Yes, working moms can be room parents, too. But somehow the assumption seems to be that stay-at-home parents, by default, make the best room parents. Sure, we're home practically all day, we likely have more “free time” than working parents, and, well, we have kids in the class. For most teachers, that's the triple crown of room parenting. But do stay-at-home parents really make the best room parents?
A few things for stay-at-home parents to consider before agreeing to become a room parent:
It's Hard to Say No
Well, yeah, I'm hope from 1pm to 3pm each day while my younger child naps. And of course I know how to use scissors and a glue stick. So can help make 32 paper doll chains and glue each one to a piece of poster board so each family in my son's class can create a personalized family tree during Parents Day on Friday? Sure, I'd love to.
Actually, I wouldn't love to. In fact, I wouldn't even like to. But as a stay-at-home parent, it's hard to say no. Most days I do actually get dressed, run errands, meet with friends, attend play dates, go grocery shopping, make dinner, do laundry, and engage in other activities that pretty much keep me busy from morning to night. This includes spending time each day working with my younger son on school readiness activities, so he'll be ready to start kindergarten when his turn comes next year. But, since none of these activities are paying gigs where I'm contractually required to be at a certain location for specified hours each day lest I risk getting fired, it's clear to everyone (including my son's teachers) that I could, if needed, move a few things around and find an extra few hours to pitch in and help with something. So even when it's not super convenient to help out, the fact that everyone assumes I have the time to pitch it makes it extremely hard for me to say no.
You'll Likely Become The On-Call Room Parent
As a stay-at-home parent, you are likely going to be at the top of the teacher's list of people to call if a last minute emergency arises. (Orange juice! How did no one bring orange juice the morning of Parents' Day? Someone needs to run out and get 4 cartons of it right now!) First, she knows there's a good chance you'll be home when she calls. Second, she has your cell phone number. So even if you're not at home, she knows she'll likely be able to reach you when she calls and, hey, since you're out anyway, would you mind picking up some orange juice and dropping it off at the cafeteria sometime before 3pm?