not just sprung it all on her, without telling her or sending a note, only calling her after the fact and berating her for not reading their minds.

    • Rod May 23, 2017, 12:09 pm

      Nah, you’re not there and there’s no clear organizational/executive structure? You get no vote. Goes double do if you’re deliberately shirking your volunteer assignment and just contributing with what you wanted instead of what the organization needs.

      “Thanks for sending the stuff for the party. We had no idea about it, didn’t request it and didn’t expect it. We conducted the party to the best of our ability given the lack of previous agreement. Thanks again!


      Name of volunteer that actually showed up and performed the assigned task. ”

      If you don’t like your volunteer assignment you can try to change it or withdraw your support in a timely manner, with the full consequences that carries. For example, that you only wanted to send the cupcakes you were not assigned so your kid could hand them up to other kids now everyone knows that.

    • rindlrad May 23, 2017, 12:35 pm

      I think you may have missed the point of OP’s submission. The OP had a plan in place to ensure each child received a reasonable number of treats. Due to parents not following the plan, the number of treats that showed up on the day, if actually distributed, would have resulted in a bunch of over-sugared, hyper kids.

      Your comment RE: allowing the “new child” to distribute his/her treats. I’m not sure the OP would have been aware that the child was a “new” student. Maybe, maybe not. In any case, how would the OP have known that distributing the treats was important to the child unless the child’s parent took the time to contact the OP and talk to her about it?

      For me, it all comes back to the point of the submission – there was a well-communicated plan in place, parents disregarded the plan, OP did the best she could, parents didn’t like the OP’s solution to the situation they created, and, voila, a tempest in a teapot ensues for OP and the Teacher.

      • Bea May 23, 2017, 8:53 pm

        Not just over sugared hyper kids, it would result in tummy aches and possible vomiting! My nieces are grade school age and they may think that they could wolf down a half dozen cupcakes and a couple cookies but halfway through the second cupcake, they’re like “I’m full, I’m not interested in finishing these things.” Their bellies really cannot handle that much physically!!

        • Stephbwferni May 24, 2017, 8:47 am

          I wonder how many complaints the teachers and OP would have had to deal with if they had let the children have ALL the treats that were supplied?

    • Airelenaren May 23, 2017, 12:59 pm

      I agree with this, but am also a bit confused about the missing cupcakes – where _did_ they go, if not to the kids? First it sounded as if the uneaten treats were just sent home with them. Were the cupcakes given to another class?

      • Bea May 23, 2017, 8:54 pm

        It says that they were packed up with students, plus were left to eat for snack the next day, also shared with school staff (office/janitorial folks) 🙂

        • Airelenaren May 23, 2017, 9:12 pm

          I know it says that, but does “packed up with students” not mean they were sent home, along with the goodie bags? Because if they were, then the complaining mom should have seen that. That’s what confuses me. Does it mean something else?

          • Anon May 24, 2017, 12:42 pm

            I’m pretty sure the “with” implies that they went to the students. Pretty sure they would have used another word otherwise.

          • Amanda H. May 25, 2017, 9:36 pm

            It’s possible that the “missing” treats were some of the ones saved for snack the next day or shared with school staff. It’s also possible that since the treats were bundled home with the kids, the parents realized they weren’t handed out as part of the party like was originally planned and are commenting on that.

          • ThetaMarie December 19, 2017, 6:16 pm

            I’d guess that the constant reference to ‘two dozen’ might explain where cakes weren’t found. I don’t know about OPs school, but my child has thirty kids in his class. Twenty four of any one thing means not enough for everyone and so if you give every child a random cookie or cake to take home, they stand a good chance of not taking a cake they brought in. Especially as I would assume that the child would want to ‘recieve’ a cake from a friend and not take a leftover of their own.

            As someone who organises kids events pretty often, I see nothing wrong with OP distributing excess food except I would have informed the donor that their offerings were given to another group or into goody bags. It has happened pretty often that I have bought a suitable number of snacks, an eager parent has sent more in and I have to choose what to do with them. Happened to me last week actually, one child was sick because we gave out hot chocolate and popcorn and someone else brought three lollies per child and handed them out when I was out of the room!

            And with regards to children wanting to hand out treats… Again, it was on the parent/child too form someone in charge of their intention to do so. If a girl at my club comes in with sweets (they often do on their birthdays) and asks to hand them out, we will make time at the end for her to do so. If a parent dumps cakes in the kitchen, an adult will hand them out or we will put them with drinks for kids to choose (but generally say ‘name’ brought these today). Once I comitted what may have been a faux pas in declining sandwiches and cakes brought by an overeager parent. She envisaged her daughter presiding over a birthday meal with all her friends… We plan out meetings months in advance and had planned to spend that evening doing some crafts and games with no time for this. I simply said ‘I’m sorry, it won’t be possible to eat these during the meeting. Perhaps we could hand them out as girls leave?’. The parent left, with her trays of sandwiches and another mother said that she had been complaining that her daughter would have to eat them in her lunch boxes for ages because we were so ungrateful…

    • Ernie May 23, 2017, 1:03 pm

      My feeling is that if those parents are going to be concerned about those sorts of things, then they should get involved and responsive when the planning is taking place. If it is so important to uphold a tradition and use cupcakes to introduce a new kid, then she should have made that clear to the organizers before hand.

      I don’t really see the fairness in questioning the organizers and placing expectations on people who have never met her, never spoken with her, and have no idea what her needs, desires, and goals for this are. People can’t read minds. All of these expectations, traditions, and knowledge of the extra treats only existed in the non-communicating mom and child’s heads until they were brought to the party.

      Generally, if things are important to people, and they are going to get upset if they don’t happen as they expect, then it is their job to make those desires clear.

      • amy May 23, 2017, 3:52 pm

        I agree. As a teacher, we have far too many expectations put on us. When a new child comes to a school in my particular district, we don’t always know if they are special ed, have they been thrown out of a previous school or if they are in foster care due to abuse. So traditions about passing out cookies are hardly something that gets passed on from teacher to teacher. -And this was a parent being blamed for this “oversight”.

        • Ernie May 24, 2017, 12:12 pm

          Yes. The most shocking thing about this is the calls of complaint afterwards. It is as though some people don’t realize that others still exist when they are not in the room. I suspect these are the same people who call businesses and say “hey it’s me”.

          • NostalgicGal May 31, 2017, 11:25 pm

            I had that once. I made jewelry and ended up in a state business trade listing. Someone called me half flippantly but expected me to know all about they ordered pizza insulated bags from me a year ago and they wanted more. Huh? He wasn’t listening, and it took him calling me four times and finally getting a little irate after starting off with the flippant bit (one job a year ago and it was supposed to be on the top of whoever answered the phone’s mind?????) and LISTENING when I disavowed knowledge of pizza bags. I had looked up some places that could do the job and was willing to give him a list. Huh? I make jewelry. I don’t screen print items. I never have screen printed items. But aren’t you (company name)? Yes, but I have been using that name for like five years and I make jewelry and I’m located (an hour and a half away-at that time I shared area code with that fellow’s city, they later split it). Oh. He is very quiet. I give him the references and he never called back.

    • Ange May 23, 2017, 9:11 pm

      Or the mothers could have stopped helicoptering and let their children work their social lives out themselves? Honestly it makes me wonder how on earth kids manage at all these days.

      • Lacey May 24, 2017, 2:18 pm

        Seriously, did these women give up all other interests once they had children?

    • lkb May 24, 2017, 6:22 am

      My apologies: before I wrote my original comment, I misread the “long-standing tradition” as the school’s “long-standing tradition” rather than the child’s/child’s family’s. Now the “popularity thing” issue much clearer.

      Sorry the OP had to endure all that but thank you for volunteering.

  • Miss B May 23, 2017, 5:28 am

    What, no one complained about allergies or dietary restrictions? Consider yourself lucky!!

    • staceyisme May 23, 2017, 10:27 am

      Wow! With all the dietary regimens these days, that would be crazy! Gluten-free, low-carb/ keto/ paleo/ whole30/ vegan/ kosher/ halal/ peanut-tree nut free… what a headache!

      • Lanes May 23, 2017, 4:21 pm

        To be fair, SOME of those are legit, some kids get a whiff of peanut and end up in hospital, others might risk bowel cancer from a crumb of gluten.

        But I agree, the ‘elective’ diets such as vegan, paleo, kosher, halal etc don’t get a pass. If it’s not life threatening, it doesn’t get catered for unless you cater for it yourself.

        • Bea May 23, 2017, 8:59 pm

          Kosher isn’t “elective” to a huge population, treading on a diet based in religion. You’re making yourself look extremely bad but it’s the internet so I guess you get a pass there, right?

          • m May 24, 2017, 6:03 am

            But halal is given a pass?

            I have no obligation to cater to anything that is not life threatening. The people who choose to eat a certain way, should be independent enough to cater for themselves.

            My family is vegetarian and I would never expect a mother in charge of a school picnic to provide special accommodations for my children. Would it be nice? Sure. But I’ll pack them veggie sandwiches just in case.

            My point is, I don’t see why a diet for religious purposes should be above a diet for ethical/fad purposes.

          • PJ May 24, 2017, 9:24 am

            I can totally see why Lanes categorizes the potentially deadly food requirements as non-elective and others as a choice. Those are what have to be addressed just to keep everyone out of the hospital!

            *but* I’d argue that those who have dietary restrictions based on our beliefs do not consider them ‘optional,’ and do view them as quite different from food-choice trends that come and go. Not that it matters in the classroom, though. Teachers only have a duty to keep kids safe from food that can physically harm (or kill) them.

            It is on the individual (or parent) to manage their diet. In my kids’ school, parents who provide treats are instructed to send only nut-free items (taking care of the teachers’ duty of safety). Beyond that, other food sensitivities are handled by each child’s family– they send in alternative treats for their kid. Asking volunteers to meet every requirement, regardless of the cause, is just too much.

        • Sarah May 24, 2017, 10:06 am

          Kosher and halal are extremely important to those that keep them. There’s no reason you can’t at least try to be accommodating. Or at least warn the mothers so they can bring a similar substitute for your treat.

          • NostalgicGal May 24, 2017, 2:23 pm

            This. I kept kosher for quite a few years and it’s not trivial about wanting to not consume certain things. If you do keep kosher or halal, then it is up to you to send something with your child so they can enjoy and partake as well.

          • Anonymous May 27, 2017, 9:08 am

            I agree. Also, sometimes ethical restrictions can become “not optional” over time. For example, I’ve been a vegan for six years. Before that, I was a vegetarian for nine and a half years. So, at this point, consuming meat or animal products could make me really sick. I obviously wouldn’t do it intentionally, but these foods can easily hide in seemingly vegan items–beef or chicken broth in vegetable soup, refried beans with lard in them, rice made with butter, and so on, and so forth, just because omnivores aren’t used to cooking vegan, so they might confuse veganism (nothing that comes from an animal) with vegetarianism (no animal flesh), or think that “vegetarian” means “has vegetables in it.” However, I don’t expect other people to cater to my veganism–if I’m at a party or other group food situation, I’ll either stick with things that I know are vegan (like, if there’s a veggie or fruit tray, or a bowl of plain potato chips), I’ll bring my own food, or quietly step out to get food, if it’s going to be an all-day thing, or for a shorter event, I’ll simply go without, and eat before or after the event. The only “accommodation” I ever ask for is, “Hey, I’m coming to your birthday party/church picnic/whatever, because I like you and I want to be with you that day, but I’m vegan, so I probably won’t eat much [or anything at all]. Please don’t be offended’; it’s more about the [people/activities/other reason for the event] for me anyway.” I’ve never met anyone who’s had a problem with that.

