I volunteered to be PTO secretary for next year.
I. Volunteered. To. Be. PTO. Secretary. Next Year.
I had to say it twice, the second time with utter f’ing bewilderment at my own actions because I’ve never done anything so f’ing crazy in my life.
Before you laugh, maybe you don’t understand. There are slacker moms. There are regular moms. And then there are PTO moms. Me? I migrate between slacker and regular, and on any given day could be either one. The split is generally 70/30, give or take.
On a slacker day, I start packing my kid’s lunch at 7:35 to make a 7:45 bus and somehow think this is an acceptable form of scheduling. Or, at 7:38, I am trying to check the school’s lunch menu online while my computer is updating itself and the screen is flickering because of some technical issue I was supposed to check into last year while my toddler stands next to me and is trying to pound the keys with sticky little fingers curled around chewed bits of bagel. On a slacker day, I forget to sign permission slips. Or make a donation for a teacher gift. Or make sure the kids are dressed in red, white and blue or wearing a silly hat, or mismatched socks or a Red Sox shirt. On a slacker day, I am afraid of commitment. I say no to playdates. No to meetings. No to any other get-together which would require me to shower or clean the bathroom. On a slacker day, my house is turned upside down in a matter of minutes because I am so goddamned disorganized. I can’t find water bottles or clean socks or library books or take-home folders or eye glasses or really any of the basic necessities needed for school EVERY. F’ING. DAY. because that’s the way I roll. I’m a free thinker. A rebel. Not beholden to the tedious confines of everyday life. F U and your stupid rules.
Now on a regular mom day, I am much more in control and rational. I hand our Box Tops in on time. I review the lunch menu while drinking my first cup of coffee. I have read the contents of the take-home folders the night before so I know, say, that Water Day has been rescheduled and my son won’t be the only preschooler showing up to school in a bathing suit and water shoes and slathered from head to toe in thick, white sunscreen wondering where all the sprinklers are. On a regular mom day, I know what we’re having for dinner before 6pm and may even have all the ingredients to actually cook it so I don’t have to text my husband on his way home from work with some request from the grocery store. I remember what day of the week it is and where we have to be after school (mostly) and if there are any major events that would traumatize my children to miss.
But never. ever. have I been a PTO mom. Ever.
These moms are like the Sheryl Sandbergs of the PTO scene. They lean way in and take control. Get things done. They make it their business to make sure things are running smoothly come hell or high water. They create flow charts and color-coded spreadsheets. They make lists and cross them off. They schedule meetings and attend them. They meet challenges with fire in their eyes. There is no cause, no event, no school-related issue they can’t handle. They have ideas and goals and ways and means to see that they are reached. They communicate. They delegate. They collaborate. And do a lot of other things that end in “ate.” They wield their organizational powers like a sword. They are the kind of moms you don’t want to meet in a dark alley after you’ve voted “No” on an override.
So what the hell am I doing here?
I’m not sure. Part of it was peer pressure. The other part was the encouragement I got from those around me. Represent the slacker moms! The regular moms! The moms who have no idea what the hell is going on, but mean well nonetheless, they seemed to be saying. Give these moms a voice! Be the catalyst for change in PTO’s all over the world. Show slacker moms and regular moms everywhere that we don’t have to shy away from being heard because of our disorganization or seeming lack of passion.
We absolutely need the PTO moms to get the job done. But maybe, just maybe, there’s room on the PTO board for moms like me too. I’ll let you know next September.