Once upon a time, in a city far, far away…
I hid from the PTA. Not figuratively, literally. I spotted them parked at the front doors of my oldest son’s elementary school after I was already in for parent-teacher conferences. I worried I would get corralled into their Lady Gang where warm cookies and fundraisers were wielded against the rest of us parents who were just trying to remember to check Thursday Folders by the following Tuesday. So, I did what any sane person would do: I walked out to the playground, scaled the fence, snuck out to my car, and drove away. I successfully avoided them and their ilk for about 10 years.
Since then, I have had three more kids. Along the way, one of my sons received an autism diagnosis keeping me even further from the PTA realm. After all, it’s just for the “typical” parts of the school, right? Then, last spring, I had a friend ask me about joining our school’s PTA Board. They needed a secretary and the commitment was “just a year”. “NO!” my brain screamed. “uh…I mean, I guess” my mouth uttered.
With no fence to scale, I jumped in, feet first. I have purple hair and tattoos. How would I fit in with “those moms?!” I preemptively made up my mind that it would be a horrible experience. That I would have NOTHING in common with anyone. However, that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Actually, I met some wonderful ladies, learned a lot, and made good friends along the way.
The PTA of yesteryear is gone. It’s not just for “Martha Stewart Moms” that stay at home and somehow manage to rid their entire house of any evidence of their tiny human inhabitants. Why do we still hold this image as the norm? It’s because the rest of us are standing back worried if we are the “right type of mom” to help.
To this I say: ALL HELP IS GOOD HELP.
All moms are welcome: working moms, hot mess moms, special need moms, punk rock moms, crunchy moms, and yes, Martha Stewart moms. We all may run in different circles, but all of us want to do the best we can for our kids. So roll up your sleeves, show off your sleeves (tattoo joke), and let your voice be heard.
I’m not suggesting everyone run for a board seat straight out of the gate. There are committees and volunteer opportunities aplenty. For example, If you’re a working mom, check out an opportunity that utilizes your work skills and doesn’t interfere with your work hours. Drop off a potluck meal for a teacher’s breakfast. Clean up after an evening event. Are you a special needs mama like yours truly? Oh my gosh, we THRIVE on advocacy for our kiddos. Reach out to your PTA and make sure your special ed rooms have a voice within the group or offer suggestions on how to make school events more inclusive. Do you love to read? Then how about volunteering some of your time in the library.
Budget cuts and resource shortages have many districts taking a beating. Consequently, our public schools are struggling. As a result now is the perfect time to help. Get involved with the very places that educate our children. There are endless opportunities and doing expert level Pinterest projects are not required. There are SO many ways to get involved with your PTA. Above all, it’s a wonderful resource hub to learn about what’s happening in the very place you send your kids five days a week. Reach out, connect, and help create, inspire, and build up the space that you want for your children.