xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: I quit the PTA

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I quit the PTA

So, I have a problem (don't laugh, I haven't gotten to my point yet!!) I'm not so much a "control freak," per se, it's just that I do things better than other people (that's all I'm sayin). I don't necessarily have to do everything, I just know that if I don't, it either won't get done or it will be crappy.

What?

Okay, let me back up a little.

There is a very common attitude among people who don't have kids with special needs, that SPED kids "steal resources" away from the normies. As such, when we first entered public school, I was afraid that people would judge either me, or my child, because he was in SPED. (I've written about this before, and I'm not going to rant about it now.)

When Child 1 was in preschool, the school district shelled out a shitload of money for his home program; 15 hours/week, non stop, for 2 years. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if it weren't for that home program, he would not be as high functioning as he is today. So in addition to being afraid, I also wanted to pay back; to the district, for spending so much money on my kid. I had a goal: to personally raise $X (I won't say) in my entire time (16 years, including Child 2) in public school. Nobody could say MY kid stole resources when I'm doing all that fundraising, right??

I went to my first PTA meeting when Child 1 was still in preschool.  I had a friend with a kid C1's age who also got into the school, and together we went. She ended up getting involved before I did; I kept sending emails to the PTA folks and nobody would answer me and I guess they answered her? I figured that meant they already hated me but, no, what it actually meant was that they were too disorganized to figure out how to tell me what kind of help they needed. But then my friend says "I've been trying to work with these guys but it's been hard because they're so flaky." Well, it just so happened that this is what I do for a living, at least at the time: I fix disorganized organizations. I won't bore you with the details. So I said, "I know how to fix this place! Let me show you....."

So, that's what I did. I just walked up to one of the co-presidents at a meeting and I said "You have an opening, put me on your Executive Board." And he was like "Uh. Okay. Who are you? Yeah, whatever." He didn't really care. So, I came in with all kinds of energy and drive and I did what I said I would do, I made them organized. Agan, I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say it's a good thing the IRS never paid them a visit.

Unfortunately, what happened after a while is that I started volunteering for everything... and therefore doing everything. At one point I think I was in charge of every committee that existed, I don't even know; it's kind of a blur. People were always saying to me "I don't know HOW you do it!" I would always answer "I don't." It was fucking insane. On the plus side, though, we raised about $120,000 last year. I can't take credit for all of that, of course, but I think that's more than any other elementary school in our district.

One day when C1 was in 1st grade, I brought him to school in the morning and discovered that he had a field trip that day, but I had forgotten about it and therefore had forgotten to make him a lunch. It wasn't a big deal, there was extra food and he would get fed, but still.... I was so wrapped up in my PTA duties that I forgot to make my child a fucking lunch. It was time to get my priorities in order.

So, I started quitting stuff.  I gave away everything that wasn't absolutely crucial.  But then, as the year went on, it turned out that the stuff I gave away either wasn't getting done or it was getting done badly. What did I tell you??? I was obviously needed. So, I picked things up again. Ugh. Seriously? Yeah. By this point, though, I no longer cared about paying back or proving myself and my child worthy. I'm pretty sure I took care of that part halfway through my first year there. Now I just had to make sure things got done, and got done right. Not because I'm a control freak. I said NOT.

Unfortunately, by the end of C1's 2nd grade, I was really burned out. SO tired of the PTA. When the prez-elect asked me to be on the board again for the next year (that would be this year) I said ok, as long as I didn't have to go to any meetings, because I'm sick to fucking death of meetings. She said "we all just do what we can!" I don't know how she still has such a good attitude, she's been there longer than I have.

Okay, so now it's this year, and I think I've been to one meeting. I'm the Vice President of Fundraising, which means I get all kind of emails saying "HEY! I HAVE THIS GREAT IDEA FOR A FUNDRAISER! YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO THIS." And I just don't give a shit. I really, really don't care. Plus, my work has gotten really busy, and hubs works really late every night, so I don't have the time during the day and no childcare at night. Anyway, my disinterest in the whole thing causes me to just forget the PTA exists, so I'll get an occasional email and say "OH YEAH! I remember the PTA!" and then feel slightly guilty for not having done shit this year.

