Last year I found myself complaining about my childrens’ school. We have 11 elementary schools in town – and I kept hearing about all of the great programs and activities offered at other schools.
One school offered a “tough mudder” for kids, another a school play, another exciting field trips funded entirely by the PTO.
“This is fucking bullshit,” I told Mr. Gaga as I put yet another $8 into an envelope so that Sam could go to a park down the road and look at the soil.
Once I inadvertently complained to a PTO member of our school.
“Well,” she answered, sweet as pie…
The truth of that theory stung a bit.
I guess I couldn’t just go around talking shit about our school and our PTO if I wasn’t bringing anything to the table.
When a friend suggested I help out with a town-wide initiative to get children to eat healthier foods at school, I thought it might be something I could help with.
The purpose of the group was to help with creating a school garden that could ultimately teach children about gardening and utilize the herbs and vegetables at the yearly farmer’s market at the schools. Also someday – the goal would be to get the vegetables into the salad bars at schools.
“Well I love food.…” I thought to myself….
“And I hate fat children….hmmm”
“I’ll help!” I answered enthusiastically to my friend.
I mean how hard could it be? I am very smart – I
work well with others I like helping children I like children I can follow basic instructions.
So suddenly before I knew it – I had approximately 5 meetings on my schedule.
Apparently I had to meet with various groups to discuss how to grow a garden and create a good farmer’s market for our school.
The legwork was already done -after sitting through several meetings where people talked in circles and offered unsolicited tales of their gardening experiences, I felt it was time for some action.
I quickly made a few calls.
I secured a local cub scout troop to help build the garden. I chatted with a few parents that promised to help. I called some farmers that agreed to help at the farmer’s market.
I asked for money from the town-wide group for a new garden and they enthusiastically agreed. The school PTO agreed to give money as well.
It all took about 20 minutes total and a little networking.
When I emailed out my progress to the necessary contacts to get the ball rolling for the garden and market – I was met with radio silence.
I know that you want to have another meeting.
But I have fucking shit to do.
I know that these “meetings” where we all politely sip a beverage and look at each other earnestly while the other person speaks seems very important…But guess what?
President Obama doesn’t have this many meetings.
Maybe in the olden times mothers needed to gather around to chat about what they were doing but we don’t need to do this any more to be effective.
There’s social media, email, texting and cellular phone service.
I actually don’t need to speak to anyone face to face to be effective.
But then if you don’t go to 50 meetings and talk in circles……
What will you do??!!!
Zumba and tennis combined only takes up 2 hours!
What will you do???!
I stone-cold single-handedly solved all the problems and we were ready to roll.
But nobody wanted my help!!
I sent several emails to my PTO contact for the farmer’s market and the teacher in charge of the gardens.
I kept checking for their excited replies.
I was almost stalking them.
Then I stopped.
“Well fuck it,” I told a friend that I had enlisted to help.
“They don’t want our help I guess – and quite frankly I am very busy and I am not going to run around begging people to let me help them.”
I told another friend of my plight.
“You have to understand – these women have nothing to do and they want to feel very important and needed….by helping too much you are taking away their thunder.”
“Um – okay – well I am not familiar with people who don’t take help from others – because if it was up to me – I would never do anything again and I would just delegate everything to whatever idiot wanted to do it. I am unaccustomed to this type of creature that wants to do everything themselves.”
“Well – that’s why you don’t join the PTO,” she answered smartly.
Finally – the teacher responded and we had to schedule another MEETING to talk about the garden.
Went to that meeting.
Got clearer sense of what we needed to do.
Relayed information regarding money and volunteers that I had ready in the wings.
Also – as I side note – we are talking about a VERY small plot of land that will be dedicated to a VERY small garden.
Is everyone aware that men and women across America are growing food and flowers by the acre with no problem?
After I spoke to the teacher and promised that I could get the funding and man power to create a garden that would suit the needs of our school…..
And now I have learned an important lesson.
I had to learn the hard way for sure.
Last weekend – at Michael’s baseball game – I was discussing this experience with a working mother who said I was insane to even entertain this idea of helping.
“Well it’s just that sometimes I feel guilty – and once a PTO mom said to me I can’t complain if I don’t help,” I explained rationally.
A very successful suave dad was listening, he interjected into our conversation.
“Of course you can complain!” he said indignantly, “You pay taxes in Goopville – don’t you?”
“Yes I do!” I answered excitedly to this very smart successful man.
“Then you have every right to complain – don’t let those women make you feel bad, they just have nothing else to do.”
He was right.
I am just not cut out for this PTO bullshit.
If I have to be honest….I don’t! really work well with children, I don’t! really work well with bored women, and I fucking hate gardening. I have a hard time finding time to keep up with manicures and pedicures as it is and I don’t need some school dirt patch ruining my nails.
And if children don’t have fresh vegetables at the salad bar then they can eat a fucking lunchable and a doughnut.
Why is this my problem?
It’s not any more.
Sorry Michelle Obama.
Better luck next time.
So in closing – if you are looking for me – I am the mom complaining loudly on the sidelines…..
DON’T BE MAD AT ME! I TRIED TO HELP!! MAYBE I WILL HELP ON THEIR HIGHSCHOOL GRADUATION COMMITTEE…..IN 10 YEARS;) XO, LADY GOO GOO GAGA