By this point in the school year, you’ve probably received approximately eight million flyers from your child’s teachers. (Not to mention the artwork and other paper mess that comes home.) The number of flyers is so overwhelming, it can be tempting to dump the whole pile straight from the backpack into the trash.
But TRUST, I read every word of those flyers, lest my daughter come home distraught because I didn’t read the flyer that said she was allowed to store ONE stuffed animal in her cubby.
One of my favorite serial-flyer-hander-outers is my children’s Parent-Teacher Associations. These groups come in all shapes and sizes and acronyms — PTA, PTO, PTSA, PTSD — and they are uniformly relentless.
I’m not really sure what the PTA did when I was a kid. The only thing I remember about them was that I and my sisters were child models for the Montgomery County PTA handbook. One hundred percent true story. To me, the PTA embodied posing next to a bookshelf in the library with a giant grin on my face and a backpack on my shoulders. Also, there might have been casseroles involved?
I’m sure things have changed since then.
In my brief history as a parent, I have been to one PTA meeting, and it consisted of an hour and a half of complaining about what last year’s PTA did or did not do. Not really an accurate representation of what the PTA does, I admit.
Because here’s what I learned in between the meetings and flyers: the PTA gets. it. done. This core group of parents and teachers who seem to know every kid in the school is going to be one of your child’s greatest advocates (outside of yourself, of course). While I am on-purpose not a member of the PTA (I can only handle so many meetings), I am happy to sign up whenever they need volunteers. The thing is, the PTA might have their shiz together, but they need lots of hands to execute it all.
Because I’m a parent who also works outside of the home, I can’t necessarily make it to my child’s school to read to the class or volunteer during lunch friends. But anything after school hours or on the weekends, you can bet I will be sporting my school tee-shirt and lanyard.
But we are busy people. Between day jobs, homework, soccer practice, church functions, gymnastics, etc., it seems like something’s gotta give. And I have to constantly keep reminding myself that being present in any way I can is better than being spread so thin I might as well not even show up. (Inhale. Exhale. Once more with feeling.)
So if you haven’t already gotten The Flyers, be ready. Be ready to make some tough choices. (HAH. Parenting 101, am I right?!) And know that even if you aren’t able to help this time, there are enough parents around just waiting to be asked. Lots of parents want to be involved as reasonably as possible so if you aren’t able to help with the Teacher Appreciation dessert buffet, there will always be another opportunity to help out.
(You probably won’t get to model in the handbook, though.)
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Jessica Buttram parents, writes, laughs, and eats too much chocolate. She has no practical advice and zero life hacks to offer for this whole parenting gig, but she makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich, and that’s something, right? When she’s not bribing her kids with Doritos to make them sit still and snuggle for just a few minutes longer, she can probably be found vacuuming Dorito crumbs out of the couch. Her family is her whole world, except for the part that belongs to coffee. You can find her @jbuttwhatwhat and meetthebuttrams.com.