          • NostalgicGal May 31, 2017, 11:40 pm

            I agree too, Anonymous. I am celiac and medical vegan and I don’t expect the world at large to cater to me or to be able to feed me. I am used to packing my own rations. If it’s a potluck I’ll make something to share with everyone and I will have my own single meal to feed myself. Most have been very good about either I will sit and participate other than not eating (and sometimes take the meal to go (if at a catered and I did pay for the meal though I can’t eat it) instead as my DH can eat it); or otherwise at least leave the server their tip. One thing, if I know I’m feeding a veggie I will offer you vegan, not vegetarian fare. And it will also be gluten free. I can also make a bacon double cheeseburger on a toasted wheat bun with no issues, I just have to really clean the place up afterwards so I don’t get any gluten. So my omnivore friends eat well, and my veggie friends, too.

          • NostalgicGal June 5, 2017, 11:10 pm

            I know it’ll take a while, but. I just had a friend who does a lot of cruises forward me one. A woman was massively irate and wanted all the peanuts and other nuts removed from the lounges, bars, and public areas because her 14 year old daughter was coming along with her on a cruise. De-nut a ship with 3000 aboard because of one passenger. General consensus back was make sure daughter carries an epi-pen and DEAL. The entire world wasn’t going to go nut free for one person. The cruise line official was offering the woman a full refund of tickets before boarding. That was it. Reminds of the woman that wanted all oak trees removed within four blocks of her child’s school, and a lot of these were mature trees that added value to the houses/properties around. They told her the same thing, deal.

  • Saucygirl May 23, 2017, 5:54 am

    I expected this story to be about people complaining that you gave out sugar/gluton/dairy/noncertified peanut free food to recognize a holiday that shouldn’t be recognized in a school. I’m a little happy that’s it’s just about overabundance and pettiness (cause I agree there seems to be popularity motives in here – the kids needed to hand out the cookies and cupcakes themselves?)

    Next time just set up a table, let each kid choose the one treat they want, and call it a day.

    • TracyX May 23, 2017, 10:12 am

      But the other mom’s complaints were that their Pwecious Angels* didn’t get to personally hand out their treats to everyone! So apparently these kids were supposed to have a desk covered in cupcakes and cookies and eat them all!

      I can kind of understand where the other moms are coming from. There is a lot of pressure to be the best mommy and everyone has to contribute, etc. It seems very strange to me to have only 5 parents doing everything for the party instead of a smaller contribution from every mom.

      *I kept typing Angles instead of Angels and was very tempted to leave it… Would they be obtuse or acute?

      • saucygirl May 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

        the kids are acute, the parents are obtuse. 🙂

        My guess is each parent was probably already allowed to contribute the actual valentines/take home candy for their kid. These five did the in room party stuff. in which case all you need is treats from a couple of parents. to let every parent provide a treat to have right then and there would overindulgence to the extreme. I’m room mom for my daughters 2nd grade class and was for kinder and 1st grade too. Each event we only have two – three parents help, and by end of year everyone who wants to help as gotten a chance.

  • Anonymous May 23, 2017, 6:57 am

    How many kids were in this class? That number of treats, even divided by 30 kids or so, would simply be too much sugar in one sitting, especially since the adults planning the Valentine’s Day party didn’t co-ordinate well, and *all* the party snacks ended up being sugary. I bet anything that the same mothers who complained about the treats they’d sent in, not being consumed by the kids at the Valentine party, would have also complained if the teacher and the OP had gone ahead and served the kids all the treats on party day, and sent them home with sugar highs and stomach aches, or worse. It’d also be rude to other people who are involved with the kids after school, like, say, the bus driver or the dance/gymnastics/swimming/Little League/whatever instructor, who might have to deal with a vomiting incident from a kid who’s just been fed too much sugar. Yes, I know, nobody’s forcing the kids to “clean their plates” at the Valentine party, but self-control is difficult when you’re, say, six years old, and surrounded by friends, on a special occasion. Schools are supposed to act “in loco parentis,” as appropriate to the kids’ age and developmental abilities, and in this case, they did that by spacing out the treats so the kids wouldn’t get sick.

    • Xarcady May 23, 2017, 1:28 pm

      The OP did the planning, and was the only mom bringing in a snack. All the other snacks showed up unannounced.

      The moms who sent in food that was not expected should have at least notified the teacher. They may not have been aware that a designated room mother was planning the party, but they knew there was a party, so they should have checked to make sure their offerings weren’t duplicates.

      There were 4 unplanned-for snacks, in addition to the snacks the room mother (OP) brought. Because the moms just assumed that their snacks would be needed? Didn’t care if someone was planning the party and assumed their treats were better? Hard to tell.

      • Anonymous May 24, 2017, 11:01 am

        You know what I think it is? Have you ever seen the TV sitcom “The Middle?” I remember one episode where Frankie and Mike (reluctantly) attended a PTA meeting for their youngest son, Brick. At that meeting, all the parents had to sign up for volunteer jobs for the class (or maybe they drew them from a hat; I don’t remember). Anyway, Frankie advised Mike that the best volunteer jobs were “shop and dump” jobs, as in, purchasing and dropping off classroom supplies/party supplies/whatever, and the worst jobs involved “beautification” (i.e., cleaning/picking up garbage/scraping gum off of furniture), and things that involve engaging with the students (like when Mike led a Valentine craft with Brick’s class). This has some grain of truth in it–“shop and dump” is the least time-consuming option for parents who work outside the home, and/or have multiple kids. However, a lot of people want their contributions to be popular, and, although things like plates and napkins are necessary for a class party, nobody remembers the parent who brought those, but EVERYONE remembers the parent who brought in the most popular treat. So, people “shop and dump” without checking first–they’ll go to Costco/Wal-Mart/the grocery store/a bakery if they have the money, and buy a big batch of cupcakes/cookies/brownies/whatever, and drop them off at the school. In their imaginations, all the kids LOVE their treat, and they (and their kid) are the Most Popular In The Class. In reality, a passel of other parents all had the same idea, and now the class party has more sugary treats than the kids can reasonably eat…..and, the parents who object to this, because they were actually involved with the organizing, are, of course, “unreasonable” or “party poopers.” This justifies them in never doing anything for their kids’ schools again, thereby perpetuating the dynamic of a few of the parents doing all of the work…..for every special event, for all time.

        • Amanda H. May 25, 2017, 10:12 pm

          This is why I’m grateful that the room moms for my kids’ classrooms send out signup sheets for treats and the like, and also that all the other parents seem to be on the ball with signing up. Especially with sites like Signup Genius, it helps to make sure that what you’re signing up for hasn’t been filled yet, and ensures a more balanced party. I’ve gladly supplied cups and plates or “lesser” treats if that’s what was needed.

  • clairedelune May 23, 2017, 7:14 am

    $5 says that these are the same people who show up at dinner parties with some random unexpected dish and expect the host to add it to the meal.

    • padua May 23, 2017, 12:15 pm

      I don’t think that’s a fair assumption. if my child wants to pick out and distribute favors for a classroom party for a holiday specifically designated to distribute sweets and cards, and my child is unable to distribute these one year, I would wonder what was going on as well. and I don’t feel like that necessarily labels me as entitled.

      • Anon May 23, 2017, 2:04 pm

        padua: wouldn’t you go and tell the parent who was planning things then about it instead of just assuming and then complaining to them later that they should have been able to read minds?

      • Reaver May 23, 2017, 3:04 pm

        It most certainly does if you ignore the emails, the calls, and attempts to communicate with you the structure of the party, it’s not just about your child and their hand outs, it’s about the entire class, and working with the teacher, not doing your own thing and not bothering to check.

      • lakey May 23, 2017, 3:29 pm

        But there are limits to how many sweets should be passed out at one party. If a large number of kids want to pass out their own treats, that can be too much for one sitting. Most schools have a parent who is in charge of each classroom party. If you want to have your child pass out cupcakes or something at the Valentine’s party, it would make sense to contact the teacher, find out which parent is coordinating the Valentine’s party, and then contact that parent.

        I’ve seen the amount of sugary food that can end up being on a child’s desk during some of these parties. Too much of this stuff leads to hyper behavior for some kids, terrible waste, and a mess from half eaten food. I’m not agains sweet treats within reason, but I am against having kids shoveling large amounts of junk food into their mouths at one event. The problem is that the teacher and party planner aren’t just dealing with your child wanting to pass something out, they may be dealing with a few or several.

      • Lanes May 23, 2017, 4:25 pm

        Not entitlement yourself, no. But let’s look at it from the child’s perspective:

        I buy treats and hand them out every year. This year I didn’t get to do it MY way, and had to do it someone ELSE’s way, and now I’m upset about it.

        What lesson is that teaching the child?

        • Rebecca May 23, 2017, 11:30 pm

          What lesson is that teaching the child? That sometimes you don’t get your way. Not a bad lesson IMO.

          • Anon May 24, 2017, 12:44 pm

            Agree with Rebecca. As much as everyone wishes life was fair, it’s not.

            And still, that parent SHOULD HAVE CALLED AND ASKED. Why would it be the organizer’s job who probably doesn’t know the everyday going ons of all of the kids in school/what the class does?

      • Kate May 23, 2017, 5:22 pm

        Except that a lot of schools have rules now about who can bring in treats and when, even on Valentine’s day, to prevent kids from getting inundated with mountains of sugar. It sounds like at least 5 moms, including the OP, sent treats. 5 cookies/cupcakes per child would send them into a hyper sugar spree, and what little kid has the self control and wisdom to keep from eating all those in one sitting? Not many kids I know.

        That is why OP *did not* distribute all the treats in class. Each kid got one, one treat was saved for each child to eat in tomorrow’s class snack time, a few treats were sent home with each child, and the office got a little of the surplus, after all that.

        • Anonymous May 24, 2017, 11:27 am

          That’s where I am too. I’d like to see this submission from the viewpoint of the person who had to deal with a hyperactive child, or a sick child, or a vomiting incident in a public/enclosed/otherwise impractical place, after a class party where ALL the organizing parents provided sugary treats, and the kids were allowed to eat as much of the excess of sugar as they wanted, to avoid hurt feelings. They see the party, but they don’t see, say, little Jayden getting sick on the school bus ride home, or little Mia having to sit out of dance class with a stomach ache, or little Tyson refusing to eat dinner……or, let’s say, the poor Beaver Scout leader trying to run a meeting with a gaggle of kids who’ve been pumped full of sugar beforehand–worse yet if they’re whittling with knives or learning to build fires or something that day. They don’t see the longer-term repercussions either–what kind of message is, “Eat all your food, so you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings?” I don’t see too much difference between a child taking one of everything at a class party, and trying to eat it all, because they don’t want their friends to think they don’t like the cookies/cupcakes/chocolate things they brought in, and the adult loading up on desserts at the family Thanksgiving potluck, because they don’t want Grandma to think they don’t like her sweet potatoes, or Aunt Margaret to think they don’t like her pie, or Uncle Murgatroid to think they don’t like the turkey he deep-fried, et cetera.

      • Ernie May 24, 2017, 12:06 pm

        What makes this person entitled is that they complained about it afterwards to the parent and teacher. Wanting explanation of results without wanting in on the planning is the definition of entitled.

  • Lara May 23, 2017, 7:26 am

    The classroom parties I’m familiar with always have way too many sweets set out. Still, I would never occur to me to just not serve the food a child had brought, especially if it was something unique and expensive like the cookies. Was there a particular reason that the children were only allowed one cupcake? I know that’s undoubtedly all they needed, but who needs a cupcake to being with? It seems to me that you could easily have offered a choice of items to the children, rather than deciding that the cupcakes you brought were the only accepted refreshment. If you were concerned about them making themselves sick, tell each child to pick two. Then any extra that got sent back to the moms would be left overs, much more easily explained than that the child was not allowed to share the food they brought at all.

    While it would have been better for the moms to have checked before hand, again, most of the classroom parties I know are like that. Lots of kids bringing lots of food, whether it was on the list or not. So what? And I guess if I was a mom who had purchased really expensive, hand-decorated cookies for my child to pass out to his or her class, and then found out that they had been given to the office staff, I would be unhappy about that too.

    • Kate May 23, 2017, 10:26 am

      Ah, but then if the kids hadn’t picked a certain child’s treats, or hadn’t picked enough of them, then the moms would be ranting about how OP had allowed their child(ren) to be bullied and left out.

