Eight Types of Parents in Elementary School

Don't forget our requirements for the bake sale.

My youngest daughter is more than halfway done with Kindergarten now (how did that happen?!), which means that I’ve been through my share of school events. Combine that with the fact that I was an elementary school teacher who came from a long line of elementary school teachers, and I consider myself an expert on moms and dads of little kiddos. I’ve narrowed it down to eight main types of parents. Which are you?

1. The PTA

These ladies and gents rule the school. Need to make some copies? They’re gonna need to see your visitors’ badge. Want to take little Susie her lunch? They’ll just pop it in for her—they were heading that way anyway. Also, did you sign up for the fundraiser yet? Can you volunteer to help on Picture Day? Check for the Sign-Up Genius in your email.

2. The Parents of Younger Kids

They wander in to parent-teacher conferences casually pushing a stroller and attempt to listen to the teacher while simultaneously removing Sharpies from their toddler’s hand. We, the parents of older kids, look at these parents with a mix of envy and pity, because we miss having cute little toddlers, but we also remember what it was like to have cute little toddlers.

3. The Busy Working Parents

They can see that their kiddo has worked hard on a project, and that’s all well and good, but this freaking project presentation is taking forever. They have already answered six emails while watching and need to step outside soon to field a call with their manager about this month’s TPS report. 

4. The Fitness Fiends

Just watching to make sure the kids get off to class… (Photo courtesy of Shape.com.)

They show up for school drop-off in shorts, even when it’s 45°F outside, wearing no makeup and a running watch. They need their kids to scurry to class, because they need to get in five miles before their spin class at 9:00 A.M., and if they’re lucky, they’ll even take a shower before they come back to pick the kids up.

5. The Late-Comers

What time does school start again? Is that earlier than yesterday? Why do they keep making school start earlier? The late-comers come flying in five minutes after the first bell, dragging their kids behind them, wearing sweatpants and clutching a coffee mug with a death grip. You’ll see them every morning and then after school. Wait, when is school done?

6. The Kindergarten Parents

(sniff) They grow so fast!

Remember just yesterday when these babies were actual babies, crawling around with their little diapers and binkies? And now they’re off to school (sniff)! And (choked sob) soon they’ll be off to college and leave forEVERRRR (loud sob, nose blow)!

You can find Kindergarten parents clustered in groups in the hallways, lamenting on how fast time goes by or peering into the windows of the Kindergarten classroom.

7. The Parents of Superstar Kids

Oh, they’re just here for Tommy’s spelling bee. It’s no big deal. I mean, yes, he did win last year, but it’s not necessarily a given that he’ll win this year. Oh, that poster on the door? It’s just Tommy’s award-winning artwork that was recognized by the district. Again, no big deal. Every kid is good at something, right?

8. The Regina George Wannabes

“So you agree? You think you’re really pretty?”

Although they are parents of elementary schoolers, they themselves seem to be caught up in middle school. Whether they’re spreading rumors about other moms to their Gretchen Weiner-esque crew or writing thinly veiled Facebook status updates about other kids, you can count on them to (a) be nice to your face; and (b) say something mean about you behind your back. 

Do you recognize any of these parents at your kid’s elementary school? Did we forget any?

Kristin moved to San Antonio from Baltimore in 2006. Although she had a brief 2 year stay in Fort Worth, the margaritas, breakfast tacos and the kind souls of our residents drew her back for good. She's a third grade teacher and group fitness instructor, and single mom to Molly (2009), Sadie (2011), Daisy (dog) and Charlie (cat). When she has free time, she's either training for a half marathon or on a patio somewhere with a Titos and soda. Favorite Restaurant: Sustenio Favorite Landmark: The Pearl Brewery Favorite San Antonio Tradition: The Elf Movie parties at Alamo Drafthouse


  1. What about the “I’m just saying” mom? The one who if often heard complaining about the school or its staff, prefacing or ending her complaints with “I’m just saying.” Like that somehow makes her less of a complainer. Ex: ‘It sure would be better if the kids had more play time, I’m just saying,” or “At my friend’s school, their principle raps the announcements every day. Must be nice. I’m just saying.” This mom is closely related to the ‘But I don’t have time for that’ mom (Someone/the PTA should organize a Composting Club, but I don’t have time for that).

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