I am five years away from having to deal with the evils of the PTA, and as a stay-at-home mom who plans to maybe work 8 hours a week once the first kid and the hypothetical second kid are in school, I know that the question is going to come up a lot. And if I’ve learned anything over the years it’s that time flies by pretty fucking fast. I mean, five years ago I was still dating my husband and now I’m married with a baby. (Where the hell did the time go?) So eventually, I am going to have to come up with a plan, and what better time to do that than before I have to actually think about my responses, right?
So here are all the reasons I won’t be participating when that notice comes home in my kid’s backpack.
I am not a Pinterest Mom
I know I said this in my last post, but it needs to be repeated again. I don’t do crafts that are likely to be judged by other adults, because I suck at them. I do not have the patience for fiddly little pieces of pipe cleaner or felt, or whatever it is that Pinterest Moms use for their fancy ass decorations. You know what I plan to do to decorate for my kid’s birthday parties? Bake a cake (from the box), frost it (badly), maybe add sprinkles and attempt to write “Happy Birthday” with icing so it’s somewhat legible. I might have the husband blow up some balloons, which will be either taped to the wall or float carelessly over the floor. If there are games, my husband is running them. I’m the woman sitting in the corner, pasting a fake smile on her face, and wishing that half the guests hadn’t been invited and wanting the party to END.
I do not DO organized activities
You know why I never participated in extracurricular activities as a kid? It wasn’t because my dad couldn’t afford it (he would have found a way), or that I had to look after my brother (he was 11 by the time I used that excuse). No, the real reason was that every extracurricular activity requires you to show up for every meeting and activity. It requires you to DO SHIT AFTER SCHOOL, after you’ve just spent over 8 hours doing shit. Or to devote your weekends to doing shit. And the PTA is just an adult version of an extracurricular activity; an activity that will require me to go to meetings and do shit in a timely and organized way. Which leads me to my next point…
I don’t do shit unless I feel like it THAT DAY
See, the trouble with me being expected to do shit in a group is that I am fickle. I wake up each day and have no idea what I’m going to do. Oh sure, I have a vague idea of what I might do, but even that could change if I’m not in the mood. I mean, I’ll mix up a batch of cookie dough with the full intention of baking cookies, then be all like “meh, I’ll put it in the fridge and roll out the dough tomorrow.” Tomorrow arrives and I don’t feel like making cookies into different shapes, and the dough is either chilled for another day, or I just spoon the cookies onto the baking sheets and that’s that. So being in the PTA wouldn’t work for me, because they have a schedule and they expect you to do shit for fundraisers and make cupcakes, and I would likely not feel like doing the shit I said I would do until the very last minute. Somehow I don’t think that would go over well with the other moms.
I prefer to keep to my own schedule
And that’s a nicer way of saying “I prefer to just do things whenever I feel like it”. This totally would not work if I was in the PTA, because they have those meetings, and meetings would take away what precious time I have. What’s that, you say? I’m a stay-at-home mom and have all the time in the world? Fuck you. My time is still just as valuable as yours is Fictional Working Mother Who Called Me Out on My Bullshit. On any given day I could have chores that need to be done, blogs to read, inappropriate TV shows to watch while my kid naps, smut to write, or just do sweet fuck all because I feel like it! But no, you’re right; I should totally get dressed and go to that meeting because it’s what I’m expected to do if I don’t work outside the home.
My time is not free
There was only ONE time in my life when I willingly volunteered my time without expecting payment, and that was when I was in high school and required work experience in order to graduate. Even then, I chose working at the daycare. I played with kids for a few hours. I did NO WORK whatsoever! The PTA will expect me to participate in bake sales and other shit that will require me to be at a place at a certain time and talk people into spending money on shit that I had to make. For free. You know what that is? That’s retail. I was IN retail. I can tell you right now that the only part of that job I liked was working on the displays. But I wouldn’t have even done that if I wasn’t getting paid to do it, because I had to get there at a set time (often too damn early) and stay there until closing (often too damn late). If I want to set up displays and make things pretty, I’ll do that at home for my own enjoyment. Give the PTA members a salary and maybe I’ll reconsider it.
At some point they will ask for money
My husband has a pretty good job right now, and with the way things are going he will probably have a higher level of income five years from now. He might even achieve his dream of running his own business, but that still doesn’t mean we’ll have money to spend on fundraisers. I plan on having a second kid in a few years, so pretty much double the expenses we have now, and obviously we’ll want to have a few luxuries like family vacations, going out for dinner, and saving money for retirement. And yes, obviously we would have some money “left over” because being poor taught me a lot of ways to pull money out of my ass when we needed it most, and to save that money so that it’s available to be pulled out of my ass. But see, that money is what we use for Slurpees and ice cream. It’s what we use for the occasional “just because” gift for either ourselves or our kid. So basically, every time the PTA asks for money, they are dipping into our “fun money”. And really, what the question boils down to is this: Do I want to spend that money on stupid decorations for a school dance, or do I want to order pizza tonight so I don’t have to cook after dealing with all those Pinterest Moms? Pizza will always win.