      Also it says that OP and the teacher had so much food that they were able to give one treat each to the kids, share some with the office, save some for the kids to eat the next day at snack time AND send them home with some goodies. Depending on the size of the school, only a dozen or so treats would have been eaten by the office staff, so the kids would still have gotten to eat the treats they brought in, just not in class.

      • Lara May 23, 2017, 10:42 pm

        It’s not that I don’t agree that office and janitorial staff deserve a chance to share the wealth. But I was bothered by the implication that the OP refused to serve anything other than the treats she herself had brought, and so what was sent on to others wasn’t what was left over, but what she simply didn’t want. If an assortment of treats had been taken over, still leaving plenty for the kids to choose from, I would not have a problem with that. But if she took an entire unopened package of cupcakes which one of the kids had picked out and brought in, and just gave that away, without asking the kid or the parent, that I have a problem with. The number of calls she describes seems to indicate that the children themselves did not really understand why they weren’t allowed to eat or pass out the treats they brought, and that they were upset about it. I could be wrong, of course–sometimes parents get bent out of shape even though their kids don’t care–but that’s how it comes across to me. A little more flexibility on the part of the OP, a little more willingness to offer the children options and make sure that some of everything that was brought in was served, would have gone a long way to avert this situation.

        • Carolyn May 24, 2017, 8:15 am

          I disagree completely.

          “But I was bothered by the implication that the OP refused to serve anything other than the treats she herself had brought”

          Why should she hold back the treats she made in favor of the treats that were foisted upon her? She took the time to make the treats, she was the organizer, why not her treats?

          ” But if she took an entire unopened package of cupcakes which one of the kids had picked out and brought in, and just gave that away, without asking the kid or the parent, that I have a problem with. ”

          The parents didn’t ask the OP, the organizer, if the treats could be sent … don’t see how the OP would have been under obligation to ask about distributing the un-asked for contributions.

          “The number of calls she describes seems to indicate that …”

          The OP gets calls AFTER the party full of complaints and whinging, but no one could pick up the phone before the party to mention they were sending something extra … or heaven forbid, to offer help? I am sure if they had, the OP may have decided not to bring her treat and could have used her time differently to prepare for the party.

          I think these entitled parents got the dose of reality they needed. If the new kid wanted to pass out cupcakes as a means of introduction, that should have been arranged with the teacher on a different day than class party day – those days are chaotic enough. And if the other snowflake’s tradition of handing out treats personally each year was so important, the entitled mom should have spoken up ahead of time. I have no sympathy for the entitled moms or snowflake children here – poor OP – no good deed goes unpunished!

        • Amanda H. May 25, 2017, 10:35 pm

          It sounds like the other moms sent their treats in without explanation, judging from the OP’s comments (the explanations aren’t provided until the calls start coming in). If I were the mom organizing the party, and I arrived to find four sets of unexpected treats with no explanation, plus the ones I’d brought, how am I to decide which ones to hand out, which ones to save, which to send home, and which to give to the office? Sure, I might pick the ones I prepared for giving to the office, but even then if I don’t know there’s any special meaning behind any of the other treats they’re just extra treats, equally weighted.

          If the other mothers had issue with how OP distributed their treats, they should have at the very least sent in a note explaining that “these cookies are for Liza to hand out, as per family tradition,” or “these cupcakes are for James to hand out because he’s new and it will help him to get to know his classmates.” Don’t just drop off your snacks and expect whoever’s running the show to immediately know exactly what you want done with them.

          I mean, my sister has a son whose birthday is Valentine’s Day. If she sent in treats with him for his Valentine’s party unannounced, how is the parent in charge of organizing things supposed to know that his are birthday treats (assuming they don’t all say Happy Birthday; I know I don’t send in specifically-labeled snacks for my kids’ birthdays) unless my sister sends an explanatory note as well?

    • Dee May 23, 2017, 11:27 am

      Yes, the parties my kids’ classes had generally were generally really bad, diet-wise. And what exactly is a “room Mother”? I’ve never heard of it. Isn’t the teacher the person in charge? And isn’t the point of being in that class to learn, not party? And kids get to bring “special” treats, depending on their heirarchy/year? All too confusing for me. I never wanted my kids to have a party in class and they never were all that keen on them, since they seemed to evolve around too much junk and breakdown of usual class rules, leading to hurt feelings.

      The best parties, though, did occur with a bunch of kids who moved through the grades together, where each kid became known for his/her specialty. It was amazing to see the other kids looking forward to one boy’s famous veggie and dip platter, and another’s mom for her supply of endless, buttery popcorn. If class time is going to be lost then at least the kids enjoyed themselves without getting sick.

      This is along the same lines as field trips. Every year some grandiose ideas would be put into play and the parents would be expected to cough up a chunk of change for their kids to be bussed miles away to some “educational” opportunity, where they would have maybe two hours at the site before having to head back to school, where they would sometimes miss their own school bus and some teacher would be on the phone, arguing with me that it wasn’t his/her responsibility to get my kid home even though they were ultimately responsible for my kid not being on the bus. Well, one year a teacher had the idea to have a bike field trip to a local farm. The kids would roast wieners on a fire for lunch and then be back in school, with plenty of time left over for, you know, actual school stuff. The teacher said that in all her years teaching it was the best field trip ever. Of course it was. It made sense. But, of course, it was never done again. Probably because it made sense. And every year after that it was back to the “champagne” ideas, with teachers’ hands in my pockets.

      I’ve never been upset if my kids missed an opportunity to eat more sweets and collect more little plastic junk toys for me to throw away. A good education for them was always my primary goal. I’ve heard local parents complain as this OP did and I always told them that if they felt the work was too much I was really okay if the party didn’t happen. Much preferred it, actually. So please don’t do it for my kids’ sake, thanks.

      Which, not surprisingly, seemed to lead to hurt feelings with the moms, since the party was really always about them, not the kids. Graduation means never having to deal with that again. Yea!

      • CW May 23, 2017, 1:44 pm

        Usually a room mom is a parent who volunteers to help the teacher with the extra fun stuff. Holiday parties, field trips, what have you. So, the teacher says to the room parent that they may have a Spring Break party for the last hour of the school day. Room parents then try to organize supplies and goodies to be brought in and they show up to help keep tabs on everything. My mom used to do it all the time.

        • Lanes May 23, 2017, 4:28 pm

          I don’t think that’d fly round here. If a TEACHER wants to organise a party, then the TEACHER can organise it, not create an event and have someone else do all the leg work.

          We do however have what we call “parent helpers” on field trips, mostly for safety reasons, because it’s hard to watch 30 excited kids at once in a foreign place.

          • Amanda H. May 25, 2017, 10:45 pm

            Thing is the room mom is usually a volunteer who WANTS to do the legwork so the teacher can focus on actually teaching, and frequently spearheads the idea of the party in the first place rather than the teacher saying “we should have a party; you do the work.” It’s also usually a thing with the younger classes rather than the older ones. I had three kids in 5th, 2nd, and Pre-K, and only the Pre-K class and maybe the 2nd-grade class (can’t remember on that one) had a room mom and more party-like activities and parent involvement throughout the year. I suspect it’s rather like naptime and recess and something that children are gradually weaned off of.

      • Devil's Advocate May 23, 2017, 2:22 pm

        No field trips, no class parties–just learning kids!

        Kids learn a variety of things in school–not just what is on the whiteboard or computer–they learn to socialize, interact in society, build friendships, work together, etc. It’s not as if they are having a party every day. My kids enjoy the parties because they enjoy the break and time with their school friends where it isn’t a 20min rushed lunch. Another plus is I get to do a fun project with children that they then show off at school (pirate ship valentine’s day box was awesome). Life is a balance of things we must do, things we want to do, and just everyday routine stuff. It’s important to teach kids that balance and that things like learning, going to school, etc. can be fun and enjoyable.

        It’s like working out–I love the result, I love how I feel afterward, but I hate actually doing it. When I know that I’m going to get a reward (chance to listen to a book, uninterrupted me time, etc.) it makes me push through it and look forward to it. I find that class parties/field trips/etc. do the same for the students. Perhaps your attitude on them also effected your kid’s attitudes as well.

        • Dee May 24, 2017, 12:14 am

          At my kids’ elementary school there were at least two parties every month. Then there was a hot lunch once a month with chocolate milk and doughnuts, Snack Shack once a week (popsicles and other sweets), Popcorn Day once or twice a month, pizza lunches for certain activity groups, ice cream cones if you participated in the reading program, Sports Day and its hot lunch and concession stand, BBQ With The Teachers Night with concession stand, expensive field trips at least once a month with the option of possibly buying treats at the site, and the teachers rewarded the kids not with stickers but with candy, every day. So, yeah, balance is great. I’d have loved it if the school had taught that. It’s just too bad it didn’t value education nearly as much as it did eating junk and wasting time and money.

          • Stephbwferni May 24, 2017, 8:57 am

            That’s insane! What is going on at your school?
            In my part of the world we have “crunch n sip” every day (a little break between start of school and recess where every has a peice of fruit/vegetable and a drink of water) and “nude food” day once a week where the food you bring in (because the norm at our schools are that lunches etc. are brought from home) has to be non-packaged food. There’s usually one small party on the last day of school or you might buy your lunch from the canteen once or twice a term. That’s it.

      • Michelle May 24, 2017, 9:50 am

        A little off -topic so please delete if not allowed.

        Dee- I work in a museum. We see approximately 45,000 school kids per year. Our school programs are $9 for students, with a free chaperone for each 10 kids and teachers are free. We have had parents upset because they were charged $25 or more for field trip. That extra $16 is a fee accessed by the school for the bus and bus driver.

        Our programs are 2 hours long and include a guided tour, a lab activity, gallery time, hands-on activity and if the teacher wants, a trip through the store. The teacher picks the program and that’s what we do. The parents and children are free to tour the rest of the museum when they field trip is concluded. Many large cities that have museums, such as Houston or Cincinnati, do not offer guided field trips and if they do, the groups are charged much more than $9 per child.

        My point is that a lot of the fees that schools ask for are to cover their costs, not the actual costs of the educational opportunity. All of that information, including the length of the program, is given to the teachers before-hand and because they are they organizers, they should be distributing the information to the parents, so they parents can opt-out if they want. The parents should be reading the information they are given, versus skimming and then complaining about cost. We are a non-profit museum, we do not receive any state or federal funding. We would love to just open the doors and let everyone in free, but we have to cover operational costs.

        • Dee May 24, 2017, 12:58 pm

          Most of the field trip events my kids went on were actually free, but the bussing and “extras” added up quickly. Most of the trips also took at least an hour and a half of transit time, one way. That’s three hours of the school day just in travel, plus at least another half hour to an hour for organizing everyone in the morning, then another half hour organizing them to return. Add in a lunch hour and, so far, at least four and a half hours, of a six hour school day, have been spent on everything BUT the field trip. The kids would often only get an hour at the site, and for that I was expected to pay. If I didn’t, my kid didn’t go and was “punished” by having to sit in someone else’s class (and grade) and do “busy” work. That isn’t even as bad as the stigma they would carry if they were the only kid in their class not to go. So, not much choice for the parent but to pay through the nose for a waste of time, is there? A lot of tough decisions for a single income family.

          There are lots of great opportunities for kids to explore locally but they’re only educational, not as exciting for the teachers as what the Big City offers. Given the lack of thought put into the value of the field trips I would have much preferred no field trips at all, and I did express just that every single time a mom/teacher approached me, hand out, for donations for upcoming field trips. Made me quite popular (sarcasm).

          By the time the kids hit middle and high school the insanity stopped dead. It’s as if logic and reason suddenly became important values, after years of the kids learning the lessons of spend, spend, spend/eat junk all day were well-ingrained. Also, the bullying was taken seriously (bullying on the part of other kids as well as teachers). My kids’ teen years were such a relief. I often have thought of taking on foster kids – my older kid had a few foster kid friends and they were lovely people – but only if someone else handled the insanity of the school system. I’ve had wisdom teeth pulled, root canals, given birth without drugs, broken bones, what-have-you, but don’t make me have to go through the pain of having children in school again. I have a breaking point.

