When a child first starts school full-time, there are a lot of things that are going to be scary for mom and dad and, of course, scary for their pint-sized student. After all, the entire family is entering a new world that they’ve never seen before. The race to wake up and get to school on time, getting to know a child’s teacher, making sure s/he is happy and socializing with friends, and of course, the facing the dreaded homework.
But there’s something else that’s much more frightening than all of the above: the school’s Parent Teacher Association.
Usually ruled and controlled by several parents that are heavily invested in the school, but that’s not such a bad thing. Schools need good volunteers. These individuals make all of the important decisions that will affect not only the school and their administration, but your family’s personal life, too. Anyone who has had a child in the elementary and middle school years will tell you that if there is one group of people that you don’t want to upset, it’s the PTA. Yes, they keep tabs on you. Yes, they know which brownies are not gluten-free. And yes, here are the important things you need to know about the ‘PTA Mom.’
20 She’s Got Her Eye On You
She might seem very nice at first, lovely in fact, and even accommodating – especially if you are new to the school. But rest assured, the PTA mom that you just met – with the baby blue Mercedes and Tory Burch flats along with perfectly coifed hair in the morning - has her eye on you. This mom said on Reddit, “One of the PTA moms was actually the first mom to introduce herself to me when my daughter started out as the new kid. I was afraid that we wouldn’t make any friends, but this mom was actually very helpful and offered guidance.”
19 She's Checking Your School Statements
Ok, we might have said that she wants to look at your tax statements, but we were joking. She can’t do that. Or at least, she shouldn’t dare even ask for it. But she might keep tabs on how much you donate to the school’s fundraisers, if and when you participate in any of the auctions and how much you donate to the classrooms. But don’t fret about it. It’s her job. Someone’s got to do it. As part of the PTA, they need to make sure that all of the money donated is allocated well and distributed where it needs to go.
18 She's Tracking Your Volunteer Log-In Hours
Yes, it’s also someone’s job to make sure that everyone’s volunteer hours at school are logged in and credited for properly. And yes, that job belongs to someone on the PTA. If you have a volunteer policy at your school or if there are certain hours that have to be met each year, it might be her responsibility to make sure you are credited for what you are due. This mom said on Facebook, “My child’s school requires we volunteer 20 hours a year, either in or outside of the classroom. I can never track it on my own, so the PTA does it for me.”
17 She has an eye on your Child
In some cases, students are also required to put in volunteer hours, and especially at the high school level. After all, everyone knows that learning and giving back happens outside of the classroom and on the weekends, too. And yes, the PTA helps with that, too. They might not be keeping direct tabs as to where your child is going but in some instances, they might provide different ideas or organize ways that your child can volunteer in your community. This can be at pet shelters, retirement homes, and so on. They might also put together car washes and bake sales.
16 They're involved in the School Fundraisers
Speaking of car washes, bake sales, magazine drives, and yes, fall festivals, there’s someone who has to organize all of the school fundraisers, right? And yes, that’s where the pack of PTA moms comes in. Hey, we all know that money doesn’t grow on trees and it certainly doesn’t grow on the schoolyard trees either (at least not in this school district my family lives in). This PTA mom confessed on Facebook, “I do it every year but it always feels like a full-time job. Even doing something like getting old clothes and shoes collected for the needy takes a heap of work.”
15 she's Managing The School Car Line
Here’s something that everyone can agree on: the school drop off and pick up line can either be very smooth or efficient, or it can be a dreaded nightmare. It all depends on how organized it is, and if the other parents are actually paying attention to the rules. And who do you think is directing all the cars in the morning to make sure your child makes it to his or her classroom safely? You guessed it. The PTA moms. They are there at the crack of dawn, even if they don’t have to be. Someone needs to hand them a Starbucks at 7am. They could definitely use it!
14 She’s Always Parked First
With that being said, the PTA moms are always the first ones at school and the last ones to leave. And yes, it does sometimes feel like an unpaid full-time job, but someone has to do it, right? Seeing how much teachers have to do every day, it’s the moms who volunteer that help tie up the loose ends. And unfortunately, they don’t get much credit for all the things they do, either. She might not get a good reputation (and some sneers from the other working moms), but she does it anyway. The PTA is an important backbone of the school and always has been.
13 She’s At Every MNO
As many moms will tell you, everyone needs a break. You can’t go running on half empty throughout the week, especially when you are low on fuel. Thankfully, there is at least one mom who understands you (without having to say much) and that’s why she organizes the MNO. And for those not in the know, the MNO is what you would call the much-needed “mom’s night out.” This mom said on Facebook, “We have a lovely mother, who is also on the PTA, and she organizes a mom’s night out for everyone at least once a month. And the best part is, she doesn’t leave anyone out. Everyone is invited.”
12 She Looks Perfect At 7am, Too
There are those moms who roll out of bed and take their kids to school, with their messy bun on top of their heads and their pajamas still on. And yes, they might or might not have brushed their teeth, but we are not here to talk about that. And then there are those moms who look perfect at 7am, too. This PTA mom said, “A lot of people have the misconception that I don’t work. But between taking care of the house, my four kids, and doing everything I do at the school, I need to get up at 5am every morning. I have my coffee, I go for my run, and I start my to-do list. That’s why I have the time to get ready – I go to bed early.”
