It was 2010. I had just entered into the exciting world of homeschooling. For the first time since becoming a mother, I was not working. I felt free and like I had all of the time in the world. I happily threw the family into about every activity that came our way. Girl Scouts was no different. I was never a girl scout myself but, hey, I figured that this would be the perfect activity to add that year. That decision would prove to be life altering. So, my dear readers, I present you with 5 Lessons I learned being a Girl Scout troop “Cookie Mom”
Lesson #1: I still need to practice saying NO!
In an effort to not get too involved I turned down an offer to be assistant leader of our troop. In a momentary flash of complete foolishness, I said “Yes” to being the troop’s cookie mom.
I didn’t think much of it at the time. It was September and cookie season was a long way off. And then, January 2011 was here and I found my home and vehicle buried in a mountain of Girl Scout cookie boxes with a cookie to do list that resembled a hike up Mt. Everest. It was like having a full-time job again. And seriously…homeschooling? Nope, got to sell these cookies.
Lesson #2: Being Cookie Mom is a lot like being a drug dealer
I know things have been simplified in the cookie world and that responsibly is more evenly distributed across the troop now. But back then; it all went down like this:
- Step #1: Have sit down with regional cookie “dealer.”
- Step #2: Hypothesize number of cookies initially needed based on number of cookie junkies in troop’s territory.
- Step #3: Go to local cookie center to pick up inventory. The cookie center was in an abandoned store with no heat and it smelled like sulfur. I would pull my minivan up to the storefront, tell them what we needed and the boxes would quickly get loaded.
- Step #4: Have distribution team (girls and their parents) move cookies out to streets.
- Step #5: Either collect money or the unused cookies and get those back to the regional cookie “dealer.”
I did this multiple times in a week all through the cookie season.
Lesson #3: It is easier to move drugs – oh, I mean cookies – on a college campus, warmer too.
You know those cookie tables outside of grocery stores and other locations? Yep, that was my responsibility too- registering for the booths and scheduling girls/parents to run them. There is nothing like sitting outside of your local grocery store for hours on a cold evening in January. So, I got this crazy idea. We were a group of homeschoolers and had freedom during typical weekdays. Where are loads of hungry people milling about with extra cash during the weekday? The University Center – Bonus – it’s warm and has wifi. Bingo!
Best idea of my entire short-lived life as Cookie Mom! We set up shop at the local University and wow, I have never felt so akin to a drug dealer as I did that day. We moved over 800 boxes of cookies in a very short period of time. The undergrads would buy a few boxes, round up more cash, and come back to buy some more. Some of them would show up a few hours later with a group of friends, urging their friends to buy more. It was like we had the crack/cocaine fix that every undergrad needed. I am sure that a handful of them blamed thin mints for their freshman fifteen that year.
Lesson #4: If your husband can eat through an entire box of Oreos in one weekend, you should reconsider having hundreds of boxes of cookies in your home.
My husband used to play guitar Friday nights for a really neat group of people, some of whom were in recovery. There was a parallel kids program that he would take our girls to so my son and I could have a night to ourselves. One day, they were talking about relapse and the children’s leader asked, “Have any of you seen the adults in your life have a relapse.” My older daughter’s hand shot up, “My dad does that all of the time. Every time my mom leaves for the weekend, he buys a whole box of Oreos. And at night he will stand behind the fridge eating them when he thinks we aren’t looking.”
My husband’s “cookie problem” became a new favorite joke.
Yes, that is my husband- my organized husband who took over the house inventory for me. I live in a realm of fuzzy organizational skills so having his diligence on board seemed like a great idea. He even created this nice tally sheet to document the cookie boxes our own family used. Only problem…new tallies were appearing daily on that sheet. We broke the number one rule of dealing – Don’t get addicted to your own product.
Lesson #5: Yeah! After two months of a full time job, I earned a patch.
I know some of you love girl scouts and are really involved so I don’t mean to sound so sarcastic. Originally this fifth lesson was titled, “I sold my soul for two months and all I got was this lousy cookie mom patch.”
My daughter loved girl scouts – she really did. I did not. It is difficult for me to get involved in anything like this and not find myself taking on leadership roles. That serves me well in places like work and church where my efforts definitely get rewarded and help my whole family or community. However, in activities like these it means my time investment often becomes too high for the overall return on investment.
Oh and btw, it took me about two years before I was able to even stand the smell of a Girl Scout cookie again.
Kudos for my husband’s “Breaking Bad” styled references throughout this blog post.