The most recent thorn in my side is my assistant room mother, a woman named Melanie. Technically, Melanie and I share the title of room mother, but I've already secretly demoted her. Don't get me wrong; Melanie is a perfectly nice person. My husband thinks that's part of the problem. In the fifteen total minutes that I've spent with Melanie, I learned that she gets a 25% discount at the local craft store and has been a room mother for six consecutive years. Melanie is also a licensed nurse and gets to wear white clogs and a stethoscope around her neck all day.
Now you can see why I can't work with her. I seethe with jealousy.
On Friday, Melanie and I met with our children's first grade teacher, who told us that we are responsible for the class Halloween party. The party is supposed to last 45 minutes and is to include a costume parade around the school parking lot, a game, a snack, and an age-appropriate craft.
After the meeting was over, I made Melanie a very generous offer: I would take charge of the Halloween party if she would coordinate the Thanksgiving Feast.
Melanie smiled politely and told me that she would rather work on both parties together.
"Are you okay?" Melanie asked a few seconds later.
I lied and told her that my twitch of annoyance was really a facial tic.
"I have a craft idea," I said, ignoring her suggestion that we brainstorm ideas together.
On cue, I produced a toilet paper pumpkin from my bag.
Melanie continued to smile politely but shook her head when I asked her if she wanted to hold the pumpkin.
"That's very nice," she said, "But sadly, I don't think that's a realistic craft for this school," she told me. She went on to point out the fact that we couldn't solicit monetary donations for class parties and that parental response to requests for supplies was spotty at best.
I began to resent having an assistant and wondered if I could fire her.
"You'd better watch it," husband warned, "Or she's going to fire you."
The fear of losing the job and my position of superiority put things in perspective. I instantly shaped up and gave the green light to an exciting and totally unique game called "Pin the Hat on the Witch."
That was Friday. Yesterday at my daughter's soccer game, another room mother from the school asked me what I'm planning to be.
I didn't know what she was talking about until she informed me that all of the room moms traditionally wear costumes to the Halloween parties.
Some good ideas take weeks to germinate before they take root. Others blossom instantly.
"I'm going to be a nurse," I announced.
I told the woman that I would be wearing handmade scrubs made out of fabric purchased with a 25% off coupon from the craft store. I left out the fact that my name badge will read "Head Nurse" and instead of wearing one stethoscope around my neck, I will have two.