We have all been there. You go to Back to School night and see the PTA table and quickly run past. Do not make eye contact you say to yourself. You don’t have time. You are not one of “them”. Those stay at home moms who cannot just let their kid go to school and be independent. You maybe go to one or two events a year. You may feel guilty enough to pay the $10 membership fee. You want to support the kids so you write the check grateful you got out easy.
I was once like you.
I feared the PTA.
I did not make eye contact with “them”. I pretended to write my name down on the sign-up sheet at Open House. I (gasp) marked their e-mails as SPAM. When cornered by one of “them” I would say I was “so” busy with work and all, I couldn’t possibly help out at (insert event here). I would put all of their mailings in my recycle bin, barely glancing at them. When my child would ask why we didn’t go to movie night at school I pretended I had no knowledge.
I took alternate routes to avoid her seeing the signs once she learned to read.
Then I was tricked. TRICKED I tell you by one of “them”. We are in a jam, she said. Can you just come and take notes?
Five minutes into the meeting I was elected to the E-board. I swore they smelled fresh meat. Next thing I know I have meetings, committees and events I had to go to. My child swore she was signing me up for life.
Six years later I don’t regret a moment of it. I have created friendships that never would have happened without the PTA. I never volunteer within the school during the day, but help out when I can. The commitment is only what time I (or anyone) has to spare. I know who my child’s friends are (something you lose as they grow up). I know the teachers and administration. I go out to dinner and drinks that have nothing to do with school business but with friendship. My circle has grown exponentially thanks to my involvement with the PTA.
As your child goes back to school I urge you not to run from the PTA. I promise they won’t bite. Sign up for one thing that interests (or doesn’t make you shudder) you. You will be amazed at how little you have to do to be rewarded by new found friendships.
Sure you might end up on the School Committee. But the chances of that really happening?
I don’t regret it one bit either, one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not going to lie, and I know you know Kerri, hardest work I have ever done at the same time. 🙂
And if I remember correctly, you were tricked as well!
I’ve been involved in the PTA since my kids started school (okay, I skipped the middle school PTA) – and it can require as much or as little time as you want. Honestly, at the high school level, the PTA is a great way to keep abreast of what’s going on, since teenagers tell you nothing!
It’s the secret mom network of information. I have learned so much of what goes on that Abby doesn’t tell me. And I would have sworn that girl never shuts up 🙂
I was one to just pay the dues and usually they left me alone. Glad your experience was good, but……… maybe they can tell you where all of the paper towels go????
I swear that is my number one inquiry on the school committee. What are they doing with all the freaking paper towels????
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If you ever get the answer, pass it on 🙂
I have been in the PTO for 11 years now, as everything from president to room parent, yet I have only actually volunteered in the classroom a handful of times. I am now considered the historian of the group, as new parents are taking on positions and question why things are done certain ways. I don’t regret a minute of it.
It is great how little you actually have to volunteer in order to make a difference.
I can still remember standing on the steps of the preschool and having another mom (with older kids) say to me “Next year when your daughter is in Kindergarten, make a point of going to the first parents night. But NEVER ever make eye contact with anyone on the board or you’ll have a job.” Went. Didn’t make eye contact. Ended up being co-chair and heavily involved with the two school carnivals. I don’t regret any of it.
That is just it, everyone gets the “don’t make eye contact” from other moms. But you do not realize how little you have to do in order to make life long friends.
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