I’m drinking my coffee trying to wake up for another day when this article in the Washington Post Health section catches my eye. Rosalind Wiseman, who wrote Queen Bees and Wannabes, is taking on the moms with her new book Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads. I am already hooked on three levels: psychology (my college major), moms (my chosen profession), and bees (because they make honey, and I looove honey).
The author explores the hidden world of moms, which isn’t as different from middle school as you might think. There are cliques and competition. There is gossip and shunning. There is the dreaded PTA, which should be an avenue for bringing parents together in the interest of the needs of the school and the children, but all too often is taken over by control freaks with their own pet projects in mind.
Brring. Brrring. The telephone rings. And lo and behold, it is one of my friends who needs to let off steam about this very thing. One of the moms on the PTA board wants the PTA to pay for a pizza party. But the PTA won’t pay for a party when it is usually this mom and four other families who come. Plus this mom doesn’t mingle with the other parents anyway, so why should the PTA pay for what is essentially her party? Another mom wants the PTA to contribute to her pet project, a charity walk. Well, it happens to be illegal for one nonprofit to pay out to another nonprofit (unless it is in that first nonprofit’s mission to do so). So, uh, no. We won’t be contributing. Another PTA parent gave money to her volunteers for helping her with a fund-raiser, obviously stretching the definition of volunteer.
My oldest used to go to a co-op preschool. Now the idea of the co-op preschool is to reduce costs and increase parental involvement by having parents running things overall and assisting in the classroom, but with a paid director and teachers. I loved the concept, but what I found was a tight clique of moms running things and putting other moms down. They were mostly women who had stopped working when they had kids, and now had to make work for themselves. We couldn’t have two fundraisers, we had to have twelve. We couldn’t do one thing for teacher appreciation week, we had to do five. I just wanted to send my daughter to preschool and help out in the classroom sometimes. How did it get so complicated?
Too many moms with too much time on their hands.
Please, take up knitting, quilting, tae bo, but stop mucking around in our schools and our PTAs.
I am heading out to buy this book, probably the first book I have bought new in a year, because I can’t wait for my library to get it. Beware this isn’t the last you have heard from me on this topic.