Keeping Up With The PTA Joneses and Other Back To School Stressors
With the first few weeks of school comes all the notes and letters requesting that parents sign up for one thing or another.
I am always a bit nervous about signing up for things at my kids school because sometimes I don’t get it right.
Like last year, when at my kindergartner’s “publishing party” I had signed up to bring the coffee. I had completely forgotten about the event that morning until, after dropping everyone one off - three kids in three different schools and the husband at the train station – I sat at my desk, ready to start my day’s work when I saw the note on my calendar for my kid’s event. I ran to the school, made it into the classroom only minutes into it and delighted in the joy in my son’s eyes when he saw me enter the room. The “party” itself was only 30 minutes long but I had forgotten to bring the coffee. The classroom parent (God bless her) made a beeline to me and sternly whispered, “You were supposed to bring the coffee!”
I apologized over and over, saying I forgot, telling her how happy I was I had even made it at all – but she didn’t have time to listen to my pathetic tales of pathetic momhoodom. She turned swiftly on her heals and stomped away, never speaking to me again for the remainder of the school year and giving me cold looks as a reminder of what a failure I was.
School is stressful, but not because of the lunches or the early wake ups and efforts to get them there on time. The ridiculous amount of homework given to 1st graders and the constant school closings does contribute to this, but for some of us, it’s the inability to keep up with the PTA Joneses or to remember to bring the damn coffee or doughnuts or whatever.
I love going to my kids’ events at school when I can. It makes me feel good, and I know it makes my children feel great. Of course I want to be a part of their experiences whenever possible. And, I am happy to write that check if it will contribute to my school, my kids’ classroom, and whatever else enriches their learning and time there.
But, I falter, quite a bit actually, and I hate the “play dates” with other parents, and sometimes I hate the other parents too. I’m the mom who is well intentioned, but somewhat anti-social. And yes, I forget about school events and I forget the effing coffee too. But I’m a good mom, who aspires for a good school year and wants that best for her children. Surely there must be a place in heaven for me – regardless of my lack on interest for volunteering and mingling. Right?
Either way, I will roll with the punches to help make it one of the best years for my boys. It might be another year of not knowing anyone’s name, or what kid belongs to what parent. It might be another year of running late to events and forgetting whatever it was I signed up for. It might be another year of not volunteering for anything and not offering to be there at PTA meetings. But, it will most definitely be another year when I try my hardest to be the best mom for my kids through this process and I have to believe that this counts for something.