Being a class mom can be tough and thankless but it shouldn’t be humorless, according to Laurie Gelman.
The New York City-based writer and mother of two used real-life experience as fodder for her hilarious book “Class Mom,” which came out in paperback this summer.
The story centers on Jen Dixon, former rock groupie and mom of three as she tries to inject some fun into her volunteer gig as class mom. The pages are peppered with her sardonic emails designed to grab the attention of disinterested parents.
Gelman (who is married to “Live with Kelly and Ryan” executive producer Michael Gelman) spoke with amNewYork about what it was like getting “fired” after five years as a class mom and why parents should stay involved in the classroom.
Why did you decide to write this book?
I wasn’t intending to. I was writing a children’s book and things were happening in my class mom life including I got fired as class mom. I thought, “There’s a book there!” Nobody could believe I got fired from a job you volunteer for. It could happen anywhere when you try to shake up the system and make it more fun for everyone.
What was your best and worst experience as class mom?
The worst was being fired. In the book, she gets fired for using a racial slur and she should have been fired. I was fired for just sending out funny emails to try to get people involved. The best part is getting to know everybody and getting a stronger sense of what is going on in your classroom. I loved having that insider look.
How do your emails compare to the ones Jen sends out in the book? Were yours more toned down?
The first email in the book is verbatim the first email I sent. That was my shot across the bow. I wanted everybody to know this is not going to be a regular year where the class mom just cuts and pastes from the PTA and puts it in the email. You’re going to have to read. People loved it. I had people writing back saying they never read a class mom email before. My emails were just as sassy as Jen’s, that’s for sure. The one that got me fired started with “Hello Losers.” It offended like two mothers.
Would you recommend that people become class moms or dads?
The rewards are great and I highly recommend everybody get involved with their PTA. What I would love is for the people who aren’t involved to appreciate the people who are and try to make their lives a little easier. It’s the worst when you send out an email and nobody emails you back. Make it fun — make people want to read your emails. If you have fun and they have fun, it will be a better year all around and you will get much more participation.
Is there going to be a sequel?
Yes there is! I wasn’t going to write a sequel but “Class Mom” did really well. I guess it touched a nerve so they wanted a sequel. It’s coming out next summer. Now [Jen’s son] Max is in third grade. It’s a whole different journey for her. There is stuff going on in her personal life too. It’s a real cast of characters. Because this is not just about her being class mom but the life she is balancing while trying to do this job for free.