I remember my first run-in with the PTA. I was a brand new mum to my first Kindergartener and I wanted her to get one of the coveted all day Kindergarten spots at the school. You see, there was only one all day class, and I wanted it. And, someone told me in a hushed whisper – “Join the PTA committee – and you’ll get what you want.”
So, I did. I became the secretary. And, boom – my daughter got a spot in the all-day class. The PTA was all powerful. And, I was IN. I quickly realised though that joining the PTA meant a lot of work.
Fast forward a few years, and I’ve learned that frankly – the PTA (or PTO at some schools) is revered and scary for a reason. Public schools wouldn’t survive without them. These women (and men) that live and breathe for the PTA keep schools alive.
And, they dedicate hours of time to making sure that your kids’ school runs like a well-oiled machine.
They are all powerful because they work their asses off. But, really, they are mums (and dads) just like you and me. With maybe a little more enthusiasm than some of us.
After that first experience, I took a break. I popped out two more kids, and I didn’t have as much time to be the PTA mum. I was guilty of being that one mum that paid my dues and signed up for nothing.
I had toddlers coming out of my ears, and frankly, I couldn’t quite get my crap together enough at home to even think about going up to an primary school and volunteering.
I was thankful for all the other parents that could go up and help the school run efficiently because I was one hot mess for a lot of years. I figured I just wasn’t cut out to be the PTA mum. I couldn’t even be a regular mum at home and manage to keep our laundry clean.
Then, I went to my first school carnival and decided that the PTA was evil. Why on earth did I need to go deal with sticky snow cones and cotton candy, while my kids ran around the school with other sticky kids eating way too much candy and getting their faces painted? Someone – anyone – explain this to me?
Please, PTA I thought. Put us out of our misery. Can’t I just sign a check instead?
Then, my kids started getting older and I signed up here and there to help in the classroom. I loved being around the little kids (for a few hours anyway) once a week, and thought it was hilarious when they would say things like, “You’re so pretty!” when I would help them with their math.
Maybe classroom volunteer was more my speed, I thought. But, I noticed something interesting – my fellow mum friends that volunteered on the PTA weren’t any better or worse than me. And, they certainly weren’t evil or scary. They were mums just like you and me, trying to make the school a better place.
And, they started to feel more like friends.
As the years have gone by and I’ve watched how amazing the PTA is at my school (and hopefully at yours too) I’ve learned to not fear the PTA but to embrace it.
I’ve learned that all those tireless hours parents put in help our kids have a fantastic school year.
I’ve learned that the PTA is essential to keep our school funded, and running smoothly.
And, the PTA makes school fun. And, don’t our kids need a little fun from time to time?
So, this year – I’m embracing the PTA. I actually volunteered for a position helping to run the school spirit nights.
I am officially becoming the PTA mum. Who knew?
So to all the PTA mums that have come before, and all that will come after – I salute you.
OK – not really, because that would be kind of weird and creepy. But, I’m grateful you’ve embraced me, and I’ve embraced you, and we’re all going to be in this together. Even if it means a sticky school carnival.
We’re doing this for our kids and our schools, and let’s be honest – they probably wouldn’t survive without us.