Stepford Mum is in the house. The month of August is the turn of Little A's class to be featured on the school's notice board. A blank patch of wall is decorated in turn, month at a time, by each of the ten classes. More accurately, it is decorated by certain mothers in each of the ten classes.
As I am the only mother who regularly stays at school during Little A's classes, (a few come to drop off and pick up their kids, but most just leave their nannies in charge of the school run) I ended up in charge of this month's decoration. A meeting was held to discuss the theme and how we would execute it, but only three out of twelve mothers turned up.
Wanting to be democratic, we three held a little discussion and then the rest was left in my hands. I sent a letter out to the other parents explaining what was discussed and asking for feedback, assistance and financing for the materials needed to put this grand scheme together.
Running with Scissors
Most of the parents, save one set, sent their "payments" within the next few days. That week, I was busy with my trusty pair of 15-year old, still-sharp scissors as I cut out, one by one, letters to the words "I am the world's greatest," a dozen balloon-shaped sheets for each child's parents to decorate, five sets of colourful party buntings, and, at the last minute painstakingly put together what turned out to be a bonus art activity for the children - little paper "cakes" with their names on to adorn the matching balloons.
Serendipitously, Little A's classroom theme is "Party," and since the shop I run sells gift packaging materials, it was easy to get most of what we needed at great prices. An exhausting round of bookstores and a scrapbooking shop provided the rest of what was needed.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed the work, despite being a total amateur in the crafting department compared to my highly artistic graphic designer of a sister. Putting it all together in one morning, on the other hand, would require more than one set of hands and I really wasn't sure any of the other parents would turn up to take part in this activity. So I recruited the help at hand.
Army of Nannies
On D-Day, I walked into the school with both arms full of bags, dropped off Little A at his classroom, then stood in the middle of the waiting area and called out, "Nannies of the Pink Room!" like a drill sergeant.
They responded immediately, and I set them to work. Anyone who has ever employed a good one will know that a capable nanny is second to mum only because she didn't actually birth or nurse the child she is in charge of (though some mums don't even do the latter.) If there were less-than-capable nannies present, the efficient ones quickly took them in hand.
While I gathered and put together the "cake slices" and balloons, the nanny battalion put the backing paper together, assembled the paper streamers and stuck the balloons on the sides of the sheets. They then assisted me with the placement of the lettering and the balloons and cake slices. We finished in plenty of time, and when Little A's class came out to see it, his teachers were very pleased.
Parents are competitive. Nannies are too. If there was a prize for the best decorated notice board at Little A's school, we'd be a shoo-in for first place. Already, the mothers of the next class to take their turn have asked me to help put their design together. Crafty mum, that's me.