          • Michelle May 25, 2017, 8:26 am

            I am really sorry that the field trips your children attended were spectacularly bad. We try to make ours fun and educational. It seems much more a teacher/bad planning issue than the field trips not being educational. Most of our guests are within an hour of us, so there is no long bus trip. We give teachers anonymous surveys* (either paper forms at the museum or they can do an online survey) and ask them for honest feedback and it’s 99% positive. We also get tons of great reviews on our Facebook page.

            *The surveys would have the name of the program and the field trip guide on it, but was otherwise anonymous. It’s easier to honest feedback if people can remain anonymous.

          • PJ May 25, 2017, 4:26 pm

            That hasn’t been my experience at all. My kids’ field trip ‘fees’ have been $5-$10 each, and there are maybe 6-8 per year. They are required to be educational in nature, but are still very fun for the kids, and a highlight for them to spend some less-structured time together doing something different. Lunches are not a bunch of junk food. We either pack a lunch for them or buy bagged lunch from the school which is fairly healthy (sandwich, apple, cheese, water, cookie). My kids’ experience is at a private school, where they are very careful not to waste time or money, and have set a high standard of education for their students. Their approach to field trips is guided by that need.

            I’ve also volunteered at a public school in a disadvantaged neighborhood, which is also quite different from yours. The kids can not be required to spend any money to be included in a field trip. There are assistance programs so parents don’t need to make a tough choice. The school bagged lunches for field trips are free to all and fairly healthy. The trips absolutely must be educational in nature or the district will not allow them. The only kids who don’t go are the ones who failed to behave well enough in the weeks before the trip that they lost the privilege. Again, it is a major highlight for these kids, for the unstructured time together and because they get to visit places that they don’t see in their day to day lives. Again, the program balances school finances, educational goals, and other benefits for the kids very well.

            I’m sorry your family didn’t have the experiences of the students at either of these schools.

          • Amanda H. May 26, 2017, 12:10 pm

            PJ, our experiences have been the same, and we’ve been in public education in the US the whole time. Our children’s field trips are required to be educational, the only one that was more than a half hour’s drive from the school was planned for a long day anyway (with advance warning that the parents would have to come pick their kids up from the school, which only became a problem when the bus was rather late getting back due to traffic problems with the big city, and the trip was an aquarium trip which couldn’t be planned for a closer location), and the school lunches aren’t just junk food. In fact, in the three school districts we’ve been part of, there was an increased push for healthy food to comply with state standards (and this was in three different states). Only our current one offers free lunches to every student (so as not to single out the disadvantaged students across the district), but in previous districts there were programs in place for students to get reduced-price or even free lunches if their parents’ income couldn’t afford the normal price. The same applies to field trips in all three locations, where students who have financial issues at home can still get assistance for field trips, most of which are only $5 apiece to pay for the bus fees.

            The only real expensive field trips we’ve encountered so far are a single overnight one for 4th grade and a two-night overnighter for 5th grade, and parents are informed about these at the start of the school year (they occur at the end of the school year, so parents have eight months to pay in installments if they choose, and there’s usually a single class still running at the school for students who don’t go for one reason or another, run by one of their actual teachers so they aren’t stuck with “busy work”).

            And every field trip that parents have to sign off on (and occasionally pay fees for) has been educational in some way, or otherwise good for the students. The big aquarium in the nearby city is very educational (and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have special hands-on programs for field trip groups like the zoo I went to in high school), the overnighter trip is at a place where kids can learn about nature and science, they’ve gone to the nearby outdoor nature center, the nearby botanical garden, the nearby university to learn about science programs, the nearby university-owned farm, etc. They’ve had a petting zoo visit the school where the kids could learn about animals. The preschool class also had one to a local playground park as an end-of-year excursion that’s still good for exercise, so even that had benefits. The non-educational trips and events that show up in the kids’ folder are always optional things, like invitations to get a discount on an afternoon at a roller rink or a school carnival on a weekend–these are never during school hours and never required.

            Dee has previously said she’s in Canada, so perhaps things are different in her neck of the woods.

    • Anonymous May 23, 2017, 2:12 pm

      I think the kids might have been allowed more than one treat each, but maybe not like, four or five treats each–and, these were larger treats, like cupcakes, and (what I imagine to be) large, frosted bakery cookies. Anyway, maybe the execution wasn’t the best, but I think the OP and the teacher meant well–they’d received tons of extra sugary treats from parents who’d just sent stuff in without checking what was actually needed, and, when confronted with this excess of sweets, they held back some of them so the kids wouldn’t get sick.

  • flora May 23, 2017, 7:28 am

    So what about the party favors, games and non food jobs? Did the other mothers ignore those in favor of bringing in more food? And how many cookies, cupcakes and treats are kids suppose to eat in a day? What if one child was on a special diet?

  • Jazzgirl205 May 23, 2017, 8:02 am

    This is why I don’t bake cakes for potlucks anymore. Everyone will sign up for a particular food then bring that food and cupcakes or cookies. It doesn’t matter that they know 1 or 2 people are already bringing dessert. I guess they want to seem magnanimous. I’ve started bringing appetizers. For some reason, there’s always a long wait before the food is served. A cheese ball with crackers is welcome.
    When I’m in charge of food for a dance or school event, I put out the homemade stuff first. When that’s gone, I’ll put out the store bought stuff.

    • Turbo May 28, 2017, 2:15 am

      I just learned that lesson myself. My kids are in preschool, and for Teacher Appreciation Week, someone organized a pot luck luncheon for the teachers. Only 5 people signed up, me included. I chose to make the dessert. I baked a blueberry pound cake, cut up some fresh fruit formit, and made some homemade whipped cream. I boxed it up nicely in travel comtainers they could keep. With the whipped cream, it was not likely to be good to eat later. But when I dropped it off, I saw someone else had brought them store-bought cupcakes, and the teachers said they had already received a lot of sweet treats (mine was not terribly sweet, as desserts go) already, and that they couldn’t possibly eat the dessert today. Next time, I am not doing dessert at all, and I will probably just do store-bought, as well. It turns out all of the other courses in their luncheon were store-bought. Live and learn!

      • Turbo May 28, 2017, 2:16 am

        *for it, not formit

  • Lena May 23, 2017, 8:24 am

    It is unclear to me what actually was supposed to happen. Other posters suggest that the children were supposed to consume everything in a sitting.
    Is that sensible? Why not just put everything out and deal with the leftovers? I’ve never experienced, and would take issue with the school, if there were any kind of party where there are excessive amounts of sweets and the children were expected to consume them all.
    Every Valentine’s Day and Halloween when my kids were small they came home with tons of sweets that I just threw out or saved as we saw fit.
    And in a class where only two mothers didn’t respond but made an effort to send it something, I think the appropriate thing to do would be to just let the kids get on with it. If you want to deal with the mothers (why bother, but if) than the classroom where they are absent, isn’t the place.
    And yes, I think it’s cruel to take a special treat a child brought in to share with classmates and give it to staff. The kids don’t know what their mothers were supposed to do.
    I don’t know, it sounds to me like OP’s plans were sidetracked by two mothers and she made darn sure that the kids, the staff and those mothers were well aware of it.
    I mean these mothers may have volunteered and thought that that meant they’ll do what they always do. Maybe it’s just miscommunication. Who knows? Who cares? There’s too much crap being handed out in schools anyway.
    Did two moms really supply enough snacks for the janitorial and office staff and snacks the next day and there were still enough left over to send home or have some disappear? The story makes no sense to me.

    • Kate May 23, 2017, 5:32 pm

      Except OP explicitly communicated with those two moms, who were some of the 5 moms assigned the Valentine’s day party, what was needed, and they never told her about the special cookies or the special cupcakes, just sent their children with them with no instructions. Is OP supposed to be a mind reader?

      Also OP mentions giving some of the *surplus* to the office staff, *after* giving the kids one treat each, saving one treat for each child for classroom snacks the next day, AND sending each child home with a FEW treats.

      Since people and bakeries tend to bake by the dozen, and the classroom almost certainly wasn’t an exact multiple of twelve, it sounds like OP made sure each kid got one of each kind of treat, and the leftovers went to the staff.

    • Helen CYMBALA May 24, 2017, 10:43 am

      The story does make sense to me. People often think “more is better”, and they make/cook/send a greater quantity than needed. They feel they are giving of themselves. I have no problem believing that this was the amount of excess quantity.

      I’m someone who often ends up organizing / delegating for events and it’s hard to get people to understand that the group needs what they need, not what the individual feels like doing. When you’ve known the people a long time, you can get those to align – but that wasn’t the case here. Because of my sympathy for organizers, if it were me being assigned something other than food and I really wanted to do food, I would contact the organizer and ask. Most people won’t do that, though. There may have been a titch of passive-aggressiveness on both sides, but I feel deeply for the organizer. We have the gift of language and communication, and by the time one reaches adulthood one should understand that everyone doesn’t assume the same thing – and be willing to read or listen to communications about what is needed or expected.

    • Amanda H. May 25, 2017, 11:07 pm

      Reading it over, it looks like of the four unexpected sets of treats, only one was supplied by one of the moms who volunteered to help (the one who OP couldn’t reach). The special hand-out cookies, the make-friends treats, and the third set of treats were supplied by additional moms who hadn’t signed up at all, and thus were not part of OP’s communication. Now, I don’t know if OP asked for volunteers first and thus it was assumed she’d be in communication with the volunteers, so the parents with extra treats can be somewhat forgiven for not realizing treats were already managed. But they fail in not sending explanations for their treats if it was so important that they be handed out in-person at the party, or better, contacted OP or the teacher beforehand to arrange for it, much like a parent would if sending birthday treats to a class party.

  • AS May 23, 2017, 8:57 am

    First of all, why does a new kid getting food to break the ice construed as a popularity thing? I thought that getting cool food for a celebration has been a good ice breaker for school children for generations. Unless they do it too frequently, I don’t think that that is a popularity contest.

    Given that you didn’t say that the other items were ignored, I am assuming that the moms with assigned duties did bring them. Or did they not?

    Was it communicated clearly that you are bringing the goodies, or is it exactly how it has been done every year? Because I was wondering if the parents thought that they had to get food as well as what you asked them to bring.

    • Amanda H. May 25, 2017, 11:10 pm

      Judging from the wording, I think three of the four sets of unexpected treats were provided by moms who hadn’t volunteered at all, rather than the other volunteers.

  • DGS May 23, 2017, 9:15 am

    So the judgy tone about the “wildly expensive” cookie store cookies was completely unnecessary, and the popularity dig about the ice-breaker for the new kid was also completely unnecessary (the role assigned to OP was Room Mom, not Morality Moderator). That being said, it would have been much better if the expectations were communicated to the parent volunteers by the school administration ahead of time. At my children’s school, there are guidelines that are pre-set in the parent handbook (which were agreed upon by the district and the PTA), as well as individual guidelines that each teacher pre-sets for the classrooms, based on allergies in the class. The child who is having a birthday can send in 1 store-bought (not homemade) snack to share with the class. The room parent/parents can bring in 1 store-bought (not homemade) snack on whatever holiday is being celebrated. Other volunteers can focus on games, activities, decorations, etc., anything that is not food, so that the children can celebrate and learn about that particular holiday. We can’t count on little kids to practice self-control, but parents and teacher and administrators presetting appropriate guidelines would have prevented the bacchanalia of sugar.

    • Michelle May 24, 2017, 9:59 am

      The OP sated that she had communicated with the other moms and put them in charge of something. The one mom she couldn’t get in touch with sent cupcakes. The cookie thing was a tradition of the mom and child, but OP wasn’t told that until after cookie mom got upset. The problem seemed to stem from the fact that even though each mom has an assigned thing to send in or do, they choose to also send in a sweet treat and the class ended up with an excess of sweet treats.

