Dear PTA Mom from Tonight,

If I were given the choice to be anything in the entire world, PTA Mom would fall pretty damned near dead last. I don’t say this to insult or disparage you. Rather I say it to thank you for being what I cannot. You see, people terrify me ( particularly other parents, because I know they are all better than me), and I can’t organize a sock drawer. I’d be totally lost putting together a hoedown.

Yet, you’re always smiling, and it doesn’t look forced, or fake. You manage to find volunteers, whom you whip into shape so beautifully that, given their seamless teamwork and seemingly effortless performances, they could be mistaken for a professional party company.

But that’s not even the real magic. See, I’m on to you. Growing up as a teacher’s kid, I witnessed a lot behind the scenes at events just like this one, and I picked up on a few recurring themes:

For instance, I know that sometimes, your smile isn’t real.

And that sometimes, the very thought of one more kid makes you want to scream.

And that sometimes, the last thing you want to do is school another parent on how to serve chili.

But, you’re here. And you’re on. And this thing is going off without a hitch. I totally appreciate the effort you put in to make this possible for our kids.

And I know you would like to see more of me lending a hand. You keep letting me know it’s my turn.

Because I rent, and his father owns, we chose to place him in his dad’s school zone. So, every day, I drive forty-five minutes out of my way, twice a day, to take my son to school, and pick him up. That’s 70 minutes longer than it takes me to commute when he’s with his dad. Then I spend 8–9 hours at a job that requires my constant attention, and if you’ve met my son ( who inherited his attention span from me), maybe you can imagine how exhausting that would be.

Most nights, I pick him up from after school care, feed him a pb&j in the car so we can get his sister to her concert, or basketball practice, or a game on time, and when we finally get home, I give him a hug and a kiss and tuck him in, so we can start all over in the morning. Today, though, I finally picked him up just as things were starting, and here we are.

I haven’t had time to touch up my makeup, or fix my slightly-too-messy bun, or pee.

But he’s here with his buddies, and I’m going to go ahead and claim that victory.

I respect your choice to stay home and put your heart into this. Please respect that not everyone has a choice, and that even those who do may not make the same choice you’ve made. We all do what we can.

When I have time to help out, I promise, I’ll let you know.


That one kid’s mom who never helps in the class or anything (yes, I heard you whisper. In the future, you can just call us AJ and Alexainie)

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.