Is the PTO for Me?

The Real PTO

Let’s face it, when most people think of the PTO, their minds immediately jump to the movie Bad Moms and the role that Christina Applegate plays.  People are downright terrified of being coerced into the never-ending role of support by a power-hungry, demanding mother.  But I am here to tell you that it’s simply not that way at all!

Two years ago, I walked into the last PTO meeting of the year.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, that was the first meeting I was finally able to make, and I was petrified of what I might encounter, which seemed almost justified When I left that evening as the newly elected PTO secretary.  I had been sucked into that horrifying vortex and had no idea what I had gotten myself into!

When the school year began, I barely knew the other women who were on the board with me, let alone the expectations of what the board did.  All I knew was that I was the busy mother of a second grader, a three year old, and a one year old, along with being a full-time eighth grade English teacher and now a “crazy” PTO mom.  How was I going to survive what I had gotten myself into?  There was only one logical step to take- dive in headfirst and see what happened.

Two years later, I have discovered that being part of the PTO, no matter what role you take on, doesn’t require as much as TV and movies portray it needing.  All the other mothers on the board also work full-time and have two or more children to keep them busy at home as well.  We do a lot of our meetings via the phone or computer, but when we get together, there is a wonderful camaraderie, knowing that we are the driving force behind connecting the parents to the school so that we can work together to make it the best learning environment for our children.  Together, we figure out how we are going to balance being part of the PTO and being with our families as they experience our events, and we’ve made it work!

In addition, being a part of the PTO has allowed me to meet other families within the school, which enriches my own life, not just my children’s.  There is quote that says, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and there is no truer place that demonstrates this than through the PTO.  Whether you can offer up as little as twenty minutes of set-up to as much as spearheading an entire event, there is a place for everyone.  Every little bit matters. The greater the parental involvement is, the more that we will be able to give back to our children.

Our time as the PTO board is drawing to a close, and while we will definitely continue to help out throughout the year, we are searching for some new parents to take over in the four lead roles.  You could take some time to some soul-searching to see if this might be for you, or you can just be like me and jump in with both feet.  Either way, I can promise you that it will be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve ever had!

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