So, I emailed the prez and I said "I don't think this is working out, what do you want to do?" And she said maybe they should try to find somebody who actually cared about fundraising to, you know, be the VP of Fundraising? She was concerned about hurting my feelings. Isn't she the sweetest? I was like "fuck my feelings, I just don't want the responsibility anymore!" So, this past weekend I emailed the Exec Board and said I was stepping down. I don't even care anymore if things don't get done or if they get done crappily. If the place falls apart, it's their fault for relying on me in the first place. That's some pretty serious burnout, right there.

But, hey, more time for blogging now, right?



29 comments:

Big Daddy Autism said...

I think it's best for everyone that you resigned. I am sure the history books will treat you well. Even Nixon's reputation bounced back towards the end of his life.

This side of Typical said...

after 8 years working as a teacher in the 2nd largest school district, in one of the lowest functioning schools, i am SICK TO DEATH of meetings, fundraisers, student lunches and the general concern surrounding our children's education. I figure since i have to fight tooth & nail just to get enough GOOD services for my kid (pre-k) they can just do without me in the PTA. Besides, the parent coordinator is a little freaky, Like stares right in your eyes with what seems to be a drug-induced joy while she's got you cornered in the office that you can't escape because you're waiting for an IEP meeting. That, and i think i'd be the token Jew-and I'm not ready to be assigned the "Hannukah Display" every year...

RacersMommy said...

OMG see this is why I hate the PTA for the life, soul sucking demon that it is!

I have enuff on my plate helping run my daughters AVID team and then the horrid women who are the band boosters for my son.

I know why you did it though, I used to do it to be involved then when I was a PTA mom I had less kids and no autism on my plate.

Margaret said...

Wow! As someone who served on the PTA with you three years ago I can't believe you were still on there! Yes disorganized and flaky with really good people who care... a lot!

Good for you for stepping down!!!

Jean said...

It's great that you're looking after yourself...bet it was hard to let go tho XXX

MommyToTwoBoys said...

You should not feel guilty at all. You did some real good there. You set out to do what you wanted. When stuff started to turn sour after you started backing down the first time they should have gotten their butts in gear. They should have realized how important you were, given you a break, and taken some responsibility. Or they should have not done so many things.

I swear that in my son's first 2 months back at school this year he came home with 5 fundraisers! And I volunteered to be part of the bake sale team and baking opportunities come up very often. I don't mind baking, but the other stuff, I don't have time. I have never been to a PTA meeting, so why start now?

@jencull (jen) said...

I tend to be an organised person and disorganisation makes me cross (see, I managed not to swear!) I would have done exactly the same and ended up exactly the same. Not worth it, hope you enjoy more blogging time:) Jen

Lynn MacDonald said...

I think i love you. I couldn't be on the PTA because i couldn't deal with all the Political Correctness of it all. I have helped on fundraisers, mostly by doing the creative stuff!

Cheryl D. said...

You need some time for you too! You did the right thing, congrats! At my daughter's school, there are about 10 parents that give a damn and do things. Everyone else doesn't help. Many of those jerks have the gall to criticize.

Laura said...

Wow! That's crazy! You did a great thing for a long time, you shouldn't feel bad at all! You need "YOU" time.

Tina@ www.theteethingmom.com said...

How do you do it? How do you balance being a mom of two (one of them with special needs) a bookkeeper, VP of fundraising, wife, Mayor of Target, blogger, and Rock Band Extraordinaire? You make me want to rethink my purpose in life.

Kathy said...

I don't know you and I am new to this whole blogging/twitter world so I am may be totally out of line...but this sounds like a lot of ego here?

Do you secretly love the attention and hate that it was just expected of you after awhile without the "we think you are awesome" accolades? I totally get that the expectations of school are bananas for people that work (I am a working mom with a child in kindergarten and the time needed is almost inhuman for a SAHM)

Doing stuff for your kids unfortunately opens you up to being taken advantage of, criticism, and few thank yous...but don't we do it for a different reason?

jillsmo said...

Oh, Kathy. Aren't you just so anonymously adorable? I particularly like "I don't know you at all but I feel that I am still qualified to judge you."

Keep it to yourself next time, sister.