      OP isn’t a mind reader. If the other moms had expectations about how and when their offering was supposed to be doled out, they should have come to the party or clearly communicated that to the OP.

      • SJ June 2, 2017, 1:03 pm

        And the excess of treats isn’t so bad until all the moms got all whiny and complaining after the fact.

  • DGS May 23, 2017, 9:21 am

    Also, allergies are a very real concern for a lot of parents, particularly if the allergies are airborne (as is the case with many peanut allergies). Absolutely, the schools should have an Epi-pen on site and a school nurse to help a child that is exposed to an allergen, and parents should train the child to refrain from eating a snack without knowing what is in it, but again, it is on the adults to prevent a potentially dangerous allergic reaction. My children do not have dietary allergies, than goodness, but I have a lot of empathy for people who have allergic kids! It is not something to make light of…

  • Abby May 23, 2017, 9:47 am

    So, 6 moms agreed to help with the party, and the 6th mom did not get in touch with OP, and brought in a treat, instead of whatever the OP would have assigned her, and then 3 moms who did not volunteer initially sent in treats as well, so the party had 6 dozen cupcakes, 2 dozen suckers, 2 dozen “chocolate things”, and two dozen fancy bakery cookies. Wow, my stomach hurts just reading that. And all moms thought their treat should have been served to the class. And all moms complained to both the teacher and the OP that their treat was not served.

    Not sure why the three moms called you, OP- did the teacher give them your number? All you can say is for 24 students, there were 144 treats, and you did not think each child should eat 3 cupcakes, one cookie, one sucker, and one chocolate thing.

    I do think maybe there was a little TOO much thought here- it does not take 6 moms to organize a class party. Trying to coordinate that much help resulted in far more work than if just one mom took care of everything herself.

    • Amanda H. May 25, 2017, 11:21 pm

      Some schools provide parent directories for contact info. My kids’ current school doesn’t, but their previous one did. It can make it easier arranging playdates and sending birthday invites when the school otherwise has an “all-or-none” policy for invitations handed out at-school.

      It can take 6 moms to make a class party less of a hassle for any particular mom. My preschooler’s class has a class mom who coordinates things, and she usually gets more than six individual volunteers to help provide things so that no one breaks the bank picking up all the paper goods, all the snacks, all the goodie bags, all the game supplies, etc.

      But yeah, when you put it in absolute numbers that is a LOT of sugary treats, and only one set of 2 dozen cupcakes and the suckers were expected (a much more reasonable number).

  • dandj May 23, 2017, 10:00 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like most of the moms who sent in the sugary treats were not even involved with the party planning in any way, except for one one that couldn’t be gotten ahold of. So there were assumptions made by all the moms who sent in unrequested treats. And how could a roommom not know about a “tradition” unless it was particular to that one family and the OP never had a kid in the same class before.

    Sadly I think most of the year extra food moms were trying to win a “best” mom contest that was only in their heads rather than contact the teacher to see what was needed, if anything. I do feel a little bad for the new kid, but that was also a parent fail, since the kid’s mom didn’t ask if it could be done or alert the teacher of what se was doing.

    In all I think the OP did the best she could do given the situation, and I don’t blame her for not wanting to be a part of that drama ever again.

    • Michelle May 24, 2017, 10:01 am


  • myfamily May 23, 2017, 10:08 am

    Parents should never send in any food to be shared with the class without talking to the teacher before hand, and none of these parents did that. My DH is a teacher (1st grade) and he gets so frustrated when a parent walks in with treats for the whole class without checking with him first – they interrupt the class and disrupt his schedule, which means he isn’t able to teach what needs to be taught on that day (if they’d call first, he’d make it work, but when he’s in the middle of teaching math and has to stop the lesson abruptly, that is a problem). This holds true for classroom parties as well – if you are sending something in, you need to double check that it is okay, even if it is supposedly a tradition (my guess is it is a tradition of one year, as in last year they sent cookies, so they are doing it again).

    • Lena May 23, 2017, 3:41 pm

      I have to ask…under what circumstances are parents walking into a classroom during a lesson, with snacks to share? With no warning? What country is this? Most schools you can’t even get in the front door without being buzzed in, and then you have to go through the office, where one would most certainly question a person standing there with a plate of snacks and saying “oh, I just thought the kids would enjoy these”.
      The teacher needs to “school” the office on how to handle this.

      • Amanda H. May 25, 2017, 11:31 pm

        My kids’ current school has you sign in and explain why you’re there, and they can check you against a list of authorized people if you aren’t familiar to them (but if you’re there often enough they learn your face, especially if you have more than one kid in the school or are active in your kid’s class). But they don’t call the teacher, on the assumption that the teacher knows or has at least approved your visit.

        I could walk into my children’s school tomorrow, check in at the office, explain I was there for a visit (not unheard of for parents to check in on their younger children during the schoolday), and they would let me in because I’m my child’s legal guardian. I could then disrupt my child’s class by wanting to visit or bring snacks or anything with no regard for the actual lesson. So even if your visit is entirely on the up-and-up, it could still be a surprise to the teacher and a disruption to the class.

    • Ruby May 23, 2017, 7:19 pm

      I’m a substitute teacher, and I agree with this. A parent brought cupcakes to my kindergarten class a few weeks ago, and it was a huge distraction for the kids. (It’s possible that the parent had checked with the regular teacher in this case, but either way I hadn’t heard about it.) I had to wait until recess to hand them out because I didn’t want the kids eating in the classroom, and until then the only available place to put them was on a table at the back of the room. That meant the kids could see them, and none of them could focus on their work when there were cupcakes right there in front of them and why did they have to wait until recess, why couldn’t they have one noooooowwwwwww?

      • Lena May 24, 2017, 2:59 pm

        I won’t ask again, but I’m really curious, is this in the U.K.?
        1. Is it possible for an adult to enter the school and walk into a classroom with out any check points?

        2. Is the teacher not allowed to say, I’m sorry, I’m in the middle of a class, please take your tray of cupcakes to the office and sort out your business there?

        I’m not being snarky, I just want to know because it’s so incredibly different in North America. But even if a parent with a plate of cupcakes is a persistent enough problem, one would think it would be in the best interest of the students and the teachers to make sure this if properly frowned upon.
        I guess I’ll try google.

        • Amanda H. May 25, 2017, 11:35 pm

          I mentioned above but plenty of schools would allow a parent into their kid’s classroom. They’d still have to check in at the office, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the office calls down to the teacher to let them know, usually assuming the teacher expects this. All four of the schools my children have attended so far in their lives have worked this way, and they were all in the US.

  • Lola May 23, 2017, 10:16 am

    I made fudge for a Christmas party. 2 pans. One pan was taken to the office and distributed. I didn’t care that I didn’t get it back or that my grade schooler didn’t get pass it out. Some parents get involved to be upset more than anything.

  • staceyisme May 23, 2017, 10:16 am

    Events where there is a surplus of food can be frustrating. It feels like a plan was in place but went awry. Evidently, the other moms also had plans in place that went awry. I have to say, though, that my sympathies are more with the moms. The treats were intended for the children in that room. Extras weren’t for office staff, other classes or anyone else, unless permission had been obtained and given. Valentine’s Day is just one of those weird, loaded holidays that absolutely wreaks of potential for problems. If you do ever organize again, OP, maybe don’t let your admirable administrative and planning strength get in the way of your social self. You assigned tasks and took on the refreshments yourself, something that is an area where many people like to show off at holiday time. Then you proceeded to laugh about the offerings with the teacher. (That’s okay, it was funny.) The point at which it went wrong, I think, is where the goodies were gifted to those for whom they had not been intended. Leftover treats could easily have been packaged up and sent home with each child along with any candies or other cards and trinkets. Parents are usually tolerant at Easter and Valentine’s Day (and Halloween!) of the presence of extra treats and the extra trouble that goes along with shepherding them safely home. School environments are generally sensitive (more than sensible) social collectives and, as you discovered, making a quick determination “on the fly” without input from the parents who gifted those treats caused considerable back-and-forth. I get the feeling that you believe you were right and the other moms wrong. Getting consensus and appreciating the participation of others in volunteer efforts is “de rigeur” for heading any volunteer activity. Extra schmoozing, collaboration and some thankfulness have to precede any constructive criticism. You could have saved that tor the “post-game review”. After all, Easter was just ahead!

    • Kate May 23, 2017, 5:33 pm

      OP did package up the leftover treats for the kids to take home, these were surplus that she gave away.

    • Michelle May 24, 2017, 10:08 am

      As my child’s school, and also when I worked for Head Start many years ago, extras or leftovers were always shared with the office and janitorial staff and it was never a problem. OP stated that they did send some of the extra home, as well as putting back some for treats the next day. IF the parents had stuck to the plan then this might have been prevented.

  • Jennifer May 23, 2017, 10:34 am

    If these moms wanted something specific to happen with their treats, why did they not send a note or speak with the room mom or the teach directly?

    • Anon May 23, 2017, 2:09 pm

      Exactly! That’s why I’m not getting why everyone is harping on OP.

      Look, I don’t care if it’s “tradition” or whatever, you go and ask if you can do something first with the teacher! Why would you just assume that it’s okay when there’s a very big possibility that you know that there are other parents involved in doing the party?

      In 3rd grade on every student’s birthday we did something special with their parent/guardian/whatever. They brought in treats for the class and we did an activity.

      I forgot what my mom brought, but I’m pretty sure that she checked with the freaking teacher first to see if it was okay and if the activity that she wanted them to do (I made a lot of paper snowflakes then, and she decided that might be a fun activity) would be okay. Why would you not ask?!

      • Michelle May 24, 2017, 10:09 am

        Agreed! You should always check first and if you want something special to happen, make sure the teacher and/or room mom knows!

      • Amanda H. May 25, 2017, 11:49 pm

        THIS so very much.

        My sister has a son whose birthday is on Valentine’s Day. She would never think of just sending treats to school with him without checking first that it won’t cause treat overload, or sending specific instructions rather than just assuming everyone will automatically understand what to do with them.

  • Julie May 23, 2017, 10:35 am

    I do think that if you bring food without checking with the teacher, there’s a good chance that there’s too much food and yours won’t get eaten. This has happened to me even when there’s a food sign-up sheet, people just bring in extras and a lot of food goes uneaten. Taking this kind of thing personally is not a good way to maintain class harmony. I really feel for both the teacher and the room mother.

    As my own kids will be in school soon, I think a terrific workaround would be to send in treats on non-holidays. Of course, check with the teacher first but most teachers would say that they get a lot of treats on certain holidays and won’t mind getting treats on non-holidays.

    • Amanda H. May 25, 2017, 11:52 pm

      Agreed. My preschooler’s class recently had an end-of-year party, and I volunteered to bring one of the treats. Turns out the school also provided lunches to the preschoolers, and there was enough other fruit, cupcakes (from a birthday girl), and chips that my bag of chips didn’t get opened. I just collected it at the end of the party and took it home with me.

  • Michelle May 23, 2017, 11:13 am

    I *tried* to be a room mom one year and this type of thing happened every. single. time. there was a party or celebration. Parents would ask what they could bring or what was needed, I would tell them and then they ended up bringing/sending cupcakes, cookies or something else sweet. About the fourth time this happened, I resigned because of all the complaining. If you ask what we need and I say plates or napkins but you send in cupcakes instead, I have to either borrow things from the lunchroom or make a run to a convenience store. If you want to send cupcakes, then send the cupcakes but be aware that if we have 125 cupcakes and 25 kids, they are not going to eat 5 cupcakes each and we are going to share with the janitorial staff (because they sure do deserve a little treat now and then) and the front office staff. If that upsets you, don’t send anything, but don’t ask what you can bring, send something different and get attitude because Susie didn’t get to pass out her special cupcake that we didn’t know she was bringing because you said you were sending plates!

