When we lived in Kansas, I refused (adamantly) to join the PTO. Everyone knows that to go to a PTO/PTA meeting=VOLUNTEERING, right?
When we moved to Wisconsin, I agonized over the thought of joining PTA because in the past, I’ve committed to too many volunteer hours in my kids’ classrooms (even though I avoided PTO. Go figure.) When you work at home, the lines between stay-at-home mom and working mom are seriously blurred and it’s up to you to make boundaries. As it turned out, I sucked at making those boundaries.
But moving up here, I knew nothing about the school and wanted to get a feel for it. And…I knew NO ONE. So…I joined. *gasp*
Not only did I join, but I went in with the knowledge that I WOULD have to volunteer. And that, of course, calls for Strategy. (Contrary to the beliefs of certain friends of mine who call me a sucker whenever I mention PTA…certain Superromance authors I go to conferences with…I won’t mention any names. *g*)
So PTA Strategy 101, if anyone needs an overview:
1. You look at the list of “volunteer opportunities” they hand out.
2. You quickly cull out the “nightmare” jobs that would make you want to poke dull needles in your eyes. (On my nightmare list: Carnival coordinator, among others.)
3. You find the least of all evils, and you sign up for it before you even attend your first meeting. For me, this was the Bookfair Chairperson. CO-chair. Books and someone to share the responsibility. Very doable. And a built-in excuse for not volunteering for other tasks.
That’s it. Tried and true strategy for keeping your PTA career under control.
The spring bookfair is this week, and I’m still calling it very doable. A couple hours at school today, maybe one hour tomorrow, and then a couple more on Friday to take everything down. That doesn’t, of course, count shopping time. So far, in the weeks of planning and coordinating the fair, I’ve made a couple of mom friends, gotten to know the school a little better and…my skin hasn’t burnt up and fallen off yet, nor have I turned green or purple!
Now I sound like a PTA spokesperson and I am so not. I just think it’s sad that in a school with 280 families, we have approximately 12 people at each meeting and a group of about 20 moms who run EVERYTHING. So um, if you needed a nudge to PTA-out, this is for you. It won’t kill you. Bookfair’s mine though.