The Cult of Biggerality

Why didn’t you people tell me about the overachieving parents at elementary school? Was it a hard lesson you thought I should learn myself? Like how no one tells you your butt will hurt four years after giving birth?


I don’t know, I guess I thought that kindergarten would be more low-key. Like maybe the parents wouldn’t go batshit crazy trying to outperform the other when it came to projects and teacher gifts and valentines. Please dear Lord in his heaven above with the sweet baby Jesus and the Immaculate Mary, do NOT get me started on valentines. I thought a piece of fricken paper with a damn lollipop attached would be sufficient, but apparently some moms and dads need to have professional photos taken of their kids with a personalized valentine’s message and a coupon for See’s candy stapled to each and every one.


What the hell.


Non-crafty, non-independently wealthy, slightly apathetic moms like me are totally screwed.


So I kinda forgot about the valentines debacle, until this past Monday, which kicked off Teacher Appreciation Week. And huh? A week? What happened to a day? I don’t get “San Diego Momma Birthday Week” or “Happy Anniversary Week” or “Thank God My Butt Finally Stopped Hurting Week.” A day. A day should be enough. But no, it’s a week. An entire week of parents trying to outdo each other.


No one told me.

Why did no one tell me?


Fair enough. I suppose I should have put two and two together after some parents gave out the Crown Jewels on Valentine’s Day.




So we started Teacher Appreciation Week on Monday, naturally, with each kid tasked to bring a flower, ONE FLOWER (this is foreshadowing), to put in a vase for the teacher to enjoy. ONE FLOWER. Allow me to hit you over the head with the foreshadowing. Meanwhile, Toots brought a flower. A rose. A beautiful fragrant flower. ONE. But what is this? We get to school and there are bouquets, entire rose gardens, a hot air balloon dropping tulips over the schoolyard. Really parents? You couldn’t just do one flower?




So then it’s Tuesday. Tuesday, our children are asked to bring a piece of whole fruit. Something delicious to put in a basket for the teacher. Toots wants to pick some limes from our tree, and I think that is a wonderful idea, except that probably gardeners just sprayed that tree with DDT, but I let her pick some limes. It’s cute, she’s excited, and I hope her teacher washed the limes first. Meanwhile, I’m sure you know where this is going. Whole Florida orange orchards are given, seeds from the Tree of Souls, coconuts shipped from Gilligan’s Island.


Come on.


So now it’s Wednesday. Today was bring a snack day. The kids were to select INDIVIDUALLY-SIZED packages of pretzels, chips. and sweets to fill the teacher’s snack jar. Screw the foreshadowing. Once again, some parents fucked it up for those of us who didn’t buy stock in Keebler. There goes Toots, bringing her ONE thing, drowning in a sea of hand-delivered Coney Island hot dogs and cotton candy machines. I would not have been surprised to see a truck backing up into the schoolyard delivering a lifetime supply of Lay’s potato chips to the teacher.


People please.




I am way too pissy for this type of one-upmanship.


And someone could have told me about the hemorrhoids.


26 Responses to “The Cult of Biggerality”

  1. Fiona says:

    I’m right there with ya sista! I’ll be thinking and thanking teachers from my past … but A nice word is about all I’ve got planned. I baked some cookies … but I ate them :P

  2. I love it when you make up words. And stories. Except having once lived in that school district, I know that this story is true. Teacher Appreciation Week and the people in your ‘hood take that shit seriously. I neglected to advise you to plan your family colds and influenza attacks to take place during TAW. Friend fail. *hangs head*

  3. kate says:

    you and I are MFEO.


    they suck. those parent-y parent parents. suck.

  4. Don’t let it get to you. It’s annoying, I know!!!! I felt the same way last year. No pressure though. Their teacher appreciates even the smallest of gifts. I think every teacher does. Going BIG isn’t always better. ‘B’ gave her one of her 2 inch ‘little pet shop’ animals, just because…you could tell it meant alot to Mrs. H. That she would give up one of her toys for her. And she adores those handmade cards.

  5. I wanted you guys to say the “F” word today. Thank you. :-)

  6. kate says:

    I know. I would not have ever said the f word on your blog. But you said it first, so I thought it would be okay. And I know that’s not what my wife meant.

  7. De says:

    We’d get along great. As a “room mother” I was asked to coordinate teacher appreciation for our school, and I said, “I can’t do it. I don’t have the energy,” and never looked back.

    (PS. I’m sure my hemorrhoids are bigger than yours.)

  8. Stefanie says:

    Assholes. All of them. They make me break out in hives.

  9. rima says:

    Yikes. We don’t get that in Cleveland.

