So let's talk for a moment about "appreciation". This week is "Teacher Appreciation Week" at school. What does that mean? Basically it means that every day of the week (yes at our PreSchool it is all 5 days, not just once during the week) is earmarked for some sort of gift for my children's many teachers.
Now, let me pause here for a moment and say that I value and appreciate every single one of the teachers that care and teach my children. They are saints, no doubt about it. I couldn't be a functional working mom without them - and for that, I am forever indebted. Honestly, I feel I should buy them all a Wine of The Month Club subscription, because if I were them - I would go home nightly and throw back a couple bottles.
That being said, the structured and silently mandatory week full of gift giving is freaking unbelivable. Basically, every day of the week is earmarked for a diffrent gift. Monday=Flowers, Tuesday=Relax (aka spa/bath items), Wednesday=Sweets, Thursday=Personal Note, Friday=gift. Yes, because apparently everything you take Monday through Thursday is not a gift - they have to tack on a Friday gift day which is a suggested mug or gift card.
Now, if my kids each had one teacher, that would be a piece of cake. BUT NO! Each kid has at least 3 teachers. So basically, teacher appreciation week is five days of gifts for 7 teachers!! That shit adds up quick! Let's do the math for a minute.
Monday - Flowers: $20 - Well, you can either buy 7 Sunflowers for like $3 a piece, or buy the dozen flowers for $20. I opted for $20 - looks better taking two flowers anyway.
Tuesday - Relax: $35 + $10 Have you ever tried to buy 7 bars of gift soap - it's ridonculous. I have opted to buy a 24 variety pack of bath bombs that I will repackage into candy bags and gift accordingly. Of course, it won't come out even, so one class room the teachers will get 2 each and the other the teachers will get 3 each. I haven't decided which is which - I am going to see who pisses me off more this week and give them the dime bags.
Wednesday - Sweets: $30 Ya, so what am I going to do, buy them each a candy bar - no. Women are as particular about their candy bars as they are their tampons - you just don't buy those generically for each other - it's weird. So, since we are out of Valentines and Easter season, when you could purchase little cheap boxes of Whitmans, I opted for the favor box full of Hershey's kisses. But again, you need to buy like at least a dozen boxes, and then a bulk bag of kisses...assembly is required...bastards.
Thursday - Personal Note $Priceless - it's like 30 minutes of my life while I dicate every letter to my 5 year old so she can write a personal note to three teachers. The Infant Room teachers for my one year old will be getting a very generic thank you from me.
Friday - Gift: $70. Ok, so again...the whole fucking week has been gifts - but wait! There's more! So, when you think about giving $10, that is all fine on a teacher by teacher basis, but when you have 7 to buy for, that shit adds up to $70! I mean, that's like half a cell phone bill. My ass is cheap - it kills me every time.
So grand total = over $160 cash, and then all the time it takes to organize and put this shit together. You can't exactly walk into the room and start throwing bath bombs and kisses at them. They need packagiang and transport.
So here's where it gets worse. Not only is there a silent requirement to give gifts all week, but then you have the pressure of what other moms are going to give. Now, I personally don't really give a shit about that noise - fuck what the other moms think. But for some of my friends, namely Overachiever and PinterestQueen, that struggle is real. They stalk Pinterest and figure out the best presentation of the gifts, and then put in countless hours creating the best gifts in the room. I mean, at the end, they are magnificent - no doubt about it - thoughtful and lovely, but seriously, for them, it must be maddening! The pressure to be as good if not better than the other gifts being dropped in the room is friggen outrageous. Honestly, when all is said and done, the idea of the appreciation is lost in all the pressure to just do it well.
What we need to get back to is the spirit of the week - appreciating the men and women that care for our young all day, most days of the week. We need to drop the pressure, and the drama one week out of the year and simply just say "Thank You" every day. While giving gifts is a great gesture, let's teach our children that you don't have to have an occasion to give thanks - you just should at any time. And we as parents need to fess up to the fact that we SUCK at appreciation on a daily basis. We need to step up and be kinder to the people out there raising our kids. And that isn't through flowers and bath bombs and notes and giftcards - it's simply through every day kindness. That is what appreciation should be about.
Foul mouthed, outspoken and pretty much an eternal realist.