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To want to wriggle out of the preschool committee

(55 Posts)
Lottie5 Tue 10-Feb-15 19:57:15

Am a SAHM and dd (3) had started the local preschool. The chair of the preschool committee is a super-mum, she manages to be on tons of committees despite having two small children and she invited me to join the committee ( as I had "lots of free time"!) confused Anyway fast forward a few months and it's doing my head in!! I spend nearly every evening doing work for the committee and every time I run into this woman she gives me a new job to do!! What started as a nice way of helping has become a chore!! Has anyone else ended up on a committee they regretted?! Seems a bit too soon to wriggle out if it!!! grin

Violetta007 Tue 10-Feb-15 20:00:11

Just email or text her and the Playgroup leader saying that sadly the role is eating up too much of your time and you plan to step down at Easter.

Sparklingbrook Tue 10-Feb-15 20:00:38

Never. Ever. Join the pre-school committee. <helpful>

I joined and I said I would help with a bit of fund raising now and again. next thing i know I am asked to be the Treasurer, and have to interview any new staff. confused

This was 12 years ago and i am still annoyed about it.

Sparklingbrook Tue 10-Feb-15 20:05:45

I would resign by letter. In fact I did.

AddToBasket Tue 10-Feb-15 20:06:24

Give no reason! People like that will try to reason with your reason. Whenever you've completed whatever the current task is, email her with something like:

'I've organised the [flowers for teacher/whatever]. It'll be fun! I should let you know that I'm going to be stepping down from this role next term. I wanted to let you know this far in advance to give you a chance to find a replacement'.

dibbydooo Tue 10-Feb-15 20:08:09

The other mum is only able to be a 'super mum' type because she palms everything off onto others and then no doubt takes the glory for it!

PtolemysNeedle Tue 10-Feb-15 20:09:30

You need to get better at saying no. Would it help if you could just reduce your workload? YANBU to step down completely if you want to, but some pre schools only exist because of the committee making it run and it would be a shame if they had to close because everyone thought the same way.

redskybynight Tue 10-Feb-15 20:20:02

I wouldn't resign. That just means more to do for the parents that are left. What I would do is be very clear about exactly what you are prepared to do and what you are not.

Sparklingbrook Tue 10-Feb-15 20:21:06

The parents that are left must have agreed to it at some point and they can resign too if they want....

AddToBasket Tue 10-Feb-15 20:24:19

OP, resign if you want to! When you become a parent you sign up for a whole host of things that aren't optional - but this isn't one of them. Don't want to do it, don't do it. It isn't up to you to make the pre-school run.

SugarplumKate Tue 10-Feb-15 20:47:20

Actually, if it is a committee run pre-school then without a committe of a certain number of parents in certain roles eg must have a chair, treasurer etc, then the pre-school will have to close.

Not a guilt trip OP, I think you need to make it clear what you are happy to do and how much time you have.

Sparklingbrook Tue 10-Feb-15 20:50:02

Yes, ours was like that Sugar. But enough was enough and I couldn't carry on. sad

Lottie5 Tue 10-Feb-15 22:13:09

I am not treasurer it seems to be more of an admin/fundraiser role but while endless jobs are being doled out to me in committee meetings I am a bit at a loss as to what the other parents do. The chair wants more parents involved and pounced on the stay at home mums regularly because she perceives them as having more time regardless of how many young children they have. I really don't want to let the pre-school down and I am aware of the reliance of the school on parent volunteers which is why I took on the role. I just wish the workload could be spread more evenly.

PiggyPlumPie Tue 10-Feb-15 22:25:43

I emailed our PTA and said that I felt I could no longer continue for "personal reasons" i.e. it was only me doing anything!

From the responses I got I guess they thought I was having a nervous breakdown or marital problems confused

PtolemysNeedle Tue 10-Feb-15 22:53:54

Maybe you need to help try and get some new volunteers. If the pre school is struggling for help, then it might get to the point where they have to let new parents know that being on the committee is part of the deal of using the setting.

unlucky83 Tue 10-Feb-15 22:57:22

Our pre school can't run without a parent committee...without it the group would have to close. That is a fact. And the committee have to change every year.
However we have a fantastic playleader and playworkers who put in above and beyond. We also employ a part time administrator who does all the financial stuff, staff wages, charity registrations etc and other bits and pieces, also works longer hours than they are paid for. (Treasurer is an easy job in our group!) Our committee really do have to just concentrate mainly on fundraising -but there has to be a degree of trust that the staff (playleader and administrator) are doing their jobs properly.
It seems there are more and more hoops to jump through and without the paid staff providing support and continuity the committee would really struggle. I really don't know how other groups survive without the support....but the staff need paying and finances are always tight