People Annoy Me
I’m an introvert, which basically means I prefer small, intimate groups to big parties. I also don’t need that much in the way of social interaction and can get more than enough of it from my family. In fact, I sometimes get TOO much social interaction (but I still love you, husband, even if you do annoy me sometimes. Same to you, too, son). This social interaction, for introverts, comes at an energy cost. See, unlike extroverts who feel energized after being around tons of people, introverts get the opposite effect. I’m saying that if I have to attend a party (and by my definition, “party” is a gathering of more than five people) I’m going to need at least two days of doing sweet fuck all in semi-isolation to recharge my batteries. My best friends are the women in my life who understand that even if I don’t call or visit them for weeks, I’m not mad at them and I still totally want to hang out at some point. Just not every day. Or even every weekend. Once a month? That’s more like it, as long as I’m allowed to skip a month should some other exhausting social events come up. I’m not anti-social, I swear! I can party with the best of them and I can even have a good time in groups, but if I have to be too many places and see too many people in any given week, I get cranky. I need my “alone time”. If you’re an introvert, you get what I’m saying. If you’re an extrovert…sorry, you probably don’t understand at all. Doesn’t matter; this isn’t about you.
So yeah, getting back to the PTA, you can see how that’s not going to work. I’d be surrounded by people, expected to interact in a pleasant way, and do so probably way more often than I can handle. And before you all point out that I worked retail, let me remind you (again) that I was getting paid to be pleasant. But here’s the thing: when I was working, I rarely wanted to go out and do things with people on my days off. In fact, when I was working, the only thing that got me through the day was knowing that once I got home I could change into my PJs, ditch the bra, eat whatever the hell is easiest to make, and watch a shit ton of TV or surf the net. Going out with friends didn’t factor into my evening activities. Actually, if I’m going to be completely honest, when I was still dating my husband I would sometimes hope that he was too busy to come over, just so that I could have a night to myself. Now that we’re married, I secretly jump for joy when he tells me he’s going out with the guys or will be working over the weekend. It’s not because I don’t love spending time with him, but sometimes I just want to play on the computer and not talk to anyone for a few hours (or half a day).
So yeah, dealing with people all the time? SO not my thing.
I am too much of an individual
You know what types of moms happily fit in at PTA meetings? The same girls who were “popular” in high school. They are made up (and usually headed) by the same kinds of control freaks I avoided. There’s always that one woman who tries to boss everyone else around, and there’s that woman who is just good at EVERYTHING and you feel inadequate just standing next to her. There’s the mom who makes 75 mini cupcakes all shaped like hearts or some shit, and there’s the one who judges everyone on everything. I dread interacting with these moms. I dread the day when I am forced to attend some parent-supervised party for the sake of my kid, and I hear “we don’t do x in our house” or “don’t you realize that has x amount of preservatives?” These are the types of moms who lobby governments to make PE mandatory until graduation. I HATE those moms. Those moms make the lives of other peoples’ offspring hell! I’m serious, here! The “healthy lunches” moms and the “active lifestyle” moms need to butt out already, because I actually remember what I was like as a kid. Hell, I’m STILL like that today, and I will tell you that no matter how many programs and shit moms lobbied for, there will always be kids who resist and find ways to cheat the system. I was that kid.
How could I possibly sit through a meeting and discuss ways to change “unhealthy” habits of other peoples’ children and keep a straight face? Listen up, PTA people! That “extra” PE that you lobbied for? It didn’t promote any enjoyment in physical activity for me. Quite the opposite, actually. You see, what you bubble-headed idealists fail to realize is that forcing people into doing something they don’t want to do makes them not want to do that thing even more! In fact, by 10th grade (before you assholes decided to make PE mandatory up to graduation) I was celebrating the END of forced physical education. I ditched most of the classes and went to “make up classes” at the end of the year, during finals, just so that I WOULDN’T HAVE TO DO PE SUMMER SCHOOL OR REPEAT THE CLASS NEXT YEAR. You get it yet? I literally went to class so that I wouldn’t have to do that shit ever again! And now that I’m an adult? My physical activity comes in the form of walking to the store when I feel like going out, or walking around the house. I don’t play sports. I hate sports. You know WHY I hate sports? BECAUSE I WAS FORCED TO PLAY SPORTS IN PE!!! It is YOUR fault that I don’t enjoy a “healthy, active lifestyle.”
And now I see that you’re lobbying to ban junk food from schools. Even birthday cupcakes are a big “no no” with you guys! Seriously, get your heads out of your asses! You know what happens with “healthy” lunches if a kid doesn’t want to eat them? They get trashed. Or parts of it will get trashed. You know how my parents managed to get me to eat my lunches at school? They packed things I would actually eat. I ate those things. If they packed something “healthy” that I didn’t want to eat, I threw it out. Or gave it away. But mostly I threw it out because no kid wants to eat MORE carrot sticks in their lunch. Sorry, that shit’s just not happening, and you can ban junk food all you want, but all you’re going to do is have the kids either sneak it in their lunches or they won’t eat at all (and then snack on their way home after school). And how do I know this? Because I would have (and did) do those things! My point being that you really have NO control over your own kids outside of the home, let alone someone else’s kids.
And that, really, is the biggest reason why I won’t be joining the PTA. I just can’t stand the types of people who want to control everyone else’s behavior and lifestyle. I cannot be a part of an organization that spouts such mindless propaganda…unless I’m only there to undermine and infuriate the other moms. And even then, as fun as that might be, I would still be required to attend meetings and functions on a regular basis, so, no, it’s not worth even the entertainment of making the PTA’s heads explode at my logic and reasoning.
But I’m totally bringing birthday cupcakes to my son’s school. Never let it be said that I’m a bad mother 😉