I have to confess that my role on the PTA isn’t the first time I’ve dabbled in all things fundraising. I moved 300 miles South in 2014 and settled my then 3 year old into a village preschool. It was September, a time of new beginnings and the preschool Committee needed new members. Can you spare an hour, just once a month to help support your child’s preschool? Meet other Mums, usually down the pub. I was sold.
That very first meeting I attended, the chair stood down, they needed a replacement. Up went my hand, I’d be interested in knowing a bit more. (Idiot). And that was that I had a week of being hounded by the resigning chair (a woman who had moved from London to the village post-kids and still had that city fire in her belly, which was just excessive and certainly more fire than is needed when organising the bi-annual Tombola). Talk about pressure. But for once the girl that just can’t say no, said no*.
But I didn’t say no to being part of the committee and so it began. The regret came from the first meeting and there was no way out (trust me I even considered swapping preschools just to escape). The monthly committee meetings, which were supposed to be an hourlong went. on. for. HOURS. Everyone else walked to the pub (yay!) where the meetings were held. But not being from the village I had to drive (boo) and as I never had time to eat dinner beforehand I was always keen to be in and out in an hour. Usually you’d get to agenda item 5 of 6 and be thinking, we can do this we can wrap this up in an hour, I’ll be home, in my PJs and eating dinner by 9.30pm. But then agenda item 6 would go on and on and on. What logo should be have on the new preschool polo shirts? Cue loooooong discussion (by people who had obviously already eaten dinner). Who knew a cheap printing place? Should it be compulsory? Should it be 100% cotton or polyester? So much politics for a tshirt. I don’t care there’s a pan full of spaghetti with my name on it at home, wrap it up and let me at it. So I would leave the meeting usually after 10pm hastily texting the husband to “start tea NOW” just before I jumped in the car. I usually just had enough time to grab a bottle of wine at Asda which I would need to consume half of plus the spaghetti all before my 11pm bedtime.
To be fair some of the things I loved, if I could help out with kids at the preschool on a day I wasn’t working I would happily give up an hour or two of my time. Just not my precious evenings. The breaking point was when we held a huge fundraiser on a Friday night. I just couldn’t face it and had a complete melt down about it being Friday night. (Because with two kids I’d be out right? And certainly not just because I wanted to settle down in front of the tv with my Asda wine.) But I knew I couldn’t let them down. So I feigned illness and sent my poor husband in my place. I didn’t bloody sign up to the committee, he grumbled. No, but you married the girl that just can’t say no so something’s got to give.
Has anyone else had this experience? Happy to help but perhaps on your own terms and certainly not before you’ve had chance for dinner (and wine).
*made incomprehensible ramblings about how I couldn’t possibly dedicate myself as chair and work a job where I was considering taking on even more hours (I wasn’t).