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Can you please explain to me why you would choose not to help at a PTA event?

(308 Posts)
Hassled Tue 15-Jul-08 10:33:17

A genuine question, although I have to admit to being a tad exasperated at the moment. I feel I'm missing a point somewhere, but I'm not sure what.

Let's say that there was a big PTA fundraising event (BBQ) coming up. The PTA have sent out newsletters etc making it clear that they want to raise funds to improve the school playground and to replace existing sports strips. You plan to attend with your DP, you're not in any way unwell and don't have a baby in tow. Why would you not volunteer to run a stall for half an hour? If you were specifically asked if you could help, why would you say no?

All I can come up with is a) you value the rare time you have as a family too much to want to interrupt the evening by one parent being elsewhere for half an hour or b) you haven't really grasped the reason PTA events take place (i.e. the improved playground) and dismiss the events as not really your concern. Both of which are valid, I guess, but I really want to know what else goes on in people's minds in these cicumstances. Have I just turned into too much of a PTA harpy?

scanner Tue 15-Jul-08 10:35:40

c) you are one of the few who are always helping out and feel that for once someone else can do it.

d) you don't care.

allgonebellyup Tue 15-Jul-08 10:36:29

you have other things to do with your weekend?

NomDePlume Tue 15-Jul-08 10:37:21

e) you have other commitments you do not wish to share with the PTA busybodies....

mears Tue 15-Jul-08 10:38:22

Hassled - you will never get a decent reason so don't torture yourself!

I did PTA for many years and got so pissed off in the end I did nothing when my children went to secondary school. I got sick to death of a tiny handful of parents doing anything to help that I felt it wasn't worth doing it any more as other parents didn't see it as a priority.

I would get annoyed at parents dropping their children off at discos and having a spare hour or two to themselves when I had roped in babysitters to help me so that I could help supervise.

The response was often 'well you choose to do it - no-one is forcing you'.

Hence why I packed it all in.

ranting Tue 15-Jul-08 10:39:31

Well as I work until 8.30 pm and dh is the child carer, that would most probably be the reason that I would not do it. Or do I need to get my mum to write me a note to that effectwink

allgonebellyup Tue 15-Jul-08 10:41:24

Some of us dont have partners to take care of the children whilst we are helping.

Some of us work 35-40hrs a week and also have to fit in 16hrs a week studying, in order to keep a roof over our heads.
Some of us are struggling like buggery to find enough time to go for a shite.

And yes today i am on mn as dd off ill.

Lauriefairycake Tue 15-Jul-08 10:41:34

Maybe they do lots of other voluntary work or have very busy lives.

I would never run a stall at a school event as I have too many other things to do.

Hassled Tue 15-Jul-08 10:42:13

allgone - clearly not, because you've paid for the tickets and will be there.

scanner - yes probably.

Nomdeplume - despite my exasperation, I do mostly enjoy it and I do appreciate that I've chosen to be involved. I'm still baffled by the (RL) non-responses though.

nkf Tue 15-Jul-08 10:42:14

You don't have a sense of ownership of the school and its funds.

nkf Tue 15-Jul-08 10:42:38


StellaDallas Tue 15-Jul-08 10:43:06

The OP was making the point, however, that these people are attending the event anyway, they are only been asked to spend half an hour of the time when they are there helping on a stall. I don't understand it either, but it is only too true.

Threadwworm Tue 15-Jul-08 10:43:44

There are any number of parents who feel stressed to the point of tears just getting through the week. They shouldn't have to feel guilty for not joining in with PTA stuff. The people who do do it generally find it a rather natural and easy thing to do, even something which brings them benefit as well as the school. Others find it hard.

I don't help with any PTA activity. And I refuse to feel bad about it.

Hassled Tue 15-Jul-08 10:45:42

allgone - that's exactly why I was so specific in my OP. If it were a parent in your circumstances I wouldn't have any sort of problem at all - I've been in your situation and just getting through a day is a challenge, without pissing about on a BBQ stand. I get all that. I'm talking about the people who will be going anyway with their DPs.

hatrick Tue 15-Jul-08 10:47:46

Message withdrawn

allgonebellyup Tue 15-Jul-08 10:47:47

agree with Threadworm. Stressed beyond belief during the week. Some PTA members dont even work so they wouldnt know how stressful it can be; juggling work and kids on your own is a nightmare.

We dont usually go to school events anyway as too pushed for time and the kids go to their dads at weekends.

So i wouldnt have paid for ticket in the first place ,but that doesnt really answer your question!

What if you are a single parent with a clingy screamy 4-yr old in tow? and 3 enormous essays to write up?? Hmm?

Hassled Tue 15-Jul-08 10:47:53

nkf - yes, lack of ownership of the school. Not feeling part of a community.

allgonebellyup Tue 15-Jul-08 10:48:22

sorry hassled, didnt notice your most recent post

sagacious Tue 15-Jul-08 10:48:45

sometimes the PTA can be a very scary clique

You may not think it but you may scare the shit out of someone bearing down on them with a clipboard.

Add in a stroppy I don't know why no one else wants to help out I'm such a great person and a martyr to all this and...

PTA's can be fun they can also be a bitchy nightmare.

(Caveat I'm on the committee of my ds's PTA and will be refereeing the KS1 disco tomorrow whilst MIL babysits my youngest)

nkf Tue 15-Jul-08 10:49:56

How can anyone be scared of a mum with a clipboard asking for a turn on a stall?

Hassled Tue 15-Jul-08 10:52:08

I've learnt never to carry a clipboard

TsarChasm Tue 15-Jul-08 10:53:05

Agree 1000% with Threadworm.

People don't have to justify themselves to the PTA.

BadHair Tue 15-Jul-08 10:54:11

Did you say that you had to buy a ticket to attend? If so, then perhaps he/she feels that by paying to attend they have done their bit. He/she might also not feel confident enough to man a stall - I'm not sure that I would.

TBH I get fed up of being hassled (sorry, no pun intended) by Friends of the School types who seem to think that I have a moral obligation to give up my time for the good of the school. Personally I wouldn't give a stuff about the state of sports trips and would expect the school playground