by Andy Mayer
All you expat mumma’s know the drill. You rock up to school and BAM.( not an acroynm) The head of the PTA, PTG ABCDEFG or some random/ kinda sorta not really a teacher /employee says “You would make a great homeroom parent” and before you have time to check for the fire escape, the fire alarm or pray that your phone will ring you have been labelled, branded and handed the task .
So the point of this little rant is to let you know I had a friend point her finger at me (no longer a friend) whilst chatting to some other mothers at school. Unfortunatley I had a massive hangover at the time and was feeling pretty shabby and my defence system was offline. They pounced on me with both barrels. Are you free next week? I was dead in the water ( or woda as Aussies tend to say) before I could press the firealarm, run or say NO they got me. I actually had no idea what they were going to ask me but that desire to flee was immense. (See FitExpat)
Needless to say I am officially the homeroom parent for class 3B.
I assumed that the role would mean reading with the children once a week. I especially love reading with the non English speakers. Bless their hearts because The Very Hungry Caterpiller takes 10 mins to read and off you go done and dusted. It’s not like when the smarty pants readers read entire boring novels to you.
Anyway I assumed the best. Maybe I would be a chaperone on a couple of field trips, meet some cool mums who like Gin,get a heads up on the latest gossip at school or my son might get an extra grade or 2 because I am a suck!
Boy was I wrong. I barked up the wrong camel post.
It is a thankless task.
There are 3 class parties ( Christmas, something else and end of year) to arrange, decorate and pay for ( gulp) those rich little Emirati’s better get used to the idea of Andy’s home catering ‘coz it’s Fairy Bread and popcorn for my parties . It’s all Sheik n Bake where I come from. The matter of interior design is also an issue as crafting is not my forte I confess if the job can’t be done with some sticky tape and some balloons I am not the right person for the job!
I had to collect $$ from parents who already feel jibbed about the whole BYO computer program the school implemented and the dollars they shell out for after school activities, bus fares, school lunches and birthday parties. It was like pulling teeth from a spitting cobra. then there was the class rivalry, who had the best decorations, the most effort and of course collaboration.
I didn’t meet any Gin drinkers because most parents avoid me like the plague probably worried I might ask something of them.Either that or they think i am a Hobo. My son says I dress like one.
Ok truthfully, I delegated. That’s what I do best. I roped in a really nice mum called Pia who is kind and normal. She collected heaps of $ and kept it in a neat little envelope with all the parents names.
Next was the gift purchasing for the teacher, WTF? Yes I had to spend a couple of hundred bucks on the teacher who had been our teacher for a measly 3 months! ahh Christams in an Islamic country. Anyway we got him a great tie, some camel milk chocolates a book and something obscure but cheap. I wanted to give him beer but
a) beer is expensive
b) we don’t have an alcohol license so have to buy at duty free or call the man in the van with the black plastic bags full of booze who delivers late at night under the cover of moonlight.
c) taking beer to school is frowned upon
Too much hard work, so I got him a fluorescent pen instead.
So there are 2 more parties still to go apparently and I have to arrange catering and buy more gifts for the teacher . I won’t be making Fairy bread again it didn’t get eaten. Delegate Delegate Delegate Om Shanti is my new mantra.
Actually I need to fess up. I TRIED TO QUIT. I sent the head of the PTA/PTG (whatever the lady with the perfect hair) an email saying I was not cut out for the job. I am terrible at group emails and no good with money. She said I needed to find a replacement.
Bad homeroom parent