PTA Can Suck It
The PTA Can Suck It
Today I had a brief brush with my daughter’s PTA. Oh, the Parent Teacher Association, the PTA. I hear those words and immediately envision town hall-style meetings with home-made refreshments and a warm, comfortable welcoming atmosphere. I see a group of parents and teachers coming together with drive, ambition and smiles to work on doing whatever needs to be done to improve their kids’ schools. Yesterday that need was Pasta Salad for the teacher luncheon.
The moms in my little town, mainly are stay-at-home moms. I, however, work a full-time job plus try to run my blog and not to mention handle all things called life. They all seem to know each other from kindergarten (did I mention I am talking about high-school PTA moms) school pick-up and their kids’ past playdates and years’, YES YEARS’, of days spent at the same sports clubs, churches and social events. They are in and out of the school each day; they are on a first-name basis with the principal and staff.
Seriously, there is a self-importance about them that pisses me off. But on the same token they are important to the culture and functioning of the school, hence the double-edged sword. BUT having said that, there is also an attitude of “I am better than you”, we are a closed-circle “we’re inside and you’re not” attitude.
I’m going to come right out and say that the PTA – is not for everyone. I didn’t say it’s not for anyone. But it’s definitely not for everyone and that means me! During my little interaction I was reminded of my place. Yesterday was Halloween. My office requested that we dress up in costume which I will say I was not fond of this idea to begin with, but as the Office Manager I must set the standard. Bring on a Lumberjack! Ok but now put me a in high school hallway surrounded by kids holding a tub of pasta salad facing the PTA squad. I got the up and down look, a little bit of a shock look followed by….”Wow….you’re really in the Halloween spirit…”Yep all I could do was look at them and say “Well, someone has to fly the freak flag”. And that’s when I got the look, you know the one that says Ew!
So why do I help?
Because as a working mom, it was one of my only ways to find stuff out; by email of course because heave forbid they would actually have meetings on a time-frame where a working parent could attend. It is a chance to hear what is on the principal’s mind, and learn, say, that if you didn’t sign up your high-schooler for driver’s ed the nanosecond the schedule went up, you’d be screwed. An opportunity for me to give back, and try (emphasis on TRY) to participate in the life of the school. It often feels like a massive chore, but it is a critical one, at least in my eyes.
Three Reasons The PTA Is Not For Me
Reason #1: Many people get involved with the PTA for the absolute wrong reasons. I find that the most common reasons are “I am a narcissistic Type-A control freak who has to have my nose in every aspect of my kid’s business because lord knows what would happen to their life if I wasn’t” to “I WANT TO MAKE LOTS OF NEW FRIENDS AND BE SUPER POPULAR!!! WHEE!!!”
Now don’t get me wrong, if you are not in the least bit annoyed by the thought of joining an organization made up largely of helicopter moms, attention seekers, overachievers, and stay-at-home parents who feel they have to prove their worth to their working spouses then please do join the PTA. We need people like you to level the playing field and fight the good fight for those of us who can’t physically be there.
Reason #2: Joining the PTA may honestly seem like a good idea at first. You know, the start of a new school year and you’re all “We Can Do It!” or “This Year Will Be Different!” and your’e wanting to do your part.
Just Remember that over the course of the year participation will and does drop, significantly. Which means that the work that at one point was divvied up among a goodly number of people is now divvied up among you and about six others. Depending on the size of the school, it might be even less.
Reason #3: The PTA can get more than a little Mean Girls. Don’t ask me why. But it can and often does. It has at my school. Cliques form, people become snobbish and patronizing – but have no delusions, if you’re not Regina George aka the PTA President or one of his or her lackeys, there is no space for the likes of you. I am not in this group. I am the one who makes great food but doesn’t get talked too.
Give Me Another Option
If you don’t want to be stuck handling more work than you can handle while rubbing shoulders with a bunch of people that might not exactly like, I would suggest looking into more specific options. Got a kid who loves sports? Be a sports booster, or try your hand at assistant coaching. Got a kid who loves reading? Ask the school librarian if you can be of any help there. Got a kid who plays an instrument? Marching band and pep band can always use extra support. I am a Cheer Mom and I bring food when asked. Those are my super powers!