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PTA--Like I don't feel guilty enough all on my own.

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
This thread could go under Working Moms, Single Parenting, Learning at School, The Childhood Years, etc... so can we just please leave it here. Thanks.

A few weeks ago I went to my dd's school's open house.

While there, I got accosted by one of the member's of the PTA. Here's how the conversation went. Her tone of voice is falsely saccharine sweet and patronizing.

Perfect PTA mom: Hey, the sign up sheet for the various events and activities is over there, so make sure you sign up for something before you go.

Me: Okay. Thanks.

Perfect PTA mom: We need to see a whole lot more of you this year than we did last year.

Okay, before I continue with this conversation, I should offer some background. My dd goes to a magnet school. Magnet schools in my city are supposed to be a step above the every day public schools, most have a specific focus like fine arts, language, math and science. In our case, its a public Montessori school. You have to either lottery or test in, depending on the school. My dd lotterried into the school she attended last year and attends this year. Its a great school, we're really happy, etc.. Its also pretty far from me. I do not have a car and I take public trans everywhere. Depending on which method and route I take and the time of day, etc.. It can take me anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes to get there. Okay, back to the conversation.

Me: Yeah, I would really love to be more involved, but I work full time and I live on the other side of the city and its really challenging.

Perfect PTA mom: Well, we all have our challenges. (says the married, stay-at-home mom who lives within walking distance to the school)

Me: Yeah, we do. But ya know, a lot of the meetings are in the morning or in the afternoon, both during times that I have to be at work. (they do like maybe every 5th meeting in the evening which maybe amounts to two or three a year)

Perfect PTA mom: Well, you could certainly make it to the evening meetings.

Me: No, I really can't. My daughter goes to a sitter up in my neighborhood after school and I have to pick her up by a certain time.

Perfect PTA mom: Well, just bring her to the meetings.

Me: Well, that's not really the problem. The problem is that by the time I get from my office to the sitter and then back down here again, the meeting would be over.

Confused look on Perfect PTA mom's face

Me: I don't have a car. We're on public transportation. It takes me about an hour to get to the sitter and then it would take another hour to get down here.

Perfect PTA mom: Well, there's cabs, aren't there?

Me: (trying very hard to not tell her she must be one of the most out of touch with reality people I've ever met considering that a cab ride even one direction would be $20.00) I really would love to be more involved. I've just really not been able to find a way to make it work for my family.

Perfect PTA mom: Well, I noticed you didn't even make it to Family Reading Night last year. I mean, this is really important stuff that your daughter is missing out on.

Me: Yeah, thanks. We'll work on that. Bye. Nice seeing you.

What the ever livin! you very much lady.

I was so tempted to get mean. On of her kids is in my dd's class (and was last year). He's apparently very disruptive and aggressive to the point where I know there was discussion about whether or not this school was the best place for him. I soooo wanted to say to this lady, "So, what kind of steps is your family taking to address your kids' behavioral problems? I hear he's pretty disruptive." I know.. snarky and mean. I only thought it. I didn't say it.

Who knows what challenges this woman has. I mean, just because she's married, stays at home with her kids and seems financially very comfortable, does not mean that her life is perfect or even good. Trust me, I know that, but seriously! "We all have our challenges"???? Yeah, walk a week in my shoes and then see where the you fit in the PTA meeting! I spend 40-45 hours a week at work. I spend at least 15 hours a week waiting on/riding public transportation. And I am this child's ONLY parent. As in the other parent is dead. As in, there's no one else to pick the kid up in an emergency, much less for a PTA meeting. Yes, I'm defensive. This is a sore spot for me. I would genuinely like to be more involved. I genuinely think it is an important part of my dd's educational experience to have me be involved in her school. It pains me that I'm not. I wish there were more hours in the day. I wish the PTA wasn't run entirely by married stay at home moms who plan 80% of their meetings and other school events during the school day. I wish I had a car. I wish there was another parent to help me navigate all of these logistics. But there isn't and I'm doing the best I freakin can, which I personally think is pretty damn good.

So Ms. Perfect PTA Mom, I make myself feel like well enough all on my own. Why don't YOU go deal with YOUR kid and your family because making me feel worse about it than I already do isn't going to accomplish anything for anybody. Actually, all that it accomplished was that I feel more alienated from the PTA than I already did. Quit looking down your noses at me. I'm doing the best I can.

I just felt really attacked and am feeling really snarky over it.
post #2 of 64
That's really awful.

I'm sorry she was so mean to you s. What a dork.
post #3 of 64
You say her child is aggressive. Honestly so is she.

