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Stupid, Minor Complaint

January 15th, 2017 at 10:37 pm

OK, this is not even that big of a deal, but I just want to get it off my chest...

So... the holiday season is over, and we did pretty well. But with presents and teacher gifts and all of that, it is definitely something you have to manage. Now that it's January, I would think that we can relax a little bit because there aren't so many parties and events and things... but NO!

#1 - F had testing last week, and there was a sign up for a "treat" and a "healthy snack" each day. I just hung back and didn't sign up, because I am always the one who signs up for everything, and I thought "let a parent who never signs up bring something." After all, economically almost every other family in the class is more well-off than we are. On Monday the PA Pres came up to me and said "We have gaps! Please sign up!!!" I sighed and told her to tell me what to bring and I'd sign up for it... so it was yogurt smoothies from Trader Joes. About $20 worth. Not a huge thing, but puts a strain on our grocery budget. Actually I budgeted it toward school supplies in the end.

#2 - Love Lunch for Valentine's day. I have a lot of work right now, so I told F to please sign us up for something EASY and NOT EXPENSIVE.

#3 - 6th grade is raising money to build a treehouse as their legacy for the school, and I am helping them with the design, and helping build it. But I still have to make 24 pumpkin muffins for the bake sale on Thursday! Ack!

#4 - The 6th Grade Ski Trip just after Valentine's day - oh my. My child doesn't downhill ski. Another friend of hers doesn't either. I told the teacher I'd take the two girls snowshoeing or something like that, and bring them to the Lodge for lunch with the rest of the class. She said "Or you could get her some private lessons before the trip." OK, so let's say we had the money for private lessons (!!!! We don't!!) - she still wouldn't be at the skill level of the other kids, so she'd be alone on the bunny hill anyway, not with her friends. Would rather have her be with her friend L who also doesn't downhill. F is a VERY good x-c skier, and she loves it; L might want to try that with us instead of snowshoe. But why this exclusionary trip? And why the expectation of parental spending on lessons?

$5 - My good friend L called me in a panic because next week is Harry Potter week at her daughter's school. Harry Potter week? Huh? Anyway, she's a single mom, and she just spent all sorts of money at Christmas, and she doesn't have the means to buy a Hermione costume. She asked if we had one (F went as Hermione a couple of years ago, but it was cobbled together from my old graduation gown, a tie of D's, an old tartan skirt I had in high school, a Hogwarts badge printed from the internet). My child was fine with that, and likes to make her own costumes, but I thought of my other friend whose daughter was Hermione a few years ago, and asked her if my friend L could borrow the (store-bought) costume. She said of course! I love my friends! So they are coordinating today.

Please, schools, have some compassion. Not everyone has the means to partake in these activities that cost money! Not everyone wants to! Maybe the activities could be more experience-based (crazy hair/pajama day or something)? Maybe they could be spread out more... Maybe we could have January off?

The good news is, we have enough that this isn't a huge problem, and I have wonderful friends who are kind enough to help out another friend they don't even know.

10 Responses to “Stupid, Minor Complaint”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I completely understand. I suppose many people suck it up and put the expenses on a credit card. Frown

  2. Bluebird Says:

    The ski thing is crazy! I completely agree with you, and good for you for suggesting something that fits for you, don't worry about everyone else! We had a similar situation with the all day testing last year...PTO wanted full size water botttles supplied for each student, parent volunteers of course, but why? I send a 24 oz reusable stainless steel bottle washed daily with filtered water with my boys every day to school, in addition to their lunch water bottle. I thought every parent did this (?). I don't understand why it was needed, each parent should have been told to send in a water bottle. One parent brought it up and the PTO response was "well I don't know, it was requested (by whom?) so they need to be supplied". I certainly don't mind supplying items for parties, but that is ridiculous.

  3. Carol Says:

    Hi,
    It's not a bad thing to get a conversation started in a school about managing expectations about affordability. Even in the most well off private schools, some kids are not ( well-off). I taught in a private school and we slowly learned this. I consider that a good thing -- especially for well-off kids to learn empathy.
    It's hard for the less well off to bring this up, but it still might be a good idea.
    And this probably may not true at your school, but it was eye opening for me to learn that one of my richest kids didn't always have milk in the house to drink.

  4. snafu Says:

    I hope you'll be as pleasantly assertive as needed to confirm that F will be going X skiing perspective, money is not the true issue. It's possibly higher rated for you only because you have a specific financial target [mortgage project] at the moment.

  5. snafu Says:

    contractions on this MacAir has me !@#$%$#@!

    I was trying to say, from a stranger's perception it's not really about money. You are possibly more sensitive in that constraint because you are focussed on a particular enjoy that and joing the rest of the group at the lodge at x o'clock.

    Given you volunteering a special skill set for the Treehouse project, you can ask to be released from the bake sale brigade as well.

  6. Amber Says:

    Though I do not have children, but I do belong to a sorority so I completely understand. Every week we are spending money 😩. I think it was really nice of your friend to lend you the costume.

  7. Wife of the Deacon Says:


    As the mother of the largish family whose kids attend(ed) private schools and rely on financial aid and scholarships, I can say it sucks. The nickel and diming is awful, especially at the grade school level.

    Today's event: There is a class project that a crafty mother put together involving individual contributions from each student. Its up for auction at a gala event that I don't attend (at $60 per person not including drinks, that's not happening). I asked if it was possible to pay to get a copy of my son's contribution. I was told that if I wanted it, I could bid on the project (that's fine, I get it) and bids were up to $1,350. I had to say that we're still paying down major medical debt from DH's cancer last February. That shut the convo down real fast, but still ...

  8. LuckyRobin Says:

    School sure has changed since my kids were in it. They weren't even allowed to read Harry Potter at school at that age. I think you need to practice saying "We can't afford that," with no apology and no embarrassment. Sometimes teachers and schools just need to be brought up hard in the face of economic reality. Whenever I would say that I would always have half a dozen to a dozen other parents who would chime in in agreement. Another one I would say is, "Only if the school is paying for it."

  9. fern Says:

    Can't you just say no? Or say something like: I'm sorry, I have other financial commitments this month. And just because someone suggests private ski lessons, it doesn't mean you have to consider it, or even take it seriously. Make decisions based on what's best for you and your household.

  10. Buendia Says:

    Thanks for all of the excellent comments, everyone! When the teacher first brought up private lessons I instantly told her no way. She was sort of understanding. She is a single mom with a daughter the same age as mine. Her daughter goes to a different school (public) and she prioritizes skiing. I told her F has other interests.

    I agree this isn't completely financial (although ski lessons would be out of our means). I told F if she wanted, on the day of the school trip, she could have a private lesson with my close friend H (who used to be my boyfriend a long time ago); he wouldn't charge us, and she knows him really well. So that's still an option. Bet he'd take both her and her friend L.

    Since it really is about the insensitivity at the school, I feel like it would be a good idea as some of you suggested, to have a talk with the administration. There is a teacher/administrator (second in charge) who's been there for about 2 or 3 years and he's amazing - he gives so much extra time to the school, helping organize the basketball teams and being in charge of all of the school's technology. He also coaches the swim team. He's a really nice person, and I think he may be the one to bring this up to... he can take the comment back to one of the staff/teacher meetings.

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