Friday, June 17, 2011

The Day My Momma Stuck it to the PTO

There is a country song...actually, there is always a country song...that is still dead on when it comes to today's "parent organizations." I am speaking specifically about the PTO (or PTA depending on what state and era of misogyny you live in). Now, to be fair, I have never actually been to a PTO meeting so I can only tell you what my experience has been "on the outside" of this highly stealth, relentless fundraising machine that seems to run on the fumes of guilt coming from the "other" parents, us supposed non-involved folks who refuse to buy friggin' mail order cookie batter and strudel cakes for $900 a piece and sit back and wonder why the hell all the kids are getting fat.

Now I'm getting started.

This blog would not have happened, I would've kept silent for the next 10 years of wrapping paper, danishes, cookies, sh*tty candles, cheap body lotions and stale pies if I hadn't gotten an email this week basically telling the parents of the children in the school that we all suck for not being able to push through a June 18 carnival. Apparently, we, in our presumed apathy and lack of love for our own children, suck for not wanting devote an entire Saturday at the ass end of a difficult school year to some crappy ring toss in the gym and maybe a pocket lady with lead infused toys in her apron.

I think you get where I'm going with this. Who are these people, the Gestapo? Am I supposed to feel guilty that whenever a fundraiser packet, actually make that two fundraiser packets because I have two kids, comes home with stock photos of chocolate or pies that the moment I pull it out of the book bag, I sigh and chuck it in the recycling? Neither I nor my family (specifically the grandparents of these children, who by the way, in order to be fair would have to get something from each of the 9 grandchildren) can afford to buy any of this sh*t, which is exactly what it is. If I'm going to spend 40 bucks on pastry items, I will head to the local bakery and get it fresh, thanks. And if I need wrapping paper for the hundreds of Christmas presents I have to buy every year, then, Dollar Store, here I come.

And may I gently remind you that in addition to the set of two packets that come home, the individual classrooms also conduct fundraisers and can drives and presentations and parties, etc. This means, for me, a single parent, who really is only worried about groceries and shelter and happiness at this point, that I have to keep track of two sets of permission slips, field trip fees, last minute "mom I need you to make 6 dozen cookies" or, most recently, a purchase of 4 bags of veggie chips (to the tune of $4 a bag), oh and, can you take FOUR hours off of work for a school picnic.

What has happened to reality? And on top of all this pressure, you're going to send me a "You suck" email because I simply don't have another 6 hours and $30 to spend on some stupid carnival on the one day I have off this week. Ever think that maybe I'd like to take my kids out for a friggin' ice cream, or maybe sleep in, make some pancakes, go for a nice hike?

And here's another tip, oh uberparents who are clearly better somehow than the rest of us, if you're going to gossip maliciously about other parents don't do it in the school lobby. We all can hear you, even amid the throng of children being corralled to the buses. I may not have the cash for the raw cookie dough or the Tiffany's wrapping paper, but I know what class is. You can't sell that in a shiny booklet.

Oh, and FYI, maybe if some of you got a job you wouldn't have time to think about how crappy the rest of us are for trying to keep our heads above water.

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