And I'm a SAHM who feels guilty for not volunteering sometimes. But if I met a mom like that I would stop feeling guilty, completely! Pushy people just turn off any desire I have to help! She would make me run screaming in the other direction.
post #4 of 64
Hugs to you - - - I'm sorry she was being such a you-know-what.
post #5 of 64
post #6 of 64
She sounds like a peach. I would have been snarky. I'm sorry, I can't resist being a smart ass when someone acts like that...like they know it all, they're perfect, and that you are just a loser when they have NO.FREAKING.CLUE. what you're going through. We all have our challenges. Yeah, we do...so BACK OFF.

Dang. I'm sorry you had to deal with her.
post #7 of 64
I'm sorry you had to deal with that. She sounds very out of touch with reality.
post #8 of 64
She clearly has too much time on her hands if she is so obsessed with what you are doing. I can't imagine why she would even keep attandance records of the parents. If she is that concerned then she should have offered her assistance or something at least.
post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna
She clearly has too much time on her hands if she is so obsessed with what you are doing. I can't imagine why she would even keep attandance records of the parents. If she is that concerned then she should have offered her assistance or something at least.
Exactly. If she really wanted you there, she could have offered you a RIDE, or cab fare (since cabs are such a viable option in her oh-so-superior opinion) or SOMETHING.
post #10 of 64

My family is full of 'well to do's and I HATE when they say things that are obviously hurtful, OR refuse to speak to us because we aren't wealthy like them...
I'm sorry the PTA lady was acting all crazy. Maybe one day she'll see the light, and treat others better...
post #11 of 64
What bi+ch!!!!!!!!

Sorry mama... I think she is just insecure and has nothing else to obsess over.

My sister has many similar stories... she is a SAHM but the PTA ladies are always mistreating her, annoying her, and not appreciating her.
post #12 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna
She clearly has too much time on her hands if she is so obsessed with what you are doing. I can't imagine why she would even keep attandance records of the parents. If she is that concerned then she should have offered her assistance or something at least.
Right? Like even a, "Maybe one of the other PTA moms or I could take your dd after school on the days that there are evening meetings and that way you could come straight from work to the school." Something.

I just felt like she basically said, "You are a neglectful, crap parent and are ruining your child's chances of becomming a succesful person in life."

All because I didn't go to, GASP, family reading night!
post #13 of 64
I'm sorry she was so awful. Sometimes, people really do not have a clue. I am lucky enough that our PTA meetings are all in the evening but all I do is attend them. I also work full time and the one committee I wanted to be on I was thanked for my interest but they were unable to schedule the meetings in the evening to accomodate my work schedule. I never volunteered again. One of my good friends is really involved and she knows what I am able to give and she keeps the rest of them away from me.
post #14 of 64
It's clueless, mean people like her who practically recruit foot soldiers for the mommy wars. You handled it well. You are a bigger person, a kinder person. We like you better than her. If I were there and had a car I would lend it to.
post #15 of 64
I ran into someone like that recently. She thanked me for something I did for her and managed to make her thanks feel like an insult. I just kept breathing and thinking positive and not letting her get to me even though I was sitting right next to her.

Ohm....
post #16 of 64
Passive agressive shite is what that was!: You handled it way better than I would have. I would have started ranting!
post #17 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kama'aina mama
It's clueless, mean people like her who practically recruit foot soldiers for the mommy wars. You handled it well. You are a bigger person, a kinder person. We like you better than her. If I were there and had a car I would lend it to.
:

post #18 of 64
I am so sorry! I agree w/ Arduinna, why does she care so much???

I am dreading my sons first day of school because I am the ONLY working mom. I have all ready received the schedule and there are no meetings for the whole year scheduled during non office hours. On the first day of school there are 3 back to back meetings after drop off: parent association, parent volunteer and Fall Fair. I have received 6 emails about how important my participation is at all of these meeting. I am taking the morning off to attend but I just don't see how I can make it work...
post #19 of 64
Mama, you are doing an amazing job!
I'm afraid about the parents at my son's school, too. He'll be going to preschool for the first time next month and I have a feeling that I won't fit in. (being a single and financially challenged mom).

Hugs to you
post #20 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom
I am so sorry! I agree w/ Arduinna, why does she care so much???

I am dreading my sons first day of school because I am the ONLY working mom. I have all ready received the schedule and there are no meetings for the whole year scheduled during non office hours. On the first day of school there are 3 back to back meetings after drop off: parent association, parent volunteer and Fall Fair. I have received 6 emails about how important my participation is at all of these meeting. I am taking the morning off to attend but I just don't see how I can make it work...
Its bloody impossible!

Because on top of the voluntary stuff, there is a half day every time I turn around, random no-school days, Parent-Teacher conferences (which are pretty much mandatory), report card pick up days (we have to physically pick up and sign for report cards), school concerts and recitals (which being there for dd when she's performing is WAY more important than attending a meeting to vote on which day of the week we're going to sell t-shirts) etc, etc, etc... there is only so much time I can take off in a year and SOME of that time, atleast some small percentage needs to be allotted for when DD or I am sick or when we, oh, I don't know, take a week long vacation once every three years.
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