My Costanza Moment

A few months ago, I volunteered to be “Class Parent” at Em’s school. I figured, I’m not busy enough making candy, going to culinary school, and being a pregnant mother. I needed to add something to my schedule. But what?


So, I volunteered for the job. And for the most part things have been going just fine. (Plus, I get to pawn off my homework onto the kids and make it seem like I’m the BEST CLASS PARENT EVER! Because, what kid doesn’t like cake, cookies and croissants?)

Then the holidays rolled around, and I got the bright idea of arranging a group gift for all three of Em’s teachers. We (Toby and I) figured 20 bucks from each family meant each teacher would get 100 bucks. We thought 20 was a decent amount—not too much, not too little. I sent out an email saying, “Let’s do this! I’ll buy three cards and have an envelop waiting in Em’s cubby at school. Sign and drop off cash. Interested?”

What teacher doesn’t like cash?

The first response I received was positive. Something along the lines of: “YES!! Sounds great. That’s one less thing I have to deal with!”


Then the second one came in. It read: “This is very nice of you! But, listen, [insert daughter’s name] has been going to this school for 3 years, and while group gifts are nice and all, this year I’m opting out. One teacher likes my daughter’s lunchbox, so we’re going to give her that. The other teachers are getting the equivalent in cash. But thanks for the offer! We’re out.”

So yeah. The second response? Not so good.

“Is it too little?” I asked Toby. “Maybe it’s too little. Maybe I should have suggested 30? Or 50! What if they all think this is stupid?”

He told me to stop being an idiot and wait to hear from the others. He then said something like, “There’s always gonna be one person who fucks shit up.” And I calmed down a bit.

By the following day, every other family had responded and everyone thought it was a fine idea. I decided that we would cover that family’s 20 bucks. It’s worth it, after all. We love Em’s teachers.

So yesterday, I gathered everything together, got some C notes and began to finish off the card. That’s when I had a Constanza moment.

Wait! The teachers won’t necessarily know that there was one family that opted out of the group gift. They won’t know I covered her non-conforming ass. OMG, I need to let them know this!

“From everyone but So-and-So’s mom. Because So-and-So’s mom is kind of bitchy and had to go and fuck shit up.”

How’s that for holiday spirit?



  1. Maybe worst class parent, but best blog entry I’ve read today by a landslide! :)


  2. There’s always that one family that effs up the fun for everyone else.

    Nice going Bitchy McBitchface, but hurray for Class Parent Mihow saving the day!


  3. LOVED THE BLOG!!! Made me laugh out loud. Happy Festivus!


  4. This is sort of different, but when I worked as a camp counselor there were always some families that tipped and some that didn’t. And that was fine. But then there were always one or two that gave some bizarre gift and acted like it was just as good as cash. I really feel for that one teacher who is going to get that lunch box.


  5. They’re giving her a “lunchbox”?! Really? for the record, as a former teacher, cash is always more appreciated than crap. I think it’s totally fine to sign the names of everyone who contributed and leave the hold out parent out. You’re not being bitchy.


  6. Personally, I’m glad you didn’t ask for more than $20; I think that sounds like a lot (especially for parents with multiple kids in school).
    I agree that it’s fine to leave the name off of the parent who didn’t contribute, since they have said they are giving a different gift. If they couldn’t afford it and weren’t going to give a gift at all I might reconsider (it would be nice to include them because they WOULD have given if they had the cash), but in this case the teacher might think that family both contributed to the group gift AND gave the separate gift, which isn’t true.


  7. Oh, believe me you, given what we pay to have our kids go to school there, there is no way these folks can’t donate 20 bucks to the teachers.

    I didn’t feel badly for asking for 20 bucks. It’s definitely a doable amount for every family at that school.


  8. You can totally write the names of the parents who contributed on the card without any worries. I don’t think that is being rude at all.


  9. Maybe it’s a Charles in Charge lunchbox?

    (I can’t be the only Family Guy watcher on here)


  10. AWESOME. If I were the teacher, I’d love that other parents knew who decided the lunch box was a good idea. Lunch box or cash. Underpaid teacher? Well, I guess the lunch box will come in handy.


  11. I have never heard of giving teachers cash before. I’ll mention it to my teacher friends so they know what to push for ;) I think most of them get token gifts from the kids. The odd family or two goes for a massage cert or something else. Most seem to give a candle or a soap or what have you.
    You never know, maybe that lady had bad experiences with the group gift in the past? I agree though, that since she was clear she wanted to opt out, not that she couldn’t pay, and that she will be giving an alternate gift, it is fine to list the families that are involved in your gift idea.


  12. The families who donated have signed each card. SO, if the teachers feel like going blind and reading over it all, they can figure it out.

    I am not going to list anything. It’s fine. This was really just meant to be a joke.

    I’ve seen this done this in the past at this very school and it worked out well, which is why I suggested it this time around.

    And apparently cash is pretty common here. Not sure why!


  13. I’m a class parent, too. We don’t usually organize Christmas gifts, leaving it to each family, but I was just thinking the same thing (at the moment, it’s the kids’ holiday party that needs planning). It was a good idea to volunteer, although I now have final exams to grade, end of the semester grades to submit, holiday events, and that little matter of my own dissertation to attend to.

    Life is always hectic, but I believe in being involved. It’s good that you are.

    Personally, I like when the amount is left up to each family (although $20 is a reasonable amount). We just pooled money that way for my child’s activity coordinator. Keep up the good work!


  14. This is awesome.

    I think Toby and I need to get together for drinks. The man brain works very differently from the woman brain. :-)


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