And I have a lot of sympathy for you - a good few years ago the chair was a 'super mum' -organised business plans and long term goals and made it a lot more work than it needed to be...after that we struggled to recruit a committee as parents with older children had been scared off by the work load...but it is also true that the more committee members the more the load can be spread. I think you need to say at the meeting I'm sorry I can't do that, I don't have the time -especially if you think it is unfair....
One of the things that 'supermum' didn't do is to leave sensible records. Lots of draft business plans etc but not much along the lines of this is the bare minimum of what needs to be done. (I went through the paper folders - lots of them ...rafts of eg printed out emails of minor issues, including 5 pages talking about who was going to make cake for a leaving party!!!) She also didn't leave any computer files - we now have cloud storage with everything in - a month by month breakdown of the jobs that NEED doing and things like draft letters for things like pay reviews or asking for raffle donations. It really helps and means that every year the committee isn't reinventing the wheel.
We were also invited to join a group of a kind of management committee - combine resources with 3 other local preschool groups- we declined because it would add to our work load rather than help but I can see how less well organised groups, or ones with a shortage of committee members could benefit from this...

QueenofallIsee Tue 10-Feb-15 23:25:23

I joined when mine were little, ended up as chair but am a capable woman so no big deal right? Unfortunately noone saw fit to inform me that the preschool leader was a total mentalist who had run off literally dozens of parents and pretty much every colleague she had ever had. As a voluntary group noone had ever tackled her, opting to just quietly resign and she ran the bloody thing into the ground. She was godawful! I fulfilled my term and then reported her to the council before some other poor sap fell foul of her.

Lottie5 Wed 11-Feb-15 18:24:50

Well done you Queen!

PintofCiderPlease Wed 11-Feb-15 18:35:48

Lottie - I agree with those that say it would be a shame to resign.

You need to get tough though, and just say - 'sorry, I've enough jobs to get on with, this will need to be allocated to someone else I'm afraid' or 'sorry, can't do. I have too many commitments at the moment'. No need to mention what the commitments are or aren't.

Practice saying it out aloud at home. And then just reel it out at the meetings.

If they continue to push you, say 'I'm really sorry, but I'm starting to find this overwhelming and I would really hate to have to stop being a part of the committee so I need to reduce the amount that I do.'

If they have an ounce of common sense they will quickly realise that it is far better to reduce what they give you and have you stay on the committee, rather than have you leave the committee and them have to do all the jobs themselves.

skylark2 Wed 11-Feb-15 18:54:41

"every time I run into this woman she gives me a new job to do!!"

I think this is what you need to say no to. If you like helping but not spending all your time helping, it's okay to say you can do what you're already doing but nothing more.

I was happy to help at ours, but it was a very small playgroup and everyone else backed off leaving me as secretary. I loathed it - I'm a rubbish organiser and a much better helper.

idiuntno57 Wed 11-Feb-15 19:38:14

I may be going against the tide here but I think if you have signed up for a year (till next AGM) then you have to stick with it for a year then resign at the AGM. Preschools rely on a committee to run and if you want the preschool it is only fair that you give of yourself a little.

So you will stop doing it but in the mean time you just need to get much more brutal about saying no to stuff that goes beyond your original remit. I have been on a lot of committees in my time and in my experience if there is someone there who does everything then everyone else will coast and rely on them to do so. It is human nature. However very few people are irreplaceable and they will and can and do find a replacement for you when you leave.

MaryWestmacott Wed 11-Feb-15 20:04:45

Unfortunately, groups like this, you often end up all or nothing if you are officially on the committee. Iwould just say as above, you are going to resign after Easter for 'personal reasons' and if anyone is cheeky enough to push "I'd rather not discuss, but it's not going to be possible for me to didicate as much time next term onwards." you can offer to help out with particular event now and then, but not doing everything.

Narnia72 Wed 11-Feb-15 20:19:23

I want to know where you're based Queen, I could have written your post word for word. I am so traumatised by being the (scapegoat) chair of the pre school committee I won't join the PFA as they're asking me to be the chair.

Pre school committees are the devil's work. I have no idea why they're structured the way they are - oh yes, great idea, pressgang a load of (inevitably) women into a situation they know nothing about, don't tell them until they've joined that they are now in fact financially and legally personally liable for the setting (if you're not a limited company) and you have to manage the workload of a complete mentallist who has made the preschool her life and when you have to put your foot down over her ridiculous overtime she will slag you off to everyone as a bully, including the council and the head of the school your children are at. Would never ever suggest to anyone they join one. X

Sparklingbrook Wed 11-Feb-15 21:22:11

The thing is though, at he start they just said 'ooh just a bit of fundraising' and I thought 'ok that sounds doable' but why not be honest? oh yes, because nobody would join the committee!

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Wed 11-Feb-15 21:47:46

I was on our pre-school committee, and did it happily, until I realised no-one had told us that we were financially liable. Wouldn't have been a problem had the pre-school not been in difficulties. We had to fundraise for two years after it closed down just to cover debts sad

After that I managed to avoid all invitations to join the PTA at primary school. I used to go in to help with reading, cooking, swimming etc, but just smiled and said no about the PTA.

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