So in recent years, I’ve finally stopped hiding in the corner at birthday parties. (For reasons I can’t explain, I just never felt as “mommish” as the other moms and rather than bluff my way through these festive events, I instead chose to exhibit a rabid interest in whatever my little darlings were doing, be that leaping in a bouncy castle or stuffing themselves full of cake. Stupid, I know.)
I remain terrified of PTA moms.
It’s ridiculous, I realize that. I’ve been a stepmother for longer than many of them have been mothers. I’ve also got a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old. I can multi-task and juggle with the best of anyone. But for some reason, PTA moms just seem more … together. And some of them are rather militant hardcore devoted to the cause. I feel kind of flaky by comparison.
I blame my job in part. Because of what I do, it’s hard for me to commit to things. Like committees. Just as everyone’s gearing up for the fall festival, I’m begging my editors to send me to cover the next hurricane predicted to hit the Gulf.
I thought about hitting a few meetings this year, but then I remembered a former co-worker’s long-ago warning: “If you go, they will expect you to sign up for committees. And once you do that … ”
She shook her head ominously.
I, still a new mom at the time, looked skeptical.
She continued: “I’m just saying. If you ever end up accidentally at one of those meetings, wait for a distraction and RUN!”
I’m all for being involved in my kid’s school. But I just don’t have that … confidence … PTA moms seem to possess.
For a newspaper story, I can interview a pissed-off ATF agent and listen to his threats to pack me off to jail without flinching.
But last year, when a PTA mom walked up — with no introduction whatsoever — and barked, “Will you be able to man a booth at the fall festival?” I nearly peed my pants in terror.
I suck at fundraising too. I hate asking people to buy things. Last year, the only person I approached was my mother. This year, I hit up two close friends. (Thank you Amy Upshaw and Mom on a Wire!) Oh, and my mom. And then I ordered some stuff too, just so my daughter would be eligible for the promised ice cream reward.
I feel stupid admitting all this. I’m actually a pretty outgoing and competent person.
But when it comes to the PTA … well, I sure admire the bravery of that Harper Valley mom.