Why I Am Not a PTA Mom

I have two kids: one in second grade and one in sixth. Each year as they move further beyond the toddler phase, I find that school responsibilities intensify. And I’m not just talking about their homework. As we know, with school comes endless fundraisers, parents’ nights, plays, art exhibits, and PTA MEETINGS. I try to make it to as many of the events my children are directly involved with as possible, but I am not a PTA mom. I never have been. I can hear many of my friends’ and coworkers’ inner judgements as I type this: “you seem so involved!” And I am involved, and I do care, but that has nothing to do with the PTA or PTSO or PTO or whatever they’re calling it now…

PTA-type organizations are NECESSARY and VITAL to our children’s schools. I applaud you moms (and dads) for participating, and maybe even taking on leadership roles. But I am not a PTA mom…and you don’t want me there, I promise you. I could name 1000 excuses why you don’t want me there--from traveling once or twice a month for work, to being a control freak that will silently (or loudly) want to take over your meeting--I am your organization’s worst nightmare.

But what I am is a helper. I will help with ANYTHING you need. Need a field trip chaperone? Send me an email, I’ll be there. Need pages torn out of workbooks and stapled together for the next week’s lessons? DONE! From Field Day to fundraisers to Career Day for the first graders, I am your girl.

But I am not a PTA mom. And it took me a long time to realize that it doesn’t make me a bad person or a bad mom.

I used to feel bad. My oldest would tell me about her friend’s mom coming to school to eat lunch with the class or Billy’s mom, the room mom who is there three times a week, and ask me why I was never one of those moms. And when I would offer to help at home or later in the day, I would just get a snooty answer like “Oh no, if you can’t come in that’s fine. We have room moms who are willing to give up their time for the kids.”  And then I would feel like a terrible mother.

But some things you just have to learn with age. You learn as you become a more experienced parent to be more confident in your parenting and in yourself. Now I just tell the teachers up front at the beginning of the year that I can’t help in the classroom, but please feel free to send things home for me to do or let me know and I can come pick them up. I have time to help, just not from 8am to 3pm Monday through Friday. And guess what? They email me and ask me if they can send stuff home for me to help out with.

I had to learn that they don’t make movies like Bad Moms without reason. There will always be those snobbish PTA moms who think you are a TERRIBLE parent for having a career. But there are also those moms that come to the drop off line dressed in their PJ’s, then have to get out and chase their kids into the school because they forgot their lunch. And there will always be moms like me, who you won’t even recognize when I am dressed up with full make-up and hair, because when you see me I haven’t had my stand-still traffic time to finish getting ready.

We are all just trying to be good moms, so just do your best and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for it!