A mom hanging out a school window waving to students

I Have Dibs on Room Parent!

Last updated: August 2022

Every year when my kids were little, I would try to be the first one at Back to School Night so I could sign up to be a room parent.

Did I like throwing holiday parties? Decorating the teacher’s door for Teacher Appreciation Week? Helping the teacher with other projects?

Well...not exactly.

The reason I always wanted to be a room parent was so I could know what was going on in the classroom.

Since all 3 of my kids have asthma, and my 2 youngest had been in the hospital a combined total of 12 times (2 ICUs), I was one VERY nervous mom.

Being a mom of kids with chronic conditions

Parents, grandparents, and other caregivers know how stressful it is to raise children. Having kids with chronic medical conditions puts a different spin on things.

Asthma can be unpredictable and go from bad to worse very quickly. So, I was always worried about my kids.

It was not unusual for me to get a call from the school that my child was having an asthma attack. I would leave a full cart of groceries and bolt to the school.

I loved our school nurse, but she was overworked and wasn’t usually there to help my kids. The nurse-to-student ratio was ridiculous. One school nurse would cover about 5 to 7 schools (at least 5,000 kids). She was at our elementary school for only 2 hours per week.

I would tell my kids that the school nurse was there on Monday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00. Then I would jokingly tell them to make sure they planned their asthma attacks during that 2-hour time block!

Field trips as a room parent and mom of children with asthma

The school nurse did not have time to go on class field trips, so the parents of kids with chronic conditions would go on the field trips in case our kids had a medical problem. I got to be REALLY good friends with a mom whose child had diabetes. She would keep an eye on her daughter, and I would keep a close eye on my kids with asthma.

Field trip to the zoo? I would find a babysitter so I could go. I knew my son or daughter would have an asthma attack, and I did not trust the teacher to treat them. The teacher had enough stress trying to wrangle 35 kids, a few parents, sack lunches, and fighting students.

I would take care of my kid’s asthma attack, and she could worry about the rest of the class.

Field trip to the state fair to see and pet the farm animals? Yep, I would go on that one too. My kids have allergies and food allergies along with asthma. So I knew they would have an asthma attack from the farm animals and the straw in the pens.

The other moms could just carry their car keys. But no...I had to carry my big purse with allergy medicine, their albuterol inhaler, epinephrine auto-injectors, and lots of tissues! My friend whose daughter had diabetes would be lugging around all of her medical equipment, too.

Additional reasons for volunteering

I would also take a look around the classroom at the beginning of the school year to make sure it was asthma and allergy friendly.

I wanted my kids to be able to relax, enjoy school, and make great friends. So, I was there to be in the background in case they needed help. Otherwise, it was fun to watch the kids play and make goofy jokes.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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