Mom Confession: I Hate School Carnivals

goldfish2I’m almost positive this is going to get me kicked out of the elementary school PTA, but I have a confession to make: I hate school carnivals.

I try to be one of those moms who seem to look forward to it. For years I donned my little mommy ballcap and stood in line for pre-weekend carnival tickets. I talk to the other moms and pretend this is going to be really, really fun. But I’ve never, ever, ever had a good experience with the school carnival, and I think I’m done pretending.

Maybe it’s the sticky sidewalks. Maybe it’s the possibility of clowns being there. Maybe it’s the terrible combination of over-the-top joy with the sudden devastation when your little ring doesn’t quite go around the milk bottle. I don’t know what it is. I just know they sort of depress me.

It doesn’t help that the elementary school carnival is always plagued with terrible end-of-the-school-year weather: it’s either 102 degrees outside or strangely raining. I swear I’ve been to both. The year it was 102 degrees I actually tried to work the carnival with my 4th grader (see? I try!). All I remember is turning bright red in a no-canopy throw-the-ping-pong-ball-in-the-goldfish-bowl booth while my son got sick on cotton candy and cried because he lost a whole row of tickets behind some chain-link fence. The year it rained I remember we stood in an hour-long line to see the talent show (which, okay, was actually quite good!) but then we begged my daughter to go home afterward because most of the booths had to close up, and the baked-goods booth was getting soggy.

It’s just never a good thing.

What about you? Do you like school carnivals? Or do you have a different guilty mom admission — one of those things that all other parents seem to like that you don’t — that you’re worried might get you kicked out of the PTA?

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0 thoughts on “Mom Confession: I Hate School Carnivals

  1. Ummm.. Laurie — I drank a margarita at 3:30 p.m. BEFORE I worked at our carnival this year, just so I deal with it.

    You need to take up drinking!! 🙂

  2. I have to admit, outside of working in my children’s classrooms (which I loved) I never volunteered for a single event for the school. I know, I know – bad mommy.

    Somehow, the guilt just never caught up. 😉

  3. Grace — Oh my gosh, why didn’t I think of that??? Yeah, they may only offer churros and cotton candy AT the carnival, but who says we can’t have a quick margarita BEFORE we get there?!?! Nice. …

    Jeanne — Yes, selecting which activity you want to help with is a bit like Russian Roulette, huh? [Hmmm … should I try Library Volunteer this year? Bake Sale captain? Bingo chair???] I think I just need to steer clear of the carnival thing and pick something I enjoy, like working in the classroom.

    Thanks for not making me feel like a terrible mommy, girls! : )

  4. I was a PTA president for one year in my daughter’s MIDDLE SCHOOL. Yikes. I still can’t believe that one. I appreciated each and every sucker, I mean,volunteer. I could never figure why on earth they did it. I mean, I know I’m nuts. So bonus points to you for hanging in there and if you never volunteer again, you can do so guilt free. (I understand I get parole from PTA prison soon.) I am totally with Grace only I would do a Jack and Diet Coke. TGIF because now I’m having back to school flashbacks.

  5. Ha, ha, Kat — I laughed out loud at “I understand I get parole from PTA prison soon.” Perfect. Yes, volunteering for middle school is especially wild. Because for elementary school, you can at least feel thrilled by that little grin your 2nd grader gives you when he sees you come to the school to help. But junior high??? Not so much. By then, even they’re not thrilled for you to be there. …

    Volunteering moms rock.

  6. Grace, I haven’t thought of that for the school function yet, but I have to confess to a shot or two before heading off to sports function where the coach may not have utilized my child to his full potential. Just enough to help me not think about yelling at said coach and embarrassing my son…and my wife…and my daughter…ok, and my other son. But thank you as I am now looking forward to the carnival next year!!!!

  7. Yes, I think with some of these suggestions, I’m actually looking forward to the carnival now, too! Chris and I will be the drunk ones by the mini-golf booth … 😉

  8. Even though I home school the younger ones the 16yo is at school and in band. The evil, evil band is it’s very own PTA. I tried to be THAT mom too. I tried to help run the concession stands at ball games. HATED IT! People bump all into you, you get food on you, people are yelling and screaming gah.

    But there are also other reasons I don’t want to try to be that mom anymore. I have a mac, I stay at home, good on computer, good on phone, I practically offered myself up on a platter to them. They said they’d never been more organized and yet they didn’t use anything of the stuff I made for them. They were so disorganized and god forbid they take good advice from someone who hasn’t been there the last five years or so. And then they complain about it ALL the time.

    So I can’t be THAT mom for two reasons. People aggravate me and stupidity aggravates me even more. lol

  9. Crystal — Ah, yes. There are a lot of politics that can go on in PTAs, making the experience very unpleasant. Sometimes it feels like you’re in high school again yourself, with the “popular moms” and the “loudmouth moms” and the ones who always get their way. Crazy stuff, PTA can be.

    And the snack stand volunteer — omg, that’s a good one! I know a lot of moms volunteer for snack stand at some point, but I’ve yet to hear a great time had by all. … Maybe my sis-in-law. I’ll have to ask her. …

  10. i got to say, that hurts a little but i cant blame you. taking nathan to his carnival wasnt exactly a cake walk (even though they had a “cake wlak” there)

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