As a parent I have certain expectations of…well…everything. Including the PTA.
As a member of the PTA I have (potentially too many) expectations of parents, teachers, principals, and the community.
There is a tension. A tension that tugs at me daily. It’s the tension between the part of my brain that reacts as a parent and the other part of my brain that reacts as the president of the PTA. I’m not claiming there is any sort of scientific evidence that there are different parts of my brain working here. It’s just that I often have two very different but parallel thoughts.
How can I possibly get what I want from the PTA as a parent and get from parents what I want as a member of the PTA? Seems impossible.
As a parent I want to just.be.left.alone (sometimes).
As a member of the PTA I want everyone to get involved now!!!
As a parent I want people – specifically the plethora of organizations in this small town – to stop asking me for money.
All they want is money.
It will consume all my free time.
I was stunned to learn these accusations of the PTA are true.
Really it depends who I talk to. And if they’ve had coffee.
Maybe the real problem is one of perception. Perception brought on by (dare I say it?) poor branding and lazy messaging.
Yup, I said it.
I’m not going to bore you with all that bullshit about how rewarding it is, how you are giving back to your children and the community (ok, I might say that ONCE to instill some guilt), and how fun it is. While true, you can read that anywhere. Let me give you my insider’s perspective.
Apathetic. Until last week that was my attitude towards the PTA. With a demanding job and even more demanding kids I was positive I didn’t have time for the PTA. Not now. Possibly not ever. Though Jill 10-years ago imagined becoming a super-involved-soccer-mom, Jill today loves her job and needs down time.
My main source of school related information is my friend Rachel. My primary motivation to do anything is guilt (“Mommy, EVERYONE is going to such-and-such event”) followed by my intention to minimize the amount of time my children will spend in therapy (I accept they will likely need therapy; the challenge is to minimize how much time they require with a therapist).
If the PTA blink – or Rachel — doesn’t explicitly tell me what to do and when to do it, I ignore it.
So how did I go from a potential path of indifference to nominating myself for PTA president?