Stepping Down From The PTA

I hit a milestone of sorts yesterday morning. I attended my last-ever PTA meeting at my daughter’s school.

I hesitate to say “last ever” because who knows what the future will bring? I did, after all,  *just* volunteer to sell cakes at my son’s school yesterday morning. And as all those who’ve ever been involved in a PTA well know, once you start selling cakes, it’s a slippery slope from there. (I once walked into a meeting intending to volunteer to bake some brownies and somehow walked out running the school’s largest fund-raiser for the next three years.)

But for this year at least, and quite possibly the next several, I’m done with the PTA.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’ve made a ton of friends through the PTA. It was the first way that I plugged into British society when I moved here from the States four years ago.

Raising money for the school has also made me feel like a responsible, engaged, committed parent. And it’s been a great use of that lonely, frustrated, administrative “project manager” who lives inside my writer body, crying out to anyone who will listen to set her free to just…run something.

And, hey, let’s face it, it’s the PTA that’s really given me the platform with which to run for Mayor of Hampstead.

On the other hand, it’s time to step down. I just got an incredibly detailed point-by-point email in my inbox from a fellow parent who’d like to see other parents coordinate more with teachers on how to bring additional resources to the school in these cash-strapped times. It’s a perfectly good idea and one that we may well need to implement. But whereas my inner Manager would have once gobbled up this email and skipped off to try to implement it, today I just hit “delete.” And happily so.

And that decision is not dictated by anything personal or even professional. It’s just that I no longer have the energy to put into the PTA. Or, better stated, I have that energy but it’s not energy that I wish to devote to the PTA anymore.

Because like jobs and careers and houses and seasons (cue The Byrds performing Turn, Turn, Turn), everything has a life cycle. Even your extra-curricular activities. And you need to acknowledge when you’ve lost your mojo and it’s time to move on.

So, farewell, class teas and school raffles and the laminator-for-making-posters-that-never-really-laminated-but-that-was-half-of-the-fun and all those local business owners who greet me by name and still offer me freebies in their shops just out of habit. It was a great ride.

And to the incoming crew, I say Godspeed.


Today I’m over on Politics Daily talking about the Pope’s Visit to the U.K.

Image: Charity Bake Sale by Shereen via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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  • Reply Sabrina

    September 16, 2010, 4:20 pm

    Ah, I love hearing that someone else is going through the same thing I have in the past. My own theory is that leadership of these organizations and events (my own “I am now done and have to leave” event was an After Prom party for several hundred kids)needs to change regularly or things get stagnant and folks get proprietary about approaches — at least that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it! Don’t get sucked into the next activity too quickly.

  • Reply Patricia

    September 16, 2010, 9:09 pm

    I once heard that the in the Hindu faith they believe the last child calls out his/her name at birth.
    I believe this is true for courageous acts of parenting too…after getting three children launched…I am ready to do just what I want to do…the problem being is my depression era formal Canadian Mum has ruthlessly trained me not to want for anything – “Just be pleasantly surprised dear, that way you will not get hurt.”

    So I just quit a new job for me because after the first week I released that contract they were offering did not include any pay…but a lot of taking the grief….Sorry mummy, but I do know I want to be paid these days

    I just quit being a Professional Volunteer. And no I do not want a dog…

  • Reply delialloyd

    September 16, 2010, 9:12 pm

    @Sabrina-your last piece of advice is well advised-I must *not* get sucked in again too quickly and definitely must not *run* whatever I do join!
    @Patricia-you are definitely right to want to get paid…and you deserve it. (PS Love the dog line=ha!)

  • Reply Daryl Boylan

    September 17, 2010, 12:24 pm

    Yes, well, the time inevitably comes. But you’re clearly glad you did it & moving on is also inevitable, as most of us understand — except, of course, the present Pope & his hard-core followers. I doubt that moving on is possible for them: change is the Enemy,any change, even or perhaps particularly, change for the better. Pity the poor old British tax-payers who get stuck with the bill.

  • Reply Shelley

    September 17, 2010, 2:31 pm

    Gosh, have you been reading my mind? I love doing projects for my running club, and was happy enough to accept the role of ‘vice-chair’ without any sort of job description. Now I’m chairing a race committee, editing the newsletter, organising the Christmas party and the next social event, not to mention a booklet on the club’s history for our 30th anniversary next year. It was one thing when I got to volunteer for projects, but now I have this ‘title’ I’m obligated to take on any and every job, it seems, that no one else picks up. I can see me finding another social outlet in the not too distant future. This golden goose is rather weary.

  • Reply delialloyd

    September 17, 2010, 2:35 pm

    I hear you, shelley! Just say “no” is my new motto – just literally had to restrain myself from doing set up at a bake sale for the PTA I just stood down from!!

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