Lessons from a Girl Scout Cookie Mom

Several months ago I started reading a fantastic book by Lysa Terkurst called The Best Yes. The only problem is that although it is amazingly good – I got onto reading several other books instead. The problem is that I really should have kept reading this book – The Best Yes! In this book – The Best Yes, Lysa urges us in the days of multi-tasking, and plate filling (the busy kind not the food kind) that sometimes we need to set boundaries, so that we can say Yes to the things that really matter. The things that are most important to us, because surely we cannot say yes to everything right?

I am a boundary breaker [to myself]. I never know when to say no. If you guilt me into something – there is a 99% chance that I will say yes. Its just my personality. Maybe blame it on serving in the Navy with the Seabees… but if I see a need, and nobody else will step up to the plate – you can bet your house that I will grab a bat and start swinging for the team.

So this brings me to my post topic.

Several months ago – my daughter joined Girl Scouts. Our troop needed what is called, “a Cookie Mom”. A mom that is basically superhumanly organized, can order cookies for her troop, and keep a running inventory of everyones cookies and track progress etc while staying in excellent contact with the moms in your troop. So when our troop leader reached out to our troop to see who would be willing to be Cookie mom – we all heard crickets. I was busy – and just coming off a mental and emotional roller coaster – and I thought – I need a break. I cannot say yes… but then when they reached out again and we continued to hear crickets, I went online – read the Cookie Manager handbook and picked up the bat, and stepped up to the plate to swing for the team.

cookie-boxes

I should have known better the instant I said yes. It’s not like they post the ACTUAL job description on the website – or anywhere public – because who would actually say yes to the real job description?

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I gathered the other moms around to place the initial order for our girls – and ever since I picked up our first batch of cookies I’ve felt like a bona-fide drug dealer. I mean- the whole operation is actually so organized – that it probably rivals an actual Columbian Cocaine operation.

I pulled up in my vehicle – all hush hush. I pulled up and asked if I was “Lindsey” and I said yes, and before I knew it they were schlepping cases and cases of cookies into my car. I couldn’t believe they had the right Lindsey, because they barely got any other information out of me – but in the end I had the right amount of cookies in my car. (read – $2500 dollars worth of fricken cookies) When I “checked out” with the lady at the end she gave me a sly smile – I couldn’t tell if she was silently saying “good luck” – or “haha sucker”!

I am very organized, which has been a blessing, because the the system that our beloved Girl Scouts uses – eBudde is not the most user friendly thing on the planet (IMHO). If only I could count the hours that I have spent to un cluster the F*** that is eBudde I might be up for a volunteer hours award or something. Too bad I wasn’t getting paid – because I’d be a millionaire by now.

I don’t know how it happens, lets blame it on lack of sleep but inevitably numbers are skewed, and do not match up to inventory, and I am so paranoid that I am going to mess something up and we will owe hundreds, or  thousands of dollars from our troop  that I have to spend hours and hours and hours allocating cookies, or reevaluating cookie counts, and making sure I hit SAVE (which is not where you think it would be) – which I think is the real problem. Lets not even mention the fact that the business practices we use are horribly outdated and inefficient. I have always considered myself to be a supremely organized person, but you absolutely have to bring your “A” game – no B Squad organization skills in this game!

Then there is the constant cookie eating! I mean – seriously – I got a stand up desk at work to combat the cookie season. Forget the “Holiday Fifteen” – I’m terrified I’m going to gain 20lbs because I eat sleeves of Thin Mints in 5 minutes! – I somehow justify it however by telling myself I’m earning my daughter a cheap prize that was made in China, and helping her to go to summer camp! “Kid – we’re walking 15 miles at summer camp!” ” Why mom” “Because your camp cost me 15 miles of hiking – that’s why!”

Emails! Emails, phone calls, sketchy text messages, money, money, money  and constant communication. Nobody tells you that you will become a drug dealer that annoying telemarketer/ wall street banker trying to stay in constant contact with other moms to ensure that they have enough cookies- and find out how many cookies they’re sitting on, and how much money they’ve brought in! “Are you moving your cookies, because if you’re not, so-and-so can move them for you! – How much money do you currently have? Can you bring it over tonight at 8pm?” and then I get frantic texts and e-mails from troop moms… “Help! My husband’s co-workers are Samoas addicts – we need three cases immediately!”  Drug dealers I tell you. Drug dealers!  I feel like I’m moving product and the drug is pure delicious sugar!

We still have a solid three weeks of cookie selling left and I don’t know how I’m going to make it! I look forward to freedom like a teacher feels at the end of the school year, or a prisoner of war looking to go home.  For the love of Christ – if you have any kitchen cupboard room  – buy some more girl scout cookies! If a girl scout stops by your house  – and you’ve already purchased from Cub Foods or Walmart  – help a cookie mom out and buy another box! They freeze well! And if you absolutely cannot eat anymore – then offer to contribute cash – so that they can donate to the Cookies for the Community! Our troop is donating cookie boxes to the Coon Rapids Middle School Food Shelf where 50% of kids draw from it each week!!!

So… lessons learned and tips to share.

1.) If you have a young daughter and someone asks you to be a cookie mom… run…. far-far away!
2.) Cookie season is done in three weeks! Come May you’re going to regret that you didn’t buy from that cute girl scout who stopped by your door in March to purchase a case of thin mints to last you all summer!
3.) I have literally had a scenario where I have needed to jump in the shower – but didn’t know when certain moms were going to swing by… I was terrified they were going to ring the door bell and I would be half naked while trying to manage cookie sales and personal hygiene.
3.) Have fun! Though I’m kvetching about how hard this is – it is rewarding. I get to spend some precious hours with my daughter and help her with some social skills that she needs to develop!
4.) If you did happen to be suckered in to being a cookie mom – enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day! – enjoy a glass of wine at the end of each and every day!

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