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Pastries with Parents is more than just a sugar fix

Every year our school observes Celebrate Catholic Schools Week, in which we recognize everything that makes our school special. Each day has a theme honoring a vital unit of our school community – students, faculty and staff, families, etc. 

The last Monday in January was “celebrate families,” and the festivities included Pastries with Parents. And hey, I’m a parent who loves pastries, but it meant showing up almost 45 minutes earlier than usual. Which also meant getting up and into the shower… even earlier than usual. 

Early hour aside, Pastries with Parents was really fun. Side note: kudos to the organizers for providing ample amounts of coffee!  They knew we’d need it. 

The families gathered in the school gym, grabbed plates of pastries and a beverage, and either wandered around or camped out on the bleachers. Another side note: bless our teachers for being willing to put up with sugared-up kids first thing in the morning. My two girls consumed doughnuts, chocolate-chocolate chip muffins (“with fancy wrappers!” Sophie noted), mini cinnamon rolls and even some Pop-Tart Bites. So thank you teachers, and I apologize if the kids were practically levitating for the first few hours of the day. 

Because it was worth it, at least from a parent’s perspective. 

I know most of the parents in Sophie’s  fourth-grade class pretty well, and a lot of them I consider friends. We’re definitely there for each other, especially when it comes to helping understand our kids’ homework or double-checking what they are supposed to be doing. When my scattered brain can’t find the paper with the schedule for something or other, there are a number of parents I can text and get quick backup. 

As one of my mom friends and I noted on Monday, maybe it was because January had seemed everlasting, but we both felt it had been a long time since we actually talked with other parents in person. We always chatted on the sidelines during the fall soccer season, but we hadn’t seen each other face to face since the holidays. 

My husband and I talked to a lot of people at the event, and when we got home, we both commented on how nice Pastries with Parents had been as a plain old opportunity to socialize. We don’t get a lot of those opportunities, so it was appreciated.  

There have been plenty of studies showing that parents need that social element in their lives and that it helps our mental health, but this event really brought that home. In this age of social media, it’s easy for us to feel lonely while not alone. I feel I have friends, but it was a surprising boost to my mood to sit around with coffee, pastries and fellowship with other parents. 

So my advice is, don’t skip Pastries with Parents, even if it takes place too early in the day. Take advantage of those parent events and get out and socialize. 

Now I have to dig up some neon and puffy-sleeved formalwear for the school’s next parent event—an ‘80s-themed prom. Stay tuned… 



Jen Deinlein
Jen Deinlein is a self-professed “Jen of all trades and master of none.” She’s a SAHM to 8- and 5-year-old daughters, a freelance writer (you can also see her work in CPBJ) and head cheerleading coach at Penn State Mont Alto. She and her family live in Guilford Township, Franklin County, with a golf course in the backyard where they frequently rescue lost golf balls. You can reach Jen on Instagram: @groovypq; Twitter: @jlbd77 or by email: [email protected].

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