Monday, February 2, 2009

Dear PTA

Dear PTA

Stop looking at me like that. I am absolutely not going to volunteer for a position next year. I have paid my dues, attended your meetings, served on committees, negotiated, communicated, kept the books, and even (shudder) recruited.

I know your crafty ways. The gentle pleas from the Principal. The earnest hints from the President. You try to lure me with promises.

"You wont have to go to all the meetings"
"It's all set up - it practically runs itself"
"Lots of people will step up to help you"

Lies. All of them. I must have been born with some sort of tattoo on my forehead that says "Sure! Pick me! I want to volunteer!" The kind of tattoo that I can't see in the mirror but everyone else can see and snicker at.

The annoying thing is, I love the access that being on the PTA provides. At every meeting the Principal gives an update with all the nitty-gritty of what's going on around the school. The 10 of us who attend all find it enlightening. Then we move on to the business at hand and have a lot of intelligent conversations, a few disagreements, but ultimately, we decide things. Important things. Things that affect all our kids, our school, our budget.

I'm frustrated that more people don't attend PTA meetings. Did they decide that they were finished being interested in education once their kids hit middle school? Did they, as one officer likes to put it "figure we're running everything just fine?" I don't know - to me that approval looks more like apathy.

I want to set a good example for my kids. I always want to show them that I'm involved and I care. This year has really taken its toll on me because of some rather sloppy bookkeeping on the part of the Treasurer who came before me. I've had to put in a lot of hours untangling a monstrous mess.

So I care, and I want to be there. Maybe one committee. But no more.

What am I saying. Somebody please stop me.

17 people stopped folding laundry to write:

What A Card said...

Oh my, I'm just like you! I'm very much of the mentality that I have to get involved.

And I can't understand why more people don't.

Though I was supposed to be the treasurer of my MOT club this next year and just backed out. I figured a club year that starts in September and me with a baby due in September would probably lead to me being the cause of messed up books. :) Maybe you should get pregnant...that worked great for me to get out of volunteering. I mean, which is more difficult: raising a child, or volunteering again???

The Glamorous Life said...

Do it.
But then again I am a total volunteering enabler ya know.

I put my hat in the ring for PTA prez. I know. I am INSANE.

Annie said...

Just say "NO" if you keep this up Tina Fey may be mocking you on late night television in a couple of years. How's your foreign policy?

Monkey Memories said...

I won't stop you but I will thank you for being involved! Our school doesn't even have a PTA!

Steph said...

I'll answer why people don't get involved, people like me, at least. Because it never ends once they reel you in. You start out with some teensy tiny responsibility, and you wind up PTA Treasurer, newsletter publisher, and general errand-runner. All because you see that it NEEDS to be done. It MUST be done, and no one else is doing it.

So you spend 3/4 of your waking time dealing with PTA- or school-related stuff, and you feel like you're neglecting the kids FOR WHOM YOU EVEN STARTED DOING THE STUPID PTA THING IN THE FIRST PLACE, and your house is a mess, and you haven't knitted anything in a month, and you wish you'd never said yes to the teensy weensy job in the first place.

Or so I've heard.

kids taxi driver said...

I think it is wonderful that you volunteer (or are suckered in). What a great example you are setting for your kids and you will make an impact on future generations attending your school.

FaithChick said...

I always get guilted into doing things for the school. But then one day they told me I could not bring my boys anymore. Don't guess that needed help that bad. Good for you for taking a stand and putting yourself first. We all have to do that ever once in a while.

Des said...

Stop reading now. You totally shouldn't quit the treasurer job. You worked so hard to get it all figured out. Now, enjoy the running of a clean, mean, organized machine. Or something to that affect.

No, you need to do this for the betterment of the common good. Did you say you were having intelligent conversations? See, I can't even write intelligently. I better go join the PTA. Look, you're so good at recruiting too!!!

Don't go. Please don't go.

Raggedy Girl said...

From my teacher hubby...thank you so much! We both believe that schools are as good as the parent participation level. It takes everyone working together to turn out well educated happy children. Praying for you as you work so hard.
Roberta Anne

Alisa said...

Just say no! Escape, now! There are other ways to be involved, working for the teachers, answering phones in the office. Step away from the PTA, your life will get much better. Last year was my first full year away. I was so happy. My stress level went down to almost nothing. You can always go back next year.

Coloradolady said...

Just say no!! I used to be like that too, they will wear you down. Let someone else get involved....stand your ground. Find another project to be involved in. It will make your life easier.

Widney Woman said...

Did you know that in churches, 10% of the congregation does 100% of the work? And that it is usually the SAME 10% that volunteers over and over and in multiple areas?

I had been a community volunteer for 28 years. Started at age 10. When I heard JFK's line about "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." I took it to heart - even though I was Canadian.

After 2 months of heart wrangling, I told my executive director in January, I would be stepping down from all volunteer positions as of April 30th, for 6 months to 1 year. I told people so I could be held accountable to keeping my word.

It was hard at first. In fact, I felt like it was supposed to be a year, but figured I would barely be able to do 6 months. When I volunteer, I'm on boards and committees, I'm involved and doing 10 - 30 hours/WEEK of volunteer WORK.

It's going on 10 months. I survived. My family thrived. Don't do it. Take the time off. Go with the Christian-ese and remember: If you do it all, that means you are not allowing someone ELSE to get blessed.

Be strong my friend. When you return, you will be better for it. Just keep telling yourself that!

Bloom said...

Hi! Thank you for your comment on my blog about my Dear Jane. The only way I could reply to you was be leaving a comment on your blog, so here I am! You're half way to a Dear Jane having the book & the software! There is no way I would have attempted a Dear Jane if Anina hadn't so generously set up a blog to help us through it. I have learnt SO much! Perhaps you could give a few blocks a go, & make it into a table runner if you don't enjoy it?! I really don't know if I will ever get mine finished. Perhaps mine will be a tablerunner too! The blog site if you're interested is:
http://thatquilt.blogspot.com/
Best wishes,
Bloom

Jocasta said...

I wish I was better at being on committees!

I've updated my blog address it's now http://kiwijocasta.blogspot.com/

HeatherV said...

From the teachers POV (High school 10 years), a big thank you for caring enough to give of your time to support your child and the school. It really does take a village....

Thanks for your comment today on my Friday Finale post. I will gladly join in the fun. I hope it will keep me on task while not overdoing it by setting priorities.

magda said...

You may need to designate a specific position and title for yourself, and stick to those duties. My proposal is: Member.

As a member, you can go to the PTA meetings and participate. You can show your support and be an example for your children and for fellow parents.

It might be difficult to continue saying no to "promotions," but I am confident you can do it! Performers need audiences, right?

noble pig said...

I don't know I think there are other ways to show the kidos you care other than PTA. It's too all-consuming, I can't deal with it. All my friends on PTA are always freaking out about everything going on...I would explode into a billion parts. Try volunteering for something else like the library!

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