11 They oversee Teacher Appreciation Week
Let’s face it: if there is one group of people who don’t get enough appreciation in this world, it’s definitely the teachers and the school administrators who do so much to make sure that your child gets a proper education, day in and day out. That’s why the PTA organizes a special Teacher Appreciation Week every year. The PTA mom said on Facebook, “I send out emails reminding other parents to contribute if they can. It can be as simple as a $5 gift card to Starbucks or a handmade card from their child or even a simple flower. There are so many ways you can show your appreciation to your child’s teacher every year.”
10 It's her business What You do On Weekends
The PTA mom wants to know what you are doing on the weekends. And no, it’s not because she’s creepy. It’s because she needs your help and knows how pressed you are for time, especially if you are working a full-time job. This mom said on Facebook, “You wouldn’t believe the amount of cutting, gluing, organizing and glitter bombs I have to clean up every weekend. And this is just so we can hang up informational posters in the school’s cafeteria. There’s so much to do every week and a lot of these projects are done in the evenings and on the weekends.”
9 Your Husband Is her business, too
Yes, the PTA could use all of the helping hands that they can get – and from your partner or spouse, too. Why? Because they need more than just a few people to help set up the props for the school play this year. This mom said on Facebook, “We needed someone to help put up Snoopy’s doghouse for a Charlie Brown play. We asked around and were over-whelmed with the support we got from some very handy fathers and husbands who were willing to sacrifice their time on a Saturday morning to make this project work. It really does take a village at times. We are grateful.”
8 Her Life Revolves Around The School
Now, don’t make the assumption that every PTA mom has a clear schedule on her hands or that she doesn’t have a full-time job outside of the school, per say. A lot of parents – which are both moms and dads – join the PTA because they want to make their school a better place, too. This mom said on Facebook, “If your kid goes to the school, you should be involved, or at least have some sort of interest to what is going on. We know that people are busy and that they have jobs and sometimes even two jobs. That’s why we are there, to work for everyone’s kids, not just ours.”
7 She is Always Looking For More Help
For a PTA member, her job is never done. There’s always something that needs to be organized, something that needs to put be together, and more people needed in the realm. That’s why PTA moms are always campaigning to get other people to help, too. This mom also said on Facebook, “One year we had 5 members on our association. The next year we had 11. And then after that it dwindled down to 4. It’s not stable, but we can use all of the help that we can get each year. It seems like there is never enough people.”
6 She Is Part Of A Clique
“Cliques” usually have a bad rap, especially when they are associated with school groups, whether it’s through the students or the parents. But yes, when you are a PTA mom or dad, you are automatically part of a clique, but it’s not what you think. “I joined the PTA when my daughter was in third grade,” says this mom on Facebook, “Yes, there was drama and there was plenty of rollercoaster moments. But at the same time, we developed the kind of friendship that has remained for well after our children graduated from high school. The PTA moms became part of my lifelong sisterhood.”
5 She’s On A First Name Basis With The Principal
Well, someone’s got to be the one who communicates everything to the principal, right? And you don’t think that the PTA mom is going to the principal or head school director the same way the rest of the student body will. Yes, the PTA mom is on a first name basis with the principal. The mom said on Facebook, “A lot of people don’t realize this, but going back to school and dealing with the office staff and the principal, it’s all very intimidating at first. It makes me feel like I’m a student again! I get nervous going to the principal’s office.”
4 She's Basically Like An Employee, But Unpaid
Yes, we will go ahead and say what everyone is thinking, but no one dares to say out loud: the PTA is a group of moms who are kind of like school employees, but just the unpaid kind. So how do they get rewarded? This mom says, “There isn’t much of a reward. A lot of people have misconceptions about us. They think we are bored housewives. But that’s far from the truth. Some of us have seen what goes on inside of our children’s schools. We just want to make it a better place for everyone. Our kids spend more time at school than at home.”
3 She Won’t Sleep Until The Job Is Done
It’s a good thing that the PTA mamas are such a determined lot of people: that’s because most of them won’t sleep until the job is done. This mom said on Facebook, “We were given the task of organizing a bake sale for the choir and an upcoming trip they needed to take that was out of state. I spent an entire 48 hours baking all sorts of cookies, brownies, and you name it. From gluten-free to vegan, to dairy free, I along with a few other moms did it all. And the result? We raised $700 to help pay for some travel costs.”
2 She Expects 100 Percent Attendance
Let’s face it: the PTA can’t do it all alone. In some cases, there are thousands of kids who might attend an elementary school but there are only a handful of parents who actually volunteer to help make the school a better place. That’s why she expects 100 percent attendance from those who help. This mom said, “There’s nothing more disheartening that arranging a PTA meeting just for a total number of five people to show up. Where are all of the other parents? Doesn’t anyone care about the school budget anymore? Or how we are supposed to get money for new iPads?”
1 Her Job Is Never Done
Truth be told, a PTA mom’s job is never done. But despite all of the back office politics that usually happen (and yes, it happens at most schools, whether people want to admit to it or not), know that she will never stop fighting for what’s right. She’s doing this for her children’s future, and for your children, too. That’s why she reaches out to everyone. This PTA mom, who is also the President, says, “I don’t want people to look at me like I am some kind of Type A, helicopter mom who can’t let go. I just think that the school could use a new coat of paint on the walls, the teachers should get better couches in their break room and that someone needs to do something about the turf near the playground.”
Reference: Facebook surveys