Prior to this academic year, I thought that there were certain criteria for being a Room Mom. Specifically, that you needed to be blonde, not tall, have had a previous career in JV cheerleading, be “good at” Pintrest, have the organizational skills of a C.E.O, and perhaps have married someone who enjoys shopping at Michael’s Craft Store on the weekends. Retrospectively, I have to admit that I’m not sure this is a real person.

So you can imagine my surprise when an email with the subject line “Introduction to Room Mom Responsibilities” landed in my inbox. After all, I am brunette, awkwardly tall, a theatre nerd, terrible at Pintrest, always miss my dentist appointments, and my husband likes to shop at the local hardware store. There was no way this missive was intended for me. For a moment, I considered emailing back with something like:

“You must have the wrong person! I got a C in Home Economics!”

But then I remembered, I had actually signed up for this. In the flurry of my son’s first day of school there was a lone sign up that said something about being a Room Mom. There were four empty spots on the list. I really like our son’s teacher, and I wanted to help, so I wrote my name down. Honestly, I thought there would be four of us and that some version of Kristina Braverman would be leading the charge. Nope, turns out I’m Kristina Braverman sans blonde hair and soft speaking voice.

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After this horrifying realization I wanted to back out. I mean, my life is busy. It has got to be busier than everyone else’s, right? Are they all loading the dishwasher, getting kids ready for school, working in offices, keeping a marriage together, and living with baskets of unfolded laundry in their bedrooms? Well, yes. Probably. So there goes that suburban alibi.

And then I thought, “This will just make me cranky. I’ll do it. But I won’t be happy about it. Cue the sad Pre K Owl Class Christmas Party.” That attitude lasted for about a week. And then Stephen Colbert popped me upside the head in his remarkable interview with GQ Magazine:

It’s our choice, whether to hate something in our lives or to love every moment of them, even the parts that bring us pain. “At every moment, we are volunteers.”

So I sat on it for a while. And I thought about how fun it could be to plan parties for a room full of raucous 4 year olds. I know all too well how hard teachers work, and being Room Mom would give me a front seat in offering support and encouragement. Somehow I began to marvel at how lucky I am that my work and home life even allow for me to take on such a role.

And then I shut up. And stopped complaining. And sent out the first Owl Room Mom email complete with a pun that started “Whoot! Whoot!”

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There’s that verse from Thessalonians I often think about/try to ignore when I go into complaining mode:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you.”

Too often in life, I set the bar of expectations so high that I would rather run from the law of perfection than try to give anything my best shot. But the perfection narrative makes me miss out on the joy I’ve been given in Christ. It is not about me living up to some ideal of what I thought Room Mom should be. I volunteered. That part is done. That one’s on me. But the joy I bring? That part has been done in Jesus. So I’m ditching the complaining for openheartedness. And I’m giving up self-pity in lieu of something much more fun.

So, bring on the fingerpaint, y’all, I’m gonna be a Room Mom this year.