I have a confession: I am a horrible, neglectful mother.
You want to know how I know? I didn’t join the PTO, and my kids’ elementary school staff doesn’t know me by name. I do not have a Tier 3 badge, and I have never been on a field trip with my kids.
I go to the school and have lunch with my kids a few times each school year, and I have volunteered at class parties here and there. I show up for parent-teacher conferences and open houses. I don’t have mom guilt about many things, so I’m trying to decide exactly how guilty I should feel about this ambivalence toward being involved in my kids’ school.
It seems that there are some things that it’s okay to not be into — if you’re not a Pinterest mom, no biggie! You don’t get too worried about organic foods? Cool, you do you. But being uninterested in getting involved at the school? HOW DARE YOU. Even Hubby gives me side-eye about this one.
I grew up in a rural, working class, small southern town. Nobody’s mama was at the school, ever. (Actually, Jennifer’s mom dropped off cupcakes for a fourth grade class party once.) I didn’t have any friends with stay-at-home parents. When I was a kid, we had teachers at school and parents at home, and there was no crossover — as Lu would say “back in the old days.”
I’m not a total slacker with being involved in my kids’ lives. I stay on top of the school work, I make sure homework is done, permission slips are signed and lunches are packed. I’m very involved in my kids’ sports and church activities. On school breaks we go on adventures that are always fun, and often educational. I love learning new things through experiences, and I hope I am passing that on to my children.
I am also very grateful that all you other parents are helping in our schools. I know every Williamson County elementary school is at or over capacity, and our teachers and administrators are working hard to stay ahead of the curve, so parent involvement in the school is important. I just can’t seem to find my inner PTO mom. Actually, maybe I just don’t want to?
Our school’s PTO hosts a huge fundraiser every fall that includes a silent auction. It is amazing and the kids love it. All of my friends volunteered for this event in some capacity. Except me, obviously. When another mom asked me what Bug’s kindergarten class was contributing to the auction, I had no idea. Come to think of it, I don’t know what Lu’s class did either.
I’m starting to think it was my parents’ generation who really started this whole “Women Can Do It All!” movement that is plaguing moms now. As a mom who works outside of the home, I think I’m still expected to do all the things my full-time mom friends do, but I know I have to choose something to be bad at or never ever sleep again and be a horrible, grumpy dragon-lady.
I’m choosing to be bad at PTO-ing. I say NO to committees. Plan the class craft? Nah. One more fundraiser? Nope.
But to my amazing friends who work so hard to make my kids’ school an amazing place- you’re my hero. I’m thankful for the hard work and face time you put in, and it shows in our school. Just please don’t ask me for anything more than a check and sincere admiration for your calling.
Overheard at the Salon: “The only celebrity I would freak out over seeing in real life is Justin Timberlake. He’s the most famous — I mean, he knows Jimmy Fallon.”
Julie Holt is a wife, mother of three, writer and suffers from chronic road rage. She loves to keep it real, but she is not lit or woke. Actually, she’s pretty basic. Her hobbies include naps, pizza and writing about herself in the third person. You can read Julie’s blog at jholtwriting.com or follow her on Facebook @julieslighterside.