  10. Renae says:

    Of course I had to read when you said, “not for non-sweary” types. LOL! You know, it doesn’t end in Kinder. School projects are the very worst! Overachieving parents shine here. We ALL know Johnny didn’t do that re-creation of the Eiffel tower, but that don’t stop Daddy. Apparently, he’s got something to prove. Just wait till next yr…and don’t say I didn’t warn you! BTW, where are all the assholes when I’m stapling homework packets and cutting out 24 butterfly projects? I’M the one that needs appreciating! The last, lone volunteer left.

  11. I am laughing SO hard right now because I’m PTA president and I volunteered to bring A dip to pass for the spread in the teacher’s lounge. That was all. No handmade card, no homemade banana bread, no gift card to B&N to go with it. Just the damn dip.
    I just despise those moms who make us all look so bad–kiss-asses is what they are.

  12. Trish says:

    We didn’t bother telling you, because we knew you wouldn’t give a sh*t. These parents are idiots with nothing better to do. Also? They are EXTREMELY insecure. You did the right thing. You know how to follow instructions. Yay for you! Screw them! And their cocoanuts and rose gardens.

  13. Mich says:

    Girl, freakin’ hilarious.

  14. Kelly says:

    Aargh! Yes, I just lived through it, too. I was myself a huge slacker on it this year…I just. Couldn’t. We brought in the fresh-cut flower. I did not, however, volunteer to get up early and bring in a Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte, as per room mom request for all 5 mornings. We can barely make it before the bell rings, as it is.

  15. Susan Payton says:

    I know exactly what you mean! I’m trying to figure out where all these first-time parents of Kindergarteners like myself figured out what you’re supposed to do for school. No prior history of planning for these events. I feel like I didn’t get the manual.
    Great meeting you last night!

  16. Andrea says:

    Hilarious! Dying over here after reading this. Teacher Appreciation week is sometime this month at our school. We don’t have this problem in our culturally rich/diverse school (Thank God!) but lived through this B.S. from our last school in O.C. (the land of one upping.) Love your blog…already hooked!

  17. Birdrockfab says:

    We just experienced this last week. My husband was even nervous, “remember last year when we were tricked into believing one flower was enough, and get a bouquet!”

  18. Judy says:

    “Non-crafty, non-independently wealthy, slightly apathetic moms like me are totally screwed.”

    There is a silver lining for me. Since my brilliant son failed to test into the magnet schools I now will compete with parents from the “hood” so I don’t think I’ll have to deal with comparing my “what can I get from the $1 at Target?” gifts to whole orange orchards. Kindergarden here we come!

  19. MomZombie says:

    The longer my oldest was in school, the less involved I became, mostly because of this type of thing. The last straw was the mom who baked individual kid-sized cakes for each student in the class, then brought in frosting and candy decor so that each kid could decorate his or her own cake. This was part of a program where a parent brings in a book to read to the class and a snack related to the story. I brought Pepperidge Farm goldfish for “Rainbow Fish.” How lame compared to a frickin personalized frickin cake.
    I refuse to play this crazy one-upmanship crap. This is not what education is about.

  20. Natalie says:

    Oh my, so wrong. Teachers get the whole summer off, isn’t that appreciation enough?

  21. blognut says:

    I’m right with you, Deb. I refuse to try and compete with that stuff.

    Mercifully, The Boy refused to even bother with it this year because 4th grade boys are cool like that… and because he can’t stand his teacher most of the time… and neither can I. :)

  22. […] adjunct to last week’s post is that Toots had a jellyfish report due today. An oral report. Of facts she had to memorize. […]

  23. Just got the e-mail for teacher appreciation week, and thought of you ;). Deb just don’t take this too seriously. Your family gets to decide how to honor your child’s teacher and whatever you do will be greatly appreciated.

    The best gift I ever got from my students was a single rose and a heart felt not written by a six year old saying that he loved me and would miss me. I still get happy/sad thinking about him.

    So hang in there. In the midst of all that priveledge and overachieving you will raise a sweet grounded kid. Trust me.

  24. Da Goddess says:

    Welcome to my reality. We went through this with Little Dude’s teachers and friends every year. There was only one other family who struggled with their budget like we did. Ugh.

    And you know what gets me? The people who have to outdo everyone else don’t seem to understand that it’s absolute stupidity to keep up that pace to impress. Teachers don’t like their children “more” because of the gifts.


  25. James Thompson says:

    One cool way a local company is recognizing teacher appreciation day:

  26. Christina says:

    I am literally rolling in the floor laughing my rear off!! What is wrong with these parents?? Don’t they have anything better to do?? My daughter is on the junior high basketball team and one mom goes to practice every single day AND to all the summer camps. For the camps, she sits in a hot, stinky gym for the entire 8 hours. Who can or WANTS to compete with that. I’m with you on this one!

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