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Mar 21 2007

Death by committee

A goes to a school that lives and dies by parent involvement, both with volunteer hours and with the checkbook. We knew this going in and were fine with it. We’re both former teachers, we fully expected to be very involved with whatever school he ended up in. So when I went to register A last spring, I had to “indicate interest” in certain areas for volunteering. O-kay. I happily checked off interest in helping the music teacher; Tom and I can do that in our sleep. Didn’t hear word one until this last week. The spring musical is coming up and the music teacher needs help. I happily checked off all sorts of things, including interest in the yearbook. Tom went to a very small high school and was involved in everything, including yearbook. He’s made professional programs for concerts and marching band competitions. He’s da man.

Apparently I missed something (must have been the same day as “how to decorate your house”) about volunteering. Something unwritten. If it’s something “important,” everyone will meet at night, so as to not interfere with work. Um, the man’s work. If it’s something “not as important,” you’ll meet during the day, because you’re probably a stay at home mom or a woman and can be there or can juggle your schedule to be there, and you won’t want to meet at night because that’s “family time” and you’ll be putting the kids to bed.

Important: Board of Directors, fundraising, curriculum
Not as Important: yearbook committee, room parent/classroom volunteer, school activity planning

Is this a gross generalization? Yup. Is it true? Bet your sweet ass it is.

I signed Tom up to work on the yearbook. Nowhere did it say that it would only meet during the day, so I got roped into the committee. This was, obviously, before my brain and mouth began working together to plan and form the word, NO. So now I, with little to no experience with planning a yearbook but a lot of experience scrapbooking, am on this committee I had zero desire to be on.

Do I sound bitter? Uh-huh. There are five women on this committee (remember my comment above about how women juggle schedules):
Me: two kids I have to drag with me to the meetings, which are at 8:30 am
woman in charge: three kids, preggo with #4
photographer lady: one kid, works 30+ minutes away
worker lady: two kids, one with autism, works as well
other worker lady: two kids, is an orthodontist
No men. Would interfere with work. Why women are able to juggle schedules and men aren’t is beyond me.

But it’s funny, I started this post as a rant that I hate being on this fracking committee and it ended up going in a different direction. Allow me to regroup.

I hate being on this fracking committee. Let me count the ways (this could damn near be a Thursday Thirteen, I swear).
*Meeting at 8 freaking thirty drives me insane. Yes, A has to be at school, 30 minutes away, at that hour next year, but that’s next year and he’ll be a year older and please God more able to get going in the morning.
*Of the five of us, three did this last year. I don’t know how the other woman feels, but I feel like a fifth wheel.
*It seems like every suggestion I make gets shot down. Hello, that’s just why I’m here, to be your whipping boy…because I don’t get nearly enough emotional abuse from my sons and my computer.
*The things I offer to do and follow through on are questioned (“who’s doing clubs? what’s going on with clubs? has anyone followed up on clubs?” HEY, I DID…THERE ARE NO FUCKING CLUBS!).
*Did I mention the ungodly meeting time? If we meet at Panera, great! I can get coffee, but if I’m coming to your house, for God’s sake, please have caffeine for me. I can’t function without it, even if I have had half a pot already.
*Did I mention I have to bring my kids with me? They don’t want to be there. I can’t say I blame them.
*Did I mention that I didn’t want to be on this stupid committee in the first place???
(I’m so good with the italics today)

Inhale…exhale…inhale…exhale…

I’m feeling better now, just needed to get that off my teeny-tiny chest.

Inhale…exhale…inhale…exhale…

Tom has a 2×4 in his office for those moments when you feel pressured to say yes and you know you should say no. He has offered it for next year, when I’m expected to rejoin the committee. I’m going to paint it with a note: “Bang Head Here.”

Inhale…exhale…inhale…exhale…

Just getting ready for carpool, with all-new barrage of knock-knock jokes…and no new podcasts on my iPod. My iPod and a Coke Zero and I can make it.

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