My consideration to become the president of the PTA was met with a mix of cynicism and skepticism. Friends and family questioned my sanity. Josh stared at me in disbelief while uttering the words, “I support this if it makes you happy.” (collective awwwww!)
While I thought, “How can I NOT have time for something so important?” others were in disbelief that I could make time for something so consuming and significant.
Apparently overcoming denial is a big part of being a PTA president.
Denial # 1: It can’t take that much time
After spending 4 weeks getting up to speed during my scarce “free time” I can say with 100% certainty: holy crap this is a lot of work. I dedicated 2 days of PTO to the PTA already. While it is quite time consuming I am also quite happy. This is going to be a fulfilling year but I might have to give up sleeping entirely. And in case you didn’t know, I LOVE SLEEP.
Denial # 2: It can’t be that much work
A neighbor gave me some good advice, “when things get stressful remember you aren’t getting paid. ”. While true, my genetic makeup demands I simply make the PTA my 3rd full time job (after parenting and my real, paid full time job of course). I’ll just rely on my super-fabulous team to do an outstanding job while I cheer them on and provide guidance and encouragement (Yes, you read it right: MORE DENIAL.)
Some work was unexpected. Like inviting the e-board to my house and pretending I am Martha Stewart. Based on my performance people might think that I regularly have fresh, homemade banana bread, water with mint and lemon, a full pot of coffee and a spotless house (on Monday at 9am no less). But we all know that is far from what really goes on around here.
Denial # 3: Establish a goal and the details fall naturally into place
For the record, I face this denial in all parts of my life. I sincerely and over-optimistically think if everyone shares a goal that we must also agree on the path to reach that goal.
Sure everyone enthusiastically agreed that we could easily have less fundraisers while raising more money.
But then we start talking about which fundraisers to eliminate. This inevitably leads to “What? You’re going to get rid of [fill in fundraiser that doesn’t raise much money but is super-duper fun then multiply by 4 or more]” followed by “let’s bring back [see previous for fill in]”.
As someone who has participated in ZERO PTA FUNDRAISERS it’s pretty easy for me to make recommendations based on nothing but numbers. I bet in a few years I’ll be begging to keep a few simply because I like them.
But for now? We’ve cut ‘em in half.
Denial # 4: Everyone! Is! Enthusiastic!
Another denial that is pervasive in all parts of my life. If it’s IMPORTANT and we can MAKE A DIFFERENCE then everyone will gladly work all hours with tons of energy (likely fueled by coffee), brainstorm for hours on how to make things better, do everything they promise on time, and get along famously.
Reality: people have families, day jobs, hobbies, and many got suckered into their position by some overly enthusiastic person (stop looking at me) or landed in their position based on pure guilt.
Denial # 5: I’m not intimidated by authority
Something about meeting with the Superintendent (scary!) and Principals (panic!) makes my heart beat just a little faster. But my biggest fear is potentially using bad grammar in emails. What if I write “affect” when I mean “effect” or put an apostrophe in the wrong place? Will I be demoted? Removed from office? Will I redeem myself because I can properly use there, their, they’re or farther and further?
Maybe I’ll overcome my denial before the school year starts. Until then I will remain in my blissful state of over-optimism which will only dissipate when sleep deprivation sets in. Until then…someone please buy me a coffee.
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