Oh Man, those PTA ladies are the WORST.
We’ve all heard it as newbie parents entering the school system. We’ve all seen the bake sales, the volunteer sign-ups, the fliers, the fundraisers. It has become a movie stereotype: this Pinterest-loving, over-achieving, unreal-expectations mom with too much time on her hands. The mom with the pearls and the cardigan and the perfect outfit. Well, I’m here to bust that myth.
To be honest, I do have some of the traits you might associate with a PTA mom: I’m really organized, and I’ve often been accused of being an overachiever. It’s in my nature, and I couldn’t turn it off if I tried. And don’t you WANT someone with those traits to be the person scheduling all of the activities, fundraisers, and enrichment programs that schools offer? You know, right tool for the job and whatnot.
But there are also things about me that may not fit the stereotypical profile.
For starters, I wouldn’t wear a string of pearls or carry a Vera Bradley bag if you paid me. I’m leading PTA meetings in my Ramones t-shirt and boots with my blue hair and black lipstick. I don’t do Pinterest, and I don’t expect anyone to volunteer at school as much as I do. Yes, I love to chaperone field trips, but my kid is also the one wearing camouflage from head to toe for Picture Day.
Being PTA President at a busy school with a high level of parental involvement is no easy task. There’s no “glory” in the position, just a lot of work. In the past two weeks, I’ve:
- counted fundraiser money for a grandmother and double-checked her forms because she only trusted ME to do it
- talked another grandmother through signing up online to volunteer for the Book Fair
- negotiated prices with a DJ for the school dance
- signed 6 checks for reimbursement
- signed two tutor contracts
- met with the administration to change parking procedures
- run three meetings
- scheduled a dance
- reviewed three teacher grant requests
- and coordinated dinners for teachers on conference night
If this sounds like a lot of work, it is. But here is the key: I enjoy it. I like being able to provide service in this capacity.
Of course, it isn’t for everyone.
We all contribute in different ways. Some parents hate the catalog fundraisers, and some love organizing the Pancake Breakfast. Some want to be Room Mom, and others just want to pay PTA dues and be done. All of those things are great!
Just remember, those stereotypes you hear about aren’t always real. This PTA mom runs her own business, has a graduate degree, is covered in tattoos, and bakes a mean lemon meringue pie. Don’t get caught up in labels.
I do what I do because I love my kids and want to help in any way that I can at their school. And I don’t really care if you want to contribute in the same way that I do. I only care that you be the best mom you know how to be.