    • bern821 May 23, 2017, 3:34 pm

      Much as I love kids – this is the kind of stuff that makes me glad I don’t have any! I would guarantee that no matter what the ‘room mom’ does – some of the other parents will always have something to complain about. I could not deal with the politics of being a parent in these situations – I’d find it incredibly annoying! 🙂

    • staceyisme May 23, 2017, 4:14 pm

      I can see where this kind of situation would be frustrating. But it really isn’t fair to say “don’t send anything if that upsets you”. Room moms (I’ve been one, for what that’s worth) are there to help. Yes, it requires leadership and organization. It doesn’t require extra bossing about of others, however, or irritation because expectations differed. Assigning roles without checking in, getting annoyed when things don’t work out as planned, making decisions based on convenience rather than careful consideration- these are all things that are guaranteed to shorten the list of those willing to send treats or support events. It’s the children’s event. So they SHOULD get to pass out their treats. They SHOULD get to choose from the available offerings. And yes, they SHOULD get to take home the leftovers (with parental permission and with the permission of the original donor). None of us checks our individual agency at the door. The whole “my event/ my way” thinking leads to feeling offended that parents dared to differ with the teacher or the “room mom”. Why? It’s a kids’ party and it isn’t worth the annoyance. The reason kids can’t have fun in school is generally because adults can’t get along. Perhaps some parents get out of hand with sending things in that aren’t wanted. (Well, okay, they definitely do.) But that doesn’t give the teachers, room moms or other staff on campus permission to do more than roll their eyes privately and try better schemes of planning and earlier deadlines for tuning in supplies. Want to make sure you have cups? Craft supplies? Napkins? Themed decor? If it’s due the week before the party, you can then fill in whatever is lacking. This is true with other volunteer events too (see Sunday school, scouts, concessions for games, proms, athletic or band trips… I am sorry for nattering ON. It’s just that after some years of kids and school or kids and other activities, it’s not that hard to relax and just get on with it.

      • Michelle May 24, 2017, 11:09 am

        I didn’t “boss” anyone around. They asked what they could send/bring and I said this is what we need. If they choose to send in something else, then there was a chance that whatever they chose to send in would not get served or used.

        We set-up the tables and let the kids go buffet-style through and get what they wanted. We did monitor to make sure they took an appropriate portion- 1 cupcake, a couple of cookies, etc- until everyone had been through the line. The teacher or I would distribute the water, milk or fruit punch. I’ve seen too many accidents- cupcakes upside down on the floor, cookies scattered across the floor- because kids want to pass out their thing. Then they get upset, start crying and the party is basically ruined for them.

        If you are going to get upset if you send in items that are not used/given out/shared with staff, then it’s best if you don’t send anything OR you could show up and make sure whatever you contributed is used, distributed, etc. When someone takes on room mom duties and you ask what you can bring, you should send that item or call and let them know you want to send something else. Agreeing to send paper plates, then arbitrarily deciding you would rather send cupcakes, is guaranteed to make something be missing from the party. Then getting angry at the teacher and room mom because your cupcakes were not served? Or you ended up with 125 cupcakes so you gave a few to the office and janitorial staff? That’s unreasonable. If you wanted to send cupcakes, you should have said so to begin with and then I would have gotten the paper plates and napkins .

        Things like this is why I resigned. No one wants to step-up and when someone does and tries to help out and make things fun, suddenly everyone wants to do it their way and if you don’t, then you sure are going to hear about it.

  • PJ May 23, 2017, 11:15 am

    So I’d be there thinking “woo-hoo! extra extra treats! treats for everyone! treats today! treats tomorrow! treats to take home! people are so generous!”

    Even if I had sent in special treats, I’d be happy knowing that they went to someone– extra for another class/janitor/school nurse/whatever. I’m sorry to hear that those parents couldn’t grasp the idea that there was such an overabundance that their kid’s class couldn’t possibly eat them all and that nobody’s treats in particular were earmarked exclusively for one particular audience.

    Sometimes you just can’t win. I’m sure *most* of the kids and unsuspecting recipients of overflowing treats went home very happy.

  • Lisa824 May 23, 2017, 11:45 am

    This incident reminded me of a story from when I was in kindergarten. My mother sent me in with a tray of homemade cupcakes for the class (I forget what the occasion was). But I was terrified of my kindergarten teacher, and I didn’t want to walk up to her desk to give her the tray, so I just put it under my chair for the day. My mother was furious with me when I arrived home at the end of the day with the tray still full of cupcakes!

  • NostalgicGal May 23, 2017, 11:56 am

    Back in the early 70’s the major sweet/treat event was the Halloween parties in the classrooms. Most everyone brought stuff to share. You would walk around and put stuff on people’s desks and make the circuit until stuff ran out. Most of this was individually wrapped pieces of bagged candy, though we would have cupcakes or apples or popcorn balls sometimes. Third grade, a classmate didn’t wake up one morning and had gone into diabetic coma (type I, her pancreas just quit working) and spent a week in hospital getting used to this. She was back to school just before the party. I asked her what she could have to eat, as I thought it was going to be sad if she couldn’t eat anything at the party, and she said nuts. So I went to the soda counter that had roasted bulk nuts and spent my allowance for a quarter pound of shelled sunflower seeds. (25c). When we went to hand out candy, I gave her the little package of nuts. It surprised her and stunned the teacher, that someone had thought of her and her needs. She did eat some of them, so she could participate (she took the candy she got from the rest and took that home). I handed out candy to everyone else.

    If we had a superabundance of food, we would do just that, put it on a tray and carry it around and you were allowed to pick one or two things, and it would be refilled until it had made the rounds. Then the rest was either take home, send back, or share elsewhere. I think how it was handled for the OP was reasonable. IF someone had made it known ahead (the two ticked mothers about the icebreakers) then those children could have been the tray carriers (hostess assistants) to still be able to do the handing out.

    It sounds very lucky that diet or allergy issues didn’t rear a head in this whole bit. I do agree though with the OP, that I wouldn’t be volunteering next year.

    • PJ May 23, 2017, 4:16 pm

      What a thoughtful thing you did for your classmate!

  • Jessie May 23, 2017, 11:58 am

    I have a totally different understanding that the other commenters.
    It seems as though the OP DID put out all the food but there was too much and so they passed it around to other classes and sent some home. Not that they only put some out and not others.
    Also it isnt just the fact they all brought the same thing, it is that the OP gave them jobs and they chose to ignore that and bring food, so there were no games or decorations ect.

    It seems like the popularity comment was about the fact they wanted to outdo each other with the best cupcakes/cookies and show them off, rather than making a fun day for the kids,

    • Michelle May 24, 2017, 11:12 am

      That was my understanding as well. There was just so much leftover that they saved some, gave some away and send some home.

    • Amanda H. May 26, 2017, 12:05 am

      My take on who brought the unexpected treats was that it was the No Contact volunteer plus three non-volunteers, and that games and decorations were probably still provided. OP mentions that one set of cupcakes was from the volunteer she couldn’t contact, and that the cookies, chocolate-somethings, and another set of cupcakes was from three other parents, not three of the four volunteers she was able to give assignments to.

  • JeanLouiseFinch May 23, 2017, 12:05 pm

    OP – It just illustrates that old saying that no good deed goes unpunished.

  • padua May 23, 2017, 12:12 pm

    the thing I noticed is that valentine’s day has become traditionally a day where children get to pass out things. it’s important to get a feel for the culture of the school and classroom you’re going to be helping in because a lot of these things tend to get looked over in lieu of what we might consider ‘common sense.’ giving each child a goodie back and letting the children distribute their own goodies seems on par with valentine’s days expectations. in my children’s classrooms, it’s somehow become a tradition to associated valentines with the distribution of treats and if it’s not treats with the valentines, it’s cookies or some other form of goodwill.
    I know that if my child picked out a treat for his or her classroom with the intent to “share”, he or she would be disappointed it wasn’t given to their peers where they could see it and take joy in the sharing.

    • Dee May 23, 2017, 6:33 pm

      Yes, padua, I think the issue may be that it is Valentine’s Day, when kids traditionally give their classmates cards and/or treats. If the teacher decided not to allow treats to be passed out that year then the parents should have been given a heads-up. But, in that case, then the moms can’t be handing out treats, either. It seems to me that nobody asked the teacher or kids what they wanted to do and so the moms simply did as usual – helped their kids prepare their Valentines to be handed out. In any event, I find it weird that adults are taking over an event the kids usually “run” themselves and then complaining that it didn’t go the way they wanted. Doesn’t matter what the parents wanted, what did the teacher and kids want? It’s their classroom, their party.

      • saucygirl May 23, 2017, 9:19 pm

        there is a difference between kids giving out valentines cards and individually wrapped candies that can be tossed into a bag and taken home, and kids giving out cupcakes and cookies that are suppose to be eaten then. I would bet money that every kid still give out their card and tootsie rolls/chocolate kisses/etc. This entry is about the dozens and dozens of cupcakes and cookies that were sent into class for consumption right there and then.

        If fancy cookie lady wanted her kid to give a cookie to every person, she should have individually wrapped the cookies for hand out, not sent in a tray.

        • NostalgicGal May 24, 2017, 9:49 am

          This. Made goodie bags for her kid to pass out.

          You can get cupcake holder boxes or downloadable print-your-own box patterns, that will hold a cupcake. They are cute but not cheap, but. That is one way to also package a cupcake to be fairly messfree for handing out and transporting home. If you truly want to send a handout-able cupcake, go through the effort of packaging them with something like this. Then your child can hand out the treats like they are valentines.

    • shel May 23, 2017, 10:43 pm

      I do think there is a difference between handing out a card with a little valentine box of nerds or other candy type treat- something that can easily be saved and eaten later (like Halloween candy) and handing out cupcakes and cookies to every child.

      One, they can’t eat it all in once sitting… this situation sounds like there was potential for 2-3 cupcakes a kid plus cookies and other stuff. And two, if they are going to send it home, how are kids supposed to transport cupcakes and cookies? Did the parents also send a dozen individual bakery boxes? Just think of the mess that would make on a bus!

      And I’m sure if instead of sending treats home with separate kids and sending a mostly full tray of cookies/cupcakes back home with the person who brought it, there would be the same angry phone calls that little suzy didn’t get to give out her special treat!

  • rindlrad May 23, 2017, 12:40 pm

    OP, I know you were frustrated, but at the end of the day there were cookies and cupcakes all over the place. What a lovely “problem” to have. OP, you handled things as well as possible. Please consider re-thinking your decision to never volunteer again. It sounds like you did a great job, and I remember how much I loved having my Mom volunteer in my classroom when I was a kid. Don’t let parents who can’t / won’t follow directions take that away from you and your child.

    • SJ June 2, 2017, 1:09 pm

      It’s not the parents that can’t/won’t follow directions so much as the rudeness after the fact, I think.

  • Devil's Advocate May 23, 2017, 1:43 pm

    I have to agree with the other posters. I am a working mom myself. It is unlikely that I will be able to participate in holiday parties during the school day. However, I would want my child to 1) feel included; 2) feel like I cared and I was involved; and for the teacher to know I cared and wanted to be involved. I would have sent something in and been pretty dismayed if it wasn’t used (which to me says it wasn’t acknowledged). I do tend to be the parent to send in non-food party favors (dollar store toys are always a hit) because I don’t like kids eating a bunch of junk food.

    I think this is a organizing issue. If you are the head organizer and there are let’s say 20 kids in the classroom, you simply contact the parents (probably by a group email, text, or facebook message) and say the following: “Everyone–on Friday February 14th from 2-4pm will be the class Valentine’s Day Party. If you plan to attend please let me know by X date. I will be providing X, I will need for other parents to bring or drop off to me beforehand the following ___________. If you intend on sending your child with something, please let me know. If it is food, it will need to have an ingredient list with it. Please also let me know if any of your children have allergies or special needs in regards to food. While I will try to incorporate all treats into the party on that day–if we can’t, the extra treats will be used for snacks during the next week. We do appreciate any non-treat party favors, as we don’t want to fill the kids up on to much sugar before sending them home!

