I am a working mom; I made that choice for a lot of reasons. I love my job and I have a very flexible schedule. I have always been able to help out at school and still work. The problem is, I don't fit in at school. My daughter started school in the city because is was close to the U where I worked. It was great! I was a room parent and felt needed. Then when I was shaking up my career path, I had year and a half where I was a part time working mom. That was a good time to move the kids to the neighborhood school.
We have a great school. Wonderful parents, excellent teachers, everything you could want? Well, except diversity. A friend of mine was interviewing schools in the neighborhood and when she asked about diversity she was told "well, we have some diversity, there are two black kids, three Asians and a woman who wears the veil- they all bring diversity." Well Noelle said there was no way her daughter was going the be the "Jewish Phillipeno adopted child" so she kept her daughters at the school my kids had been going to. I really wanted to have friends in the neighborhood and a closer drive.
So we embraced the change and I signed up for the PTA. The first year I was a Commissioner for some event. I don't remember what it was. Then the next year I was put in charge of McGruff. I apparently didn't do a good job because I wasn't invited to be a Commissioner again. I didn't much care because I had started my new job and was trying to have another baby (my five years of secondary infertility). I had made some friends and I ran the Girl Scout Troop at the school (not a PTA endorsed activity mind you). Eventually, the older two moved up to middle school and by then, I had Keegan.
After the break of not having anyone at good ol B Elementary, Keegan was starting first grade. I had him attend a private Kindergarten and the first three weeks all I heard about was how unready he was for school because he hadn't done Kindergarten as a B Bear. As I knew he would, he caught up in a month and did just fine. His K had focused on DAP learning and not the teaching they do in most public Kindergartens. I did get my first "all but degree" in elementary education before I switched majors. It was a matter of being patient and not giving in to the teachers.
Last year I didn't do much, I was a Mother Helper on Monday's so I did develop a good relationship with his teacher (after that first month). So this year I signed up for room mother. Then I became the Grade Coordinator. It was an easy description. Coordinate the Halloween and Valentines Parties. One hour each, four rotations- could it be any easier? The Halloween Party was a blurr. My dad had died four days before, the directory hadn't come out yet so I was lacking phone numbers but I pulled it off!!! I was so distraught that I don't remember much. Which brings me to today.
I was in charge of the Valentines Party. No lets be clear here, at work, I am in the middle of coordinating a conference with an international speaker. We have over 200 health care professionals attending and we have Grand Rounds Scheduled. I can organize an event. So I emailed all the class coordinators and asked them if they had their activity ready. They said yes. I had two classes because one class never got a class coordinator. No problem, the story and the activity. I went to B&N, got a book and googled Valentines activities. I emailed my room parents and told them what to do. It all should have been fine. Except that one of the class coordinators is the PTA president. She apparently can't listen because her craft took 25 minutes. UMMMM, she had one hour to rotate 4 classes through. The math doesn't work out here. So that set the rotation back and the other groups ran out of things to do because they couldn't move to the next rotation. She didn't care one bit. Then another of the PTA people told moms they were doing things they weren't assigned to which messed up the helpers.
Honestly people, its a darn one hour party and now I have teachers upset because we aren't organized, moms mad because they couldn't rotate with their child (we all were at the same meeting in Sept) and I felt like I was getting the cold shoulder from the PTA moms. The kids had a blast though and really, that is what mattered.
I don't understand what it is with this PTA that gets me. I can fit in most anywhere, except here. What I can't figure out is if its being the less than dominant religion so I don't see these people at church (for the most part they are all in the same Ward). If its the working mom thing. I feel like they look at me funny because I have to show up at events in management approved attire where they are all wearing their cute skinny jeans and boot. Most of them also probably have a thong a vagazzle. Or if its socio-econmic. Not only do most of them stay home, but they live in the nice houses up the street and drive 40K cars while I have my little basic mini-van with no bells or whistles.
Whatever it is, I leave the school feeling very lonely while they all go out to lunch. And then I go back to work where I have friends and colleagues who appreciate the work I do. Screw the PTA!
BTW, I'm on the PTO at the high school and I don't have a hard time fitting in there. It just has to be that school.