First let me start off by saying that I appreciate all you do, teachers, coaches and scout leaders. Really, I do. By and large, you have all been truly wonderful.
Okay, now that I’ve told you that I appreciate all you do (and I mean it), I’m going to put myself out there and risk being verbally crucified by saying that I’m OVER the gifts I am constantly being pressured to pony up for on your behalf.
When your kids have 7-9 teachers between them, the holiday gifts, teacher appreciation week gifts and end of the year gifts get expensive. I know I live in a nice part of town (in a very small and unimpressive house in a meh neighborhood, mind you) so all you people that plan these gift-giving extravaganzas think I’m made of money but guess what?
I’m a middle class work-at-home mom with a shit ton of bills, two college funds to grow and a retirement account that has NOT been contributed to in over two years and has definitely seen better days.
Then we have the end-of-season coaches gift donations, which are, of course, optional (but we all know they really aren’t because the alternative is to be the jerk that didn’t pitch in). This gift is usually in conjunction with a party that you also have the “option” to donate to…
And then we have the boy scouts/girl scouts…same thing. Lather, rinse, repeat.
So let’s do a little math, shall we? Let’s just say we’re going to give, on the average, $15 per person plus another $15 for each party.
It adds up fast…
And the grand total? FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE DOLLARS!
What I want to know is when do I get a present for all the shit I do?
If you read my previous post, you know I do a LOT. Too much, really.
Where’s my booty?
Ha. I kid.
The fact is, I don’t want gifts.
A simple thank you or a card saying that what I’ve done is appreciated is enough for me. I’m not in it for the stuff and you know what? I don’t think anyone else is, either, which begs the question…
When did saying thank you stop being enough? Why must teachers get Amex gift cards that total in the hundreds for the holidays, teacher appreciation week AND the end of the year?
Now, the folks who volunteer? They don’t get anything and really, I don’t begrudge them a token of appreciation and I don’t have a problem with collecting a couple bucks from every family to cover that but when a gift and end-of-the-year/season party costs each child $20-30? I take issue with that not just for myself but for every family.
You see, despite my grousing, we’re not so bad off that I can’t find the money if need be (even though it would be far more prudent to save it or pay down my credit cards) but I will tell you that there are kids on these squads/teams/troops that DO come from families where money is a real problem, where there just isn’t enough of it every month and I just don’t think it’s right to put that pressure on them.
They paid their registration fees and dues and that’s where it should end because don’t forget that they’re being asked to pay for parties and teachers gifts, too.
Let’s not even mention the money for field trips, fundraisers, yearbooks, banquets, school improvement donations and donations in the form of food, party supplies, craft supplies and classroom supplies.
I know I sound like some kind of scroogy killjoy with a lump of coal for a heart that doesn’t appreciate anyone’s hard work and if I do, then so be it.
The bottom line is that while I deeply appreciate everything you do for my kids, being asked to come up with $500+ a year for gifts and parties laden with throw-away crap from the Oriental Trading Co. (when they’d be fine with an extra hour of play time with some cookies, juice and a few organized games) is unreasonable.
(And if you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. You’re free to politely spout-off in the comments.)