Growing up, both of my parents had demanding jobs, though my mom took a few years off to raise the three of us kids before going back to work full-time. While I know that’s certainly not doable for everyone – myself included! – having my mother step up to be the classroom mom every year was an especially rewarding experience.
Back in 1997, when big ’90s hair was still in style, oversize sweaters were a must, and mom jeans were the only jeans, my mom – a small brunette woman – volunteered for every single school activity on the calendar at my Catholic elementary school.
One year, my mom showed up frazzled with a ton to get done for my classroom’s craft Christmas fair. She ran around like a crazy person, scrambling to get all the crafts on the proper tables in preparation for the annual Christmas store. Even at age 5, I could tell she was stressed out by the responsibility. But I was proud to see her working so hard. It showed that she cared about all the students’ experience, not just mine. I also felt so fortunate to spend a little more time with her than usual on those days.
I have a feeling sharing those memories with my little ones will be something I’ll never forget.
And it wasn’t just this singular event. She attended every Valentine’s Day party with themed cupcakes in hand, read books to my class every time Sister Gerry invited her in for an hour, and even brought my beloved cat Prince Charming to show-and-tell one time.
Looking back, I truly have no idea how she gave so much time to regular school events. Although she didn’t have a traditional office job, she still had to raise my two younger siblings during the day. Even after they were old enough for her to go back to work, she still managed to show up to my school activities fairly regularly!
In some schools the PTA – or in my mom’s case, the group of class moms – can have the reputation of being a little cliquey. This was certainly true at my school. And while my mother has never been a person to shy away from confrontation, it never got in the way of her showing up for me.
Though I don’t have children yet, I look to my mom as an example of what it means to do it all. Even if I won’t be at every single class activity or field trip like my mom was, I’m going to shoot for as many as humanly possible. I have a feeling sharing those memories with my little ones will be something I’ll never forget.