I mentioned that I would explain to you why I started calling our PTA the Stepfords and why I have adopted the motto “I’ll bring juice.”
When my oldest son was in kindergarten I was volunteered to be the room parent. In charge of all of the volunteers and all of the parties. Notice I said I was volunteered. Not that I volunteered. I told the woman trying to recruit me, “No, thanks. I would really feel more comfortable waiting until I felt I knew more about the school etc. Afterall, this was my first experience with public school. What did I know about the parties or how to set them up, what they expected to have happen or how to even get parents to volunteer to help? After three nice “No. Thank you, but no”, I found myself the Room Parent Coordinator.
Thankfully, parents with more experience helped, as well as parents who just took pity on me and helped save my ass for the year. It was a long, rough trial by fire year. I decided then and there that I would step back and learn more before becoming active in the PTA. Don’t get me wrong, every year I volunteered in the classroom. I went on any field trips where they needed parents. I was at all of the programs and parties. I helped the teachers and the kids. That is what I loved doing.
By the time my oldest was in 4th grade, I became brave enough (or was it stupid enough) to try to get involved with the PTA as an organization again. At the first PTA meeting of the year, I was talking to a Mom friend of mine who was on the Executive Board and mentioned if she needed any help that I would be willing to help out on a committee. As fate/life/hell would have it, this mom was actually leaving her position as the Membership Chair and said that it would be great if I took over that position. She said she would help with anything I needed.
I mentioned it to the president of the PTA. She literally looked me up and down and replied, “I don’t think we will need you. I have other people I would rather put in that position. But good for you for trying.” (Yes, she did say that. To my face. In front of my children.) Honestly, it was humiliating the way she said it. I tried to blow it off, but when your youngest son asks you why that woman was mean, it hits you in the gut. After being at the school doing the back to school events, I noticed more than once the president speaking to another PTAer and pointing my way. Totally mortifying. As much as I tried to ignore it, I couldn’t. I left before I could finish doing what I needed to do to get the kids ready for back to school. I left in tears.
As fate/life/hell would have it, I got a call later from the president asking if I would indeed take over the position. (This is where red flags should have not only been flying high, but slapping me in the face.) But I am a slow learner. I said yes.
I started in mid September. Every other member had been in their new position since the end of the previous school year and had trained, met and worked together all summer. I was most definitely the outsider. With the exception of one Mom, they let me know I was indeed an outsider. I even had the nerve to disagree verbally when I didn’t agree with something mentioned. (An unwritten rule I was not aware of with this group.) I worked my ass off trying to get this position going and do a good job.
However, at every turn I was told that I was not doing a good enough job, not putting in enough time (at least 20 hours a week was what I was putting in for this volunteer position) and that I was not blending well. It was the most stressful year so far. I will admit, I became bitter about the whole group. Near the end of the year I was pulled away and literally scolded and berated for not being good enough. It was harsh enough to bring me to tears. in front of my child. (Trust me when I say it takes a hell of a lot to bring me to tears in front of you. You may break my heart, but you will never see me cry. I won’t give you that power.)
That was the last straw for me. From there on out they were lucky to even get a half ass job from me. I gave them everything to get chastised. I refused to do it again.
It isn’t that I don’t like the PTA. It isn’t that I don’t like what they do. And it isn’t that I don’t like these women. What I didn’t like was the horrific way I was treated for a VOLUNTEER position that I came into late. It was humiliating and rude and I am not one to set myself up for crap like that.
So, I could continue to be bitter and angry or I could make fun of the uber-Moms who actually had the PTA as their full time job. I had a full time job. Motherhood. As well as launching my new writing career as I was starting to get my essays published and was focusing on that. I was not one of them. Yes, I did want to be friends with some of these women (and am), but I don’t want to be their whipping
boy girl again. Thus began my tongue in cheek Stepford posts and PTA expose`.
Now, a good friend of mine is up for president. I ponder whether now would be a good time to try again. Clint says I must’ve fallen and hit my head or I am smoking crack. Probably both.
But when I joke about the PTA, it is not because I think all PTAs are evil. It is not because I don’t like people who volunteer for the PTA. It is not even because I still am angry about the way I was treated. It is because when something like that happens you can either laugh and make fun of it or you can be angry, bitter and hate them all. I choose to laugh it off and parody and exaggerate the issues that I saw and see.
So there you have. The truth about how I almost became a Stepford and how I narrowly escaped the cloning. But even now, after all that passed, I will still bring the juice.