Aug. 15, 2013 at 8:18 AM ET
Celebrity gossip sites buzzed last spring as Jennifer Lopez shopped elite private schools for her 5-year-old twins, Max and Emme. TMZ reported that the megastar was considering the prestigious Buckley school and many headlines screamed surprise at the $33,000 annual tuition per child.
Whichever school Lopez decides is best for her new kindergarteners, we think she’d make a fantastic room mom. Here are a few words of wisdom from the trenches, for JLo and every other mom volunteer, too.
Keep it simple
Some moms make things more difficult than they have to be. Don’t be that mom. Save yourself hours of angst by remembering that every childhood moment does not have to be a very special memory. The Thanksgiving program is not a star-studded multi-media extravaganza. It’s kids on bleachers singing songs about turkeys. No sequins required. When you need inspiration, hit Pinterest for endless ideas and step-by-step instructions. Just don’t fall prey to the overachiever’s latest affliction, Pinterest stress!
Include working moms
Working moms want to help. Even hyper-multi-tasking triple threat JLo can rock the cupcakes for the class party! The Corporation for National and Community Service found that compared with all parents of school-aged children, working mothers volunteer most. Just remember when scheduling fall carnival committee meetings that not all parents have personal assistants to attend in their stead. Make it easy on all working parents by using an online organizer like VolunteerSpot sign-up sheets, which can be accessed 24/7 by anyone, anywhere, by phone or computer.
Be a team player
PTA moms can be kind, inclusive, and amazingly supportive. They can also be as vicious as a tabloid. Offer support and be clear about when and how you can and cannot pitch in. Big meeting at work? In-laws coming into town? International concert tour? Even as the room mom, you are not expected to do it all, all the time. When you include everyone who expresses interest and put other parents in the spotlight, they’ll get your back when you can’t help out. (Also helpful, JLo, don’t wear that green Versace, unless you want to get blacklisted from the PTA.
Beware the drama
Anyone who can handle Simon Cowell on a bad hair day can rock the world of school volunteering. Newcomers to school volunteering need only watch a few episodes of "Dance Moms" to get an idea of drama that can erupt when moms compete. Room moms sometimes end up in the middle of disputes over fundraisers, school policy, and what gets served at the Valentine's party. If you find yourself embroiled in an afterschool spat, just dance the night away. Forget the drama, live your life and stay young on the dance floor!
Are you room mom material, or do you hide when the clipboard is passed? Tell us on the TODAY Moms Facebook page.
Lela Davidson is the author of Blacklisted from the PTA, and Who Peed on My Yoga Mat? Her thoughts on marriage, motherhood, and life after 40 have appeared in hundreds of magazines, websites, and anthologies.