    Thanks for your help!
    Signed: Head Organizer

    Then a few days prior to the party send another email or text or facebook message which updates/reminds the parents on who is bringing what, who is coming, etc. The moms (bless them) in our class who do take this role, do their organization this way. It keeps all parents on the same page and it works for everything we have been involved in that takes parents who don’t know each other well coming together (baseball, girl scouts, etc.). It’s also a great way to make contact with parents of kids who may be in your child’s class for sometime to come.

    So don’t give up on it! Maybe just rethink your approach. Trust me–the moms/dads who can’t be there will appreciate the work you put in.

    • Anon May 23, 2017, 2:13 pm

      I’m not sure why they have to contact ALL of the parents (they may not even have their emails) when it’s only a few parents organizing the party (not ALL of the parents). Other people weren’t even supposed to bring in anything it all it sounds like but did, and the people who were volunteering too also brought in things that they weren’t supposed to bring.

      Why would it be their responsibility? Shouldn’t it be YOURS when you try to make your child bring something in that isn’t planned? Shouldn’t you be the one sending an email and saying “hey, little suzie wants to bring in her home made treat, would that be okay?”

    • Kate May 23, 2017, 5:37 pm

      This is a great idea, but sadly I don’t think it will work. It sounds like OP did this, and people didn’t send the things she needed that they told her they were sending and instead didn’t tell her they were sending treats in.

      • staceyisme May 24, 2017, 12:20 am

        “You weren’t supposed to bring anything.” “Well, YOU should have emailed all of us.” “Well, I expected that you would follow simple directions.” “We want to make sure our child is included, too.” “I can’t believe that four parents called about their kids not getting to pass out treats.” “I can’t believe that Suzie didn’t get to pass her treats out.” “Why would anyone assume they had the right to send in extra food?” “Why would anyone try to keep a child from passing out treats to her friends?”… (You see? There are different perspectives. If, as room mother, it has to be your way/ you’re the boss/ others take their orders from you… well, good luck! If, as Devil’s Advocate suggests, simple communication and courtesy include a real effort to contact all of the parents and to move forward as a group, there won’t be nearly as much drama or stress and relatively few people will go away with hurt feelings, frustration or residual ill will.

        • Devil's Advocate May 24, 2017, 8:13 am

          This!! Simple communication could have really made this and future parties a better experience for all involved.

          In answer to Anon who stated “Why would it be their responsibility? Shouldn’t it be YOURS when you try to make your child bring something in that isn’t planned? Shouldn’t you be the one sending an email and saying “hey, little suzie wants to bring in her home made treat, would that be okay?”

          Yes as room mother that IS your responsibility. Unless room mother has reached out–how would I even know who she is (or he in some cases)? The problem is that without communication to the parents of the classroom (especially parents new to the classroom) they don’t know any information and could be siding on the safe side of–I’d better send something theory.

          And how do I know this work? Because I’ve seen it done multiple times by mothers with more time then me and better organized then I am. They send emails/facebook messages/text similar to the one I wrote and the parties are great and well done. Yes, as a room mother the organization of the party does become your problem.

          • Anon May 24, 2017, 12:50 pm

            Again, it is NOT the room mother’s responsibility to go and contact at least 25 individual parents, 20 of which weren’t involved and just decided to bring stuff in even though they weren’t told to bring in anything.

            These room mother’s are not contacting all of the parents all of the time. The OP had specific people and specific people to work with that she was supposed to contact. That’s what she did. The problem came after when random parents decided that the OP was supposed to read minds and know EVERYTHING that went on in the classroom, rather than contacting the teacher who would probably have a better idea of what was going on with the kids they teach 8 hours a day.

          • Amanda H. May 26, 2017, 12:18 am

            Now see, the way the room mom for my preschooler’s class does it, she e-mails all the parents to ask for a handful of volunteers to help with the class party. She then deals with just those volunteers unless something is missing and there’s no volunteer to cover it, at which point she contacts everyone again to say, “Hey, we still need someone to bring plates/cups/grapes/goodie bags/whatever, who’s willing?” Which I would assume is what OP did as well.

            So if the room mom e-mails all the parents asking for volunteers and you don’t volunteer, then send something anyway, why are you getting upset that what you sent wasn’t planned for?

    • mark May 25, 2017, 1:21 am

      In theory this sounds good, but in practice it would only be somewhat effective. For instance, I already get so many inane emails from the school I barely read them any more. As well as people are going to do what they want to anyways, I mean some will follow through. But a fair percentage of the parents are not going to follow the plan, no matter how thorough the communication was.

  • JD May 23, 2017, 1:56 pm

    It sounds like the kids got to eat some of the snacks there, take some home, and even would have some next day. I don’t see that any mom who sent goodies was slighted. As far as the “my child was to hand them out,” how was OP to know this? If mom didn’t tell OP or the teacher, or send a note, then the child had to say he/she was to hand them out per mom’s instructions, and apparently, the child didn’t. OP wasn’t at fault there, either.
    My youngest was the kid on a special diet. She had food allergies until she was a teen, not life threatening, but the kind that brought severe hives and a great deal of discomfort. She couldn’t have chocolate, caffeine, yellow food dye, anything containing citric acid or preserved with citric acid (most soft drinks, fruit punches, fruit flavored candies, juices, boxed mixes, mayo, jams and jellies have citric acid) or processed lunch meats. I always informed her teachers at the first of the year, and she could list each food she wasn’t to have, when asked. She had some teachers that didn’t remember to tell me about a party ahead of time so I could send her a treat, but some were fantastic about making sure allergy-free snacks were included in the requests to parents, to be safe for my daughter and other allergic kids. Her kindergarten teacher, who commuted 55 miles each way to teach and was herself a juvenile diabetic, would always stop and buy a certain brand of root beer that had no citric acid or caffeine in it, just for my daughter, when they had a class party, even though I repeatedly said she didn’t have to do that. She just said she knew what it felt like to be the kid who couldn’t eat the treats. She was very, very discreet in getting it to my daughter, so that no feelings were hurt. So, in OP’s case, the diabetic kids/allergic kids were inundated with foods they shouldn’t eat, and kids with no restrictions were faced with far too much sweet stuff, because some moms decided to send stuff on anyway, unasked, and then got upset that their contributions weren’t treated with the proper reverence. I’m with OP on this one.

  • lakey May 23, 2017, 2:51 pm

    There’s an old saying, “no good deed goes unpunished.” Sorry your hard work was not appreciated.
    As a former grade school teacher I can tell you that you did the right thing. There is a limit to how many dessert type treats that you give to children to eat there at the party.

    The parents who sent cookies and cupcakes, with the idea that there child pass them out at the party in addition to all of the treats already planned for the party, should have thought that through. Once it was explained to them, that should have ended it.

    As far as the people who keep complaining, they need to be told that they are in charge of the next party. If I were you, that is what I would say to the next person who gripes. “You can do all the work for next year’s Halloween party.” In my experience, certain parents do the bulk of the work. The other parents, including those who work outside the home, have the good grace to be appreciative and not criticize.

  • lakey May 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Sorry, “there” should be “their”. Also, I mentioned “those who work outside the home” because they sometimes feel bad about not being as involved in school party planning, and so on, as they’d like to. So they are appreciative of the parents who handle things.

  • AppleEye May 23, 2017, 2:59 pm

    Those other moms just don’t sound really rational to me. This kind of thing is what happens when you ignore instructions (I will give a possible pass to the ‘new kid’ mom, who may not have know the current class customs). At my son’s preschool, the teacher send a a message to a parents when a class party is being held, which usually specifically states DO NOT send snacks, especially sugary ones. On occasions when snacks are okay, she says so, and there is a general understanding that any snacks sent are individually wrapped, so each kid can take one home, and leftovers are sent back with the kid who brought them.

  • Gizmo May 23, 2017, 3:01 pm

    As a kindergarten teacher this story is so bonkers to me… where is the teacher in all of this!?

    I can tell all the commenters who are saying that the “classroom mom” probably did not communicate clearly enough that I can guarantee that even if she did her due diligence and called/emailed/etc all those parents there are still going to be a large majority who do whatever they want anyway OR do not read or answer. I say this as a teacher who has to call/email parents all the time. You would be surprised how many do not read messages or respond in any way.

  • doodlemor May 23, 2017, 3:49 pm

    Former teacher here.

    In my district we never had room parents, and children were free to bring whatever they wanted for parties. There were several times that I asked for volunteers to save their treat for the next day’s snack, but no one was ever voluntold to do so.

    The kids ate what they wanted to eat, and took home a lot of things sometimes. I had a list of allergies if they were pertinent. There were always several kids who brought extras for the office and some of the special subject teachers, so those people generally were surfeit with goodies.

    The kids got to choose the classroom games that they wanted to play, like Four Corners or Eraser Tag, and I supervised just enough to keep things fair and safe, but tried not to intrude too much on their fun times.

    I think that there is too much helicoptering of kids nowadays, and that this post is an example. Kids need a chance to be kids. They need chances to make some of their own decisions, to socialize without a lot of structure, and to lay in the grass and look at the shapes of the clouds.

    OP meant well, and her actions may have been the norm at her school. I think that the whole thing was overthought, though, and that little kids’ school parties don’t need so much organization and adult participation unless perhaps the children are very young.

    • Dee May 25, 2017, 1:32 am

      doodlemore – I heartily agree with you. I’ve never heard of a room mom and don’t know why one would be needed. I loved to help out in the classroom with tutoring and school work but, by second grade, the teachers declined all class assistance. Instead, I was hounded to help out on Hot Dog Day (I really didn’t care if my kids ever had hot dogs at school), fundraisers (didn’t care for the stuff they were fundraising for), and those dreaded field trips. I saw more than a few moms who were at school most days and I watched as their kids were always looking over their shoulders to see if mom was watching them. They seemed paranoid, which I would be, too, if my family was always there to observe me at school/work. School was their domain, not mine, and I had no business being there more than occasionally. I told the teachers that if something was important then they should let me know but that my kids hated it when really small infractions were reported. If the teacher felt he/she could handle those issues then why did I need to know? I really like my privacy so why wouldn’t my kids like theirs? My goal is for my (now adult) kids to be independent of me and to be able to make decisions without my approval. The helicopter moms think differently.

  • InTheEther May 23, 2017, 5:35 pm

    On the people who mentioned that they would be upset if their treats went to someone other than the kids; Why?

    Look, the OP stated that she had arranged for 2 dozen cupcakes and suckers for the class. So I think we can ballpark it that there were something like 15-20 students (considering cupcakes are generally sold by the dozen). She showed up that day and wound up with a grand total of 72 cupcakes, a huge tray of cookies I think we can guestimate as at least 3 dozen, and 15-20 chocolate desserts and suckers. So that only leaves a few options. A) Every kid gets 3-4 cupcakes, chocolate, 2+ cookies, and a sucker, B) load up the kids as much as reasonable and then trash the rest, or C) load up the kids as much as reasonable and then hand out the excess to whoever you can. I sincerely doubt the OP went, ‘Okay, so Ms. Smith’s cupcakes are going straight to the janitorial staff’. Most likely the kids were loaded up first, the selections were made to be kept for the next day, and even after all that they were looking at a table with at least a dozen left. And by that point I doubt that the desserts were still organized into Mrs. A’s contribution, Mrs. B’s contribution, etc.

    For the handing out personally complaints, why would you even think you’re kid would be handing out his/her own treats? Since this was a pre arranged party, obviously some distribution system was already worked out. Why throw a wrench in the system by having a second exceedingly slow system for part of it? Never mind that the OP would need to be psychic to know that these 2 out of the 7 contributions were to be handed out personally. I kinda have to agree that the main reason for having the whole class sit and wait as one kid distributes desserts to everyone specially would be a manipulative popularity play. It’s not like the new kid was going to hand out 1 cupcake, and then have a 5 minute conversation before handing the next one out.

