I hate the PTO

I know…. i try not to “hate” people…. and I try not to stereotype.

But seriously…. my daughter’s school’s pto… never fails to get on my nerves.

Part of this is kinda to be expected. She attends a traditional magnet, and a very small one… only 2 classes of each grade with 25 kids each.

What sort of people send their kids to a traditional magnet? Those with more traditional values.

As such, most of the moms clearly are stay at home moms. Actually, I was really beginning to wonder last year if I was quite possibly the only single parent in the kindergarten, based both on the attendance at evening open house type things and by the lack of accommodation.

So, we live in different worlds.

This became apparent first on day 1…. kid send on the wrong bus, to home, instead of to daycare. Office seemed clueless.. what do you mean you can’t wait 2 weeks for a bus transfer to go through when you had the right address on the forms you filled out at enrollment in the first place? (Fortunately, a couple of older kids from the school do go to the same daycare… so it wasn’t like there wasn’t already a bus going there that she rode to get to school in the morning….)

Next major round…. cookie dough. No, I can not pick it up during the day friday. You may feel its accommodating to allow me to pick it up morning or afternoon before 5, but for parents who work full time, it is not. Nor is leaving it with the secretary for me to pick up during the same time frame monday. Next time, if you can’t schedule an evening pick up time for your fund raiser, let me know in advance so I can be sure my child does not participate.

Then there was the conferences. You can pick what time you want me to meet with you all you want, and send home notes 2 days in advance all you want, if its in the middle of the day on a day I work, I will not be there. Even if my child doesn’t have school that day. Again, the concept of daycare.

So anyway…. that was last year.

So I got to enrollment. And really it wasn’t so much the actions…. it was the looks. And yes, a few comments.

My hair is tossed into a pony tail, I’m wearing a renfest tshirt, stretchy jeans, and crocs. Clean… just not exactly high effort. The mother at the entrance probably spent more time making her hair perfect this morning than I’ve spent on mine all week, including time spent washing it. Just a look from her… I think she wondered if I was in the right place.

The next one was exchanging paperwork packets sent home and filled out with folders of info. Have I mentioned we have 4 cats? Well, one of them ate about an inch of the corner of my top two sheets. Nothing essential lost… just looked funny. She gave me a look, I joked about the cats practicing for eating homework, and rather than even giving me a weak smile at the bad joke, I get an eye roll. I swear, I’m a bit surprised that she didn’t hold my papers at a distance by the very tips of her fingers.

So then comes number 3… miss supply packet seller. She has her daughters along to help hand things out… all three of which look like they’ve never seen a mud puddle and have hair that looks like a rehearsal for prom night. The deal with the packets is that they buy supplies in bulk, and make packets of them… so that you can buy it all together and then only have about 6 more items on your list to purchase.
Honestly, looking at the prices it isn’t that great of a deal, but the actual reason why I wasn’t purchasing the packet was because they only take cash.. which I did not have at hand and the trip to go get cash and return would be more of a pain and time-taker than just grabbing the supplies myself at walmart.
But apparently I’m the only one who doesn’t just automatically pull out the wallet and hand them a 50 from the stack of them kept there. I got this patronizing tone…. yes I understand what the packet is… just give me the list of what my kid needs. And actually, they didn’t even have just a plain supply list, what they handed me was a list of what the packet includes and what I would still need to buy on my own. Whatever… its a list… but still…

So then comes the volunteer table. Pages and pages of things I could sign up for. Huge table filled with sign up sheets. Overly helpful lady high pressure to get me onto some committee…. until I asked a vital question… are there any that are evening only? Um…. um….. um…. oh there is skate party, but thats already filled. Yes, a grand total of one thing I could actually volunteer for as they ask that didn’t require missing work to do so. Which yes, she actually did suggest.

The lady handing out laminated, perfectly cut out colorful paper animals that identify which bus a child goes on didn’t seem to appreciate my asking her if my daughter’s red scotty dog meant she would be on the bus to daycare this year instead of the bus home. The best she could come up with was eventually figuring out that her scotty dogs meant a certain route number…. which was not 7. So hopefully the numbers haven’t changed from last year, as while I never did get the right card for her bus route and times last year, I know 7 was the original and wrong bus.

So enrollment is done.

I’ve met my quota of making myself feel like random clueless trash mom for the next half decade or so… but of course, the school year is only beginning.

But I can’t help but remember when I did enrollment with my daughter from pk, both in the suburb district and in the neighborhood school she is assigned to if she didn’t attend the magnet. Neither one had the same effect.

While the suburb was still a touch soccer-mommish, they had a connection with reality. And the neighborhood school volunteers were grateful I spoke english and understood the process. Racially 1/3 hispanic, 1/3 caucasian, 1/3 other…. nothing was a given… forms usually came home with 2 languages on front and 2 others on the back. Though interestingly enough, in spite of my daughter’s class last year being almost 1/2 of asian and mideastern decent, I didn’t see a single other language on a form that I remember. Maybe more oddly, all the pto moms I’ve had issues with have all been white in spite of less than half (41%) of the school’s kids being white.

I suppose this is what comes with the curriculum though… the fact that the others attracted to such curriculum live on a totally different planet than I do.

At least the kid whose hyper-roommother mom made her valentines out of fully scrapbooked pages (with like 4 different sets of doilies and hearts and several pictures of her daughter looking like an angel) and hosted like every class party is in the other class this year. 2 classes… was a 50/50 shot.


One thought on “I hate the PTO

  1. tlc4women says:

    God I remember those days. When the moms competed for the mom of the year award at every event.

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