This side of Typical said...

wow Kathy--patronizing much?

perhaps you secretly love judging people instead of reading a little deeper into the message.

not that i know you at all...

aaah, Jilssmo--you ARE a real blogger now. I'm jealous. BTW, Kathy, if you need anyone else to judge, you can hate over at my blog http://thissideoftypical.blogspot.com/

frazzledmomma said...

Dear funny wonderful amazing fabulous jillsmo:

You know, I felt that you were extremely eloquent in your reasoning, you were more than available to the PTA cause for more than your share of time.

There are those that must hurl accusations and condescension to ease their own feelings of guilt and/or inferiority. Like water off a duck.. let it just roll off ya. We all know what your priorities are.

And BTW, oh mighty condescending commenter... "almost inhuman for a SAHM"??? "sounds like a lot of ego"??? That may be a can of worms you wish you hadn't opened.

Happy13 said...

I judge you...right out in the open.

Lynn said...

Kathy = Ann. I didn't get from this at all that you were doing it for ego...you said right out what your initial motivation was. An incredibly noble one at that...my daughter goes to a $60K/year private school that is paid for by the school district and you won't see me paying it back in free services. You're Joan of fucking Arc as far as I'm concerned.

LilPixi said...

Kathy, it sounds to me like a lot of burn out from someone who was both overworked & overworked themselves, ALL while being a mother to two young children & everything else on her plate.

Who would join the PTA just to give back for the services to their child? Can you say you would?

Sounds to me like a very UNselfish woman who gave her all till she simply couldn't anymore.

bbsmum said...

"...so I am may be totally out of line..." yes dear, you are, so go away and think about what you've just done and don't come back until you can join in nicely.

Cheryl D. said...

Congrats, Jill! You got a bitchy comment. You've arrived! Mazel Tov!

jillsmo said...

OMG I seriously love you guys so much. Not Kathy, though, I don't love her.

I thought about making a new post about this but, ehhh. Fuck it, I'll just put it here and then we can move on. Kathy, or whatever your actual name is, I don't know you, so this may be totally out of line....

I have no need to justify or explain myself to you, so I'm not going to, but the people who know me (i.e. the people that matter; e.g. not you) understand what motivates me, and that's what's really important. Regardless, though, does it really matter what my motivations were/are if in a 3 year period I helped to triple the size of the PTA budget? Lots of kids are going to benefit from that, that's something that should matter to you. Unless you're the kind of person who only cares about themselves.

At any rate, Kathy... or Ann... whatever... even if the PTA isn't about my ego, this blog DEFINITELY is, and you have done WONDERS for my ego today by judging me like this. Look at all these people who came by to defend me! I'm feeling pretty good about things right now, so thanks Kathy. Hope you stop by, again! :)

Tina@ www.theteethingmom.com said...

Kathy- I also don't know you, and I think I may be out of line, but A FUCKING WUSS is what you are, you anonymous judgmental fuckface.

You're probably lacking something in the comprehension department for you not to understand the VERY SIMPLE message of the post. Either that, or you're secretly jealous of all the attention Jill's getting (and she so rightly deserves), that you thought, hey, maybe I should stir things up a bit and divert all the attention on ME this time, because I'm a loser with a blog that nobody reads.

Go show me your blog URL or Twitter handle and let me show you what it's like to be ripped apart in your own turf. You wuss.

Anonymous said...

I know Jillsmo. I worked with her. Kathy, you are no Jillsmo.

But seriously, quitter, what gives? You realize the school/parent partnership is the only thing keeping kids from dropping out or doing drugs, right? You are the Sarah Palin of PTA members.

(Is Kathy single?)

jillsmo said...

The Sarah Palin of PTA members???

Wait. Is that because I hunt bears?

tulpen said...

My kid continues to suck the public school tit for thousands of dollars a year. I have not given back.

I want more Kathy!! Say something else rude and ignorant so I can feel superior! Please???

KLZ said...

Why is it that everyone sucks but us?

jillsmo said...

I KNOW, right??

crogers said...

You know, its about time you had a troll lurking the comments section. If Kathy will not stick around to do the job properly I guess I will have to pick up the mantle. Lemme just whip up another gmail account real quick......

jillsmo said...

YAYYY!!! Hubby trolls are the BEST trolls!!

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