    The admin has stated plenty of times that you need to think of why you/someone is doing something. Your goal is that the whole class has a fun party with good treats? Great. The OP ensured that it was so with the contributions. Some of the desserts got distributed differently, but all the kids definitely got enough junk food. Whining that Susie didn’t hand out her own cookies or some of the excess went to the staff, sounds like the point was that everyone should know who precisely to heap praise upon for their contributions.

  • Calli Arcale May 23, 2017, 6:03 pm

    Oh gracious. This sounds like my family’s potluck gatherings. You find out what everybody is going to bring, you arrange a certain amount of food, everything looks great, and then my mom shows up with her assigned food item plus enough other food to feed three times as many people as were invited. 😀

    • Anonymous May 24, 2017, 1:00 pm

      You just described the way my Amnesty International chapter does potlucks. We’ll do it at one particular member’s house, and then each member will bring what they said they were going to bring (not assigned, because we’re a small group), and then the hosting member and her husband will contribute something that could be a meal in itself. They don’t want to keep/store leftovers either, so the rest of us always end up taking home most of what we brought. Last year, I made chili and brownies, and, since people were so full from all the other food, they barely made a dent, and I ended up eating chili and brownies at home for almost a week straight.

      I also used to have a group of friends who’d do potlucks for birthdays, and we’d never co-ordinate in advance, and we’d almost always ALL end up bringing cupcakes, but that wasn’t a problem–in fact, it became a running joke after a while. The only difference was, we were adults, so we were better than kids are at self-regulating, or dealing with the stomach aches that resulted when we didn’t self-regulate so well.

      • Anonymous May 24, 2017, 2:35 pm

        P.S., My fellow Amnesty members are wonderful people, and I think it’s especially nice of the hosting couple to always volunteer their house when we have potlucks–if anything, they’re TOO generous, because they provide bread, AND salad, AND a protein course, AND beverages, and the rest of us each bring one or two things each (like I brought chili and brownies last time), so we always end up with way too much food.

      • Amanda H. May 26, 2017, 12:50 am

        When my husband was in grad school, we were part of a Sunday afternoon cookout-potluck. One person volunteered to start coals on one of the communal grills in the apartment complex courtyard (several of us lived in this one complex, and the other invitees lived within easy walking distance), each family brought their own protein component, and then each family brought a side dish to share. We never signed up for side dishes, but people were usually pretty good about balancing out desserts, salads, etc.

        One week, only one other family showed up as others had things going on. I’d decided to make deviled eggs that day, as a bit of a take that to my hubby who doesn’t “get” deviled eggs or my family’s enjoyment of them. Surprise surprise, the other family that showed ALSO brought deviled eggs. Luckily, due to missing my family’s “standard” ingredients for them, I was a bit creative about what went into mine, so they were still just different enough from each other.

  • Ruby May 23, 2017, 7:07 pm

    This reminds me of a similar story.

    When I was in sixth grade, my class went on a camping trip and my mom volunteered to be in charge of food for the trip. Needless to say, a LOT of planning went into it. She had to make sure that everyone’s dietary restrictions were accounted for, that we stayed within a budget, that all the meals were balanced and nutritious–and of course, she made sure we got a few treats as well. Parents were told not to send any food except for a packed lunch on the first day.

    So of course one of the moms showed up with mini pizzas and cupcakes that she handed out on the first night. A few extra snacks might not sound like a big deal, but combined with the treats my mom had already planned it ended up being way too much junk food, especially for a school trip. The teacher and chaperones had to decide between letting some of the treats go to waste, or having the kids hyped up on sugar for the rest of the evening.

    Just like in the letter, this instance was also definitely a popularity thing. She made it very clear that the treats were from HER daughter, and wasn’t it nice that her daughter had brought treats for everyone? (This was not the first time she’d done this–she also had her daughter bring in treats for the class to “say goodbye” before they went on vacation, I am not even kidding.) Her daughter, by the way, already had lots of friends and didn’t need her mom’s “help” to be popular with the other students.

    Oh, and here’s the kicker: my mom didn’t tell me this until much later, but it turns out this woman had also brought alcohol for the parents for after the kids went to bed. Thankfully, all the other chaperones had the same “WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU INSANE” reaction my mom did. She got in some trouble with the school for that one!

  • Unsinkable May 23, 2017, 7:31 pm

    OP, you handled this beautifully. Those that picture 7+ kids wandering the room handing out treats, haven’t been in charge of a room party. Also, those that would be upset that their (un-planned for) treats were SHARED with others should rethink this. Would you rather that she tossed them? Would you want your child to eat six cupcakes and a cookie? When my kids were in school, we would coordinate so that at least one parent sent a fruit tray. It was often the only item the kids finished. Stickers, fun pencils, or something other than food can be sent in if the parent can’t take the time to see what is needed. Kids love that, too.

  • abf May 23, 2017, 8:30 pm

    When my son was in the 5th grade, all the 5th grade teachers put their heads together and came up with a plan. For their Christmas party, all the teachers went together and purchased tortilla chips, nacho cheese and fruit juice pouches for all the 5th graders. Then in the afternoon, all the 5th grade students headed to the multipurpose room where the teachers had a concession line and the kids all got a bowl of nachos and a drink. The parents who were able to be there helped serve the kids. Once they were seated, they got to watch a movie on the big screen and enjoy their snack. The kids loved it and everyone had a great time. Best plan ever in my book.

  • Hannah May 23, 2017, 11:04 pm

    I feel like a lot of people are missing the point here, which is practicality. While it is a sweet gesture to send treats with your children for a party, you cannot send them with an expectation. Especially if you don’t express that expectation. You have no control over how they are doled out after they leave your hands, nor do you have the right to dictate the party a certain way simply because you provided an unasked for treat. It is impractical to think that a child will, or should, eat “x” many treats so all parents are equally satisfied. And it is presumptuous to think your treats are more important or special than someone else’s. Kind gesture. Impractical consequences. And aside from this, these parents seem so irrationally upset (over something that really doesn’t matter!) that they are pettily complaining about OP and her completely logical decisions in the situation. Maybe OP does have a bit of an attitude over the whole thing, but I would too if I was dealing with something so ridiculous.

    • Ernie May 24, 2017, 12:19 pm

      Very well said.

  • Anonymous May 24, 2017, 2:21 pm

    Another thing that nobody else seems to have pointed out–these problems seem to happen most often in the lower grades (or, in the lower age groups of kids’ extra-curricular activities, like, say, Sparks/Daisies/Rainbows/Gumnuts, and Beaver/Tiger/Joey/Whatever Scouts). So, the smallest kids, with the smallest stomachs, are being loaded up with the most sugary sweets, and the most over-the-top celebrations; sometimes even for the smallest of holidays. I know that, when I was in school, we had Valentine’s Day parties from grades K-4, and then in grade five, we were deemed “too old.” But, older kids are probably more able to handle themselves in those kinds of situations, than little kids are.

  • mark May 25, 2017, 1:36 am

    A little bit of a tangent here, isn’t the trend to not allow home made treats in schools? My kids old school doesn’t allow them anymore, out of concern for allergies and food poisoning.

    • Amanda H. May 26, 2017, 1:02 am

      Probably one of those things that depends on the school district. I haven’t heard that restriction in the last three places we’ve lived, only the restriction against any treats, period, for the severely-restrictive-because-peanut/banana/pineapple-allergies classroom.

  • Redblues May 25, 2017, 4:00 pm

    One parent “volunteered” to help, but could not actually be bothered to communicate with the person in charge of the party. Apparently she Knows All and had no need of such petty niceties as responding to emails and phone calls. Then, when the extra food she sent was not distributed in the manner she expected, she suddenly found the time to call and berate the party organizer for not reading her mind. Most of the other parents didn’t even bother to volunteer at all, just sent food in without asking the teacher if it was wanted. They too had time to complain after the fact, but not time to volunteer in advance. The teacher did not field the complaint calls (at least, not all of them) but let the other parents call the OP and berate her. I’m guessing the teacher is young and inexperienced for this to have happened in the first place. Allowing the other parents to call the OP just compounded the mess. I don’t blame the OP for quitting. I blame the parents for being entitled and demanding. I blame the teacher for not explaining the rules upfront at the beginning of the school year, as well as for letting the parents call the OP and complain that she didn’t follow their telepathic orders. After that kind of experience, I wouldn’t bother to volunteer for that class ever again either. Who are these people who cannot condescend to get involved except to complain about what other people do wrong?

    • Amanda H. May 26, 2017, 12:23 pm

      The teacher may not have “allowed” the other parents to call OP, if it was like the one elementary school my kids attended while my husband did a postdoc in one state. That school handed out student directories to all the parents so we’d have each other’s contact information, so if I wanted to get a hold of my kids’ class mom, I wouldn’t have to go through the teacher at all.

      Or in their current school, while we don’t have student directories, the class mom does frequently e-mail everyone. If she were to include other contact information in that (or, you know, just a first and last name, thanks to phone number lookups), I still wouldn’t have to go through the teacher to give her a call.

      Or if the teacher handed out a paper at the start of the year with her contact info and the info for the class mom, since the class mom usually takes on the party-planning duties.

      Plenty of situations where the teacher doesn’t have to “let” the parents call the OP.

      I completely agree with condemning the parents who either volunteer and then can’t be bothered to actually communicate, or who don’t volunteer but send stuff anyway with no explanation and then get upset that their nonexistent instructions weren’t followed.

  • Jared Bascomb May 25, 2017, 7:15 pm

    Reading all of this pseudo-drama makes me so glad to be both gay and childless.

    • Dee May 26, 2017, 10:27 am

      That’s funny! I found that having kids could be wonderful but trying to deal with the outside world’s expectations of them was really horrible, a lot of the time. I was so excited to get a break when my kids went off to kindergarten but by the time they were in grade 1 it was so much easier to keep them home. We often had “sick” days because I was so sick of school politics. It did make me wonder why I ever had kids, a lot of the time, but now that we are well-past the school years it’s getting easier to forget all the crap. Love my kids and am glad I made it through with some of my sanity intact.

    • Amanda H. May 26, 2017, 12:23 pm

      Eh, just you wait until the work potluck turns out the same. 😉

  • Gardengirl May 29, 2017, 11:12 am

    I actually think the problems arise because everything is so darn cheap now. We had valentines parties when I was a kid. We decorated boxes, most students brought in valentines, we gave them out, we went home with lots of bought or made valentines. Now my preschooler arrives home with valentines with candy, little bags of plastic crap, candy, tattoos, etc etc etc. We had sent valentines we made, and I thought making them was overachieving. Little did I know “valentines” now means “treat bags ala party favors”.
    So, for her birthday, I thought we’d send flowers, one carnation for each kid. But remembering Valentine’s Day, I then panicked and ALSO sent (dye free peanut free organic as possible) sweet treats. (It Happened To Me! I feared my kid being different and suffering for it!)

    So, I’m going to say, no one is at fault here. The roommother was organizing treats for a party, the non-asked-for-sweets parents were sending “valentine-add-ons” ala pieces of chocolate stuck to a card. No one understood anyone else, everyone blamed the other for not understanding her intentions.

    PS I am a terrible over-provider, as I eat a lot and hate being hungry at parties. So I always provide enough for every person to have a serving of each item. I love when I am told how much of what item to bring, as it curbs my tendency.

  • BagLady May 30, 2017, 12:52 pm

    I’m guessing that cookie mom and new kid’s mom (and their respective kids) were thinking less “party contribution” and more “kid’s thing to give out” — like the valentine cards we passed out to our classmates back in the Dark Ages. That’s why they were upset — this was their passing-out-valentines ritual, and they didn’t get to participate. But OP couldn’t have known that. She saw a bunch of treats — more than were needed — and did what made sense to her. If she’d been told, “These cookies are Suzy’s valentines to give out,” things might have ended differently.

    My old fogy, non-parent self is thinking, “Stop the madness!” Go back to the days when the children exchanged valentine cards with one another, period. If a parent wants to contribute treats, more power to her, but they should be served with the rest of the goodies and not handed out individually by the child. And any parent who brings in treats without consulting the party organizer doesn’t get to complain about what’s done with the surplus.

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