Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Preschool PTA meeting - somebody shoot me now

I was nominated by the teachers to be the room parent this year for Milly's preschool class. Admittedly, I was flattered. Until I realized that I've fallen for this trick before. When I was young, my Mom used tell me how great I was at setting the table.

So I thought, how hard can it be? It's Preschool for God's sake. One of the responsibilities of being a room parent is attending the monthly PTA meetings. Once a month, for an hour. Again, how bad can it be?

Let me give you a run down of tonight's meeting...

The thing is supposed to start at 6:30pm. Ten minutes to seven, we're just getting started on the agenda. The agenda? Looked good on paper. There were topics. They appeared to be listed in order of importance. So far, so good. The Mom in charge of the meeting possibly used to be, or deeply longs to be, a project manager. Except for the fact that she clearly never learned rule # 1 of running a meeting - be sure your audience is still awake at the end of your explanation of every topic up for discussion. She also seemed oblivious to rule # 2 - follow the topics IN THE ORDER that they appear on the agenda.

The first topic starts a debate about the best way to collect money for the teacher's wish list for new items for the classrooms. One set of room Moms wants to (and apparently has a bunch of time to) keep track of the list of needed items like a wedding registry - including links to where to get each item, and allow parents multiple options including buying an item themselves, donating money for a specific item or donating money to a general fund. Great for them. Another set of room Moms want to send out a request for money and leave it at that. Even better for them. The wannabearealprojectmanager Mom wants to have the same process for all the classrooms, and insists that we all agree on one method of donation collection. The topic goes on for a good 25 minutes.

Next randomly decided on topic, fundraiser nights at local restaurants, which leads into another chunk of wasted time discussing which is the best sushi place in town, and whether they are both authentic and organic.

The next topic spurs a half hour discussion on whether or not we should ask some parents to come take pictures of the kids twice a month, store and organize said pictures, and then create yearbooks for parents to buy at the end of the year. After detailed banter on how this could actually be accomplished...I asked if anyone of the parents in attendance at this meeting would buy these yearbooks themselves. Pretty much everyone said no. There's another 30 minutes of my life I will never get back.

Finally, we've arrived at one of the more important topics, the upcoming holiday pageant - held at the church next to the preschool. A big decision needs to be made...should we have the youngest preschoolers ready at the front of the church before people arrive, or should we have them walk down the isle because that is cuter. When it come to 2 year old toddlers, who chooses cute over avoidance of screaming and tears? Tell me. Who? Then there's another big debate over whether or not to have dessert at the school after the pageant. Part of the group says yes, and part of the group doesn't want to give their kids sugar in the evening. I have an idea! If you don't want your kid to have sugar - don't attend the dessert after the pageant! Really, does it need to be this difficult?

We are now two hours into this one hour meeting, and we have one more topic left. The room parents need to send out an email soliciting money for the teacher's holiday gifts. One of the Moms in attendance happens to be an elementary school teacher, and she assures us that the teachers will be more than happy with good old cash. But we can't just leave it at that...oh no. One of the Moms thinks we should get cute change purses to present the cash in. I can tell that I'm not the only parent losing my mind at this point, because another Mom suggests that we just get a cute envelope for the cash instead.

It's now quarter to nine, and everyone starts packing up their stuff as soon as they hear the words, "so, are there any other items anyone wants to discuss?". One parent asks when we need to send out this email solicitation. The answer is by the end of this week. Yes, that's right. The most important, most urgent agenda item to be discussed was covered in overtime, and we weren't even able to come up with the wording that everyone should use - because, yes, there is specific wording that we are supposed to use. Apparently.

If you've made it the end of this blog post without nodding off on your laptop, can you please attend next month's meeting for me?

13 comments:

Melissa said...

Oh, my friend, I have been there. I feel your pain. Fortunately, as you move up, (most) of the parents get a little more realistic, especially if they have more than one.

But do keep us posted on the goings on. It's great entertainment! :)

Christy said...

Oh my god that sounds like pure torture. Poor Kari! Better luck next month.

ps am I the only one who thinks it's weird to give money to teachers?! I mean, it's like tipping your hairdresser. I don't know, since I'm not there yet. But I'd think a gift card if you're going that route, or maybe a nice purse. But maybe I'm the weird one! hehe.

Headless Mom said...

Precisely the reason I NEVER attend PTA meetings. Ugh.

Mary Freaking Poppins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Freaking Poppins said...

I'm there with you. We should have warned each other. I, too, was slightly flattered at first. Then you're suckered in... It's shocking, isn't it? Unbelievably shocking. We could share stories... hell, we could write a book...the PTA Chronicles... let me know if you're in. ;)

Issas Crazy World said...

You have just completely reminded me why I never sign up for these things.

I'm more the, can I bring plates to the party parent.

Trisha said...

"When it come to 2 year old toddlers, who chooses cute over avoidance of screaming and tears? Tell me. Who?"

Can I just say, more then you think? It amazes me sometimes...

I love your blog though. Gave me some good laughs since I can fill in some of the blanks. :)

Lish said...

I got to the end, and I enjoyed it the whole way. I think there's something wrong with me because I really enjoy sane people complaining about insane people as long as I'm not involved. Makes me feel all warm and smug inside.

anymommy said...

Uh huh. I'm on the coop preschool board. I feel your pain. I just keep telling myself that people really do like to be heard. A lot. For a long time.

Zip n Tizzy said...

This made my morning. I'm sorry for you to have had to go through it, but I'm laughing inside because it's so true.

Makes me think of a traveling group I was thinking of attending in high school. I finally dropped out because after 6 months of planning, each meeting revolved around whether (we) the teens would be allowed to do drugs and have sex while on the trip. I couldn't believe we were even having the discussion let alone that the adults were allowing it to dominate every meeting.

Lucy said...

I hate to tell you this but it doesn't get any better. You obviously have missed my posts on Basketball Boosters (LOL) and I totally feel for you. My youngest child, my daughter is a Senior now and I have dealt with room parents, athletic parents and drama parents, ALL parents are the same at these meetings. BIG ideas that never pan out and they over think the little things that truly do not matter in the big scheme of things. You are just beginning, Good Luck!!!

FranticMommy said...

oohhh honey..I SO feel your pain. I've chaired many projects/meetings and the best advice is to keep a time line and stick to it. Allot x-minutes for certain topics and stick with it like Nazi. There may be a few "we are moving on to the next topic-go pound sand if you don't like it" moments, but if you don;t do that, Moms will drone on forever and suck the air from the room. Good luck!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I have a hard time with planning groups...I'm either completely apathetic or much too intense and controlling. Or bored.

I love that thing about your mom telling you how great you were at setting the table. It made me laugh. Particularly because I do that to my husband all the time. About other things - like figuring out directions or negotiating prices. Or chatting with people. Pretty much everything I don't want to do (especially if it makes me feel apathetic or bored).

 

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