End of School Picnics: Arena for Mommy Wars

The close of the school years brings an endless parade of picnic celebrations--a much anticipated tradition enjoyed by children throughout the nation. Alas, the end of the school year also opens an arena in which moms can flex their party coordinating muscles.

It's time for the Picnic Planning Mommy Wars!

What can you do with a limited budget of $50-75, and an average class size of 24? Here's a rundown of what I have witnessed in the past:

  • hot dogs grilled on site (I kid you not. One mom actually brought her full size grill to school)
  • make your own sundae smorgasbord
  • country-style fried chicken and corn on the cob eaten from red checked paper plates
  • hand scooped sno-cones (with a less than willing dad doing the ice scooping)


What's a picnic without games? Also known as the round that separates the girls from the women. Heavyweight contenders include:

  • Olympic games complete with real half dollar medals for the triumphant
  • dodge ball using oversized inflatable beach balls that filled an entire Honda Odyssey.
  • Hawaiian themed games involving grass skirts, leis, and coconut bras


I refused to compete this year.

I'm not a bitter loser or lacking in creativity. I'm simply a bit wiser after realizing, after umpteen years of competing in this party arena, the kids don't care for it. Any of it. They're happy with a slice of pizza, a cold juice box, and the chance to run free for an extra hour.

The over-the-top school parties are really about the moms that plan them and fund them, because seriously--you can only do so much with $50.

So, an elaborately themed class picnic with coordinating paper goods and prizes to die for may earn bragging rights that afternoon, but guess what? The mom champ morphs into a mom chump as soon as the bell rings and kids scamper back to class. The mom chump is left hot, tired, and at least a Benjamin lighter in the pocketbook.

And left wondering what on earth to do with a half-dozen coconut bras.



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  • This is so funny because it is soooo true! Add to the list the over-the-top birthday parties! (guilty). I have finally realized that my kids want fun, friends and cake! Once I checked my own ego, and misguided thoughts of what my kids wanted, my pocketbook and parties have been much happier!

    Love this one!

  • In reply to jolaha:

    I'm guilty on many counts, as well. My hubby thanks me for my new found frugality and outlook. He no longer has to scoop sno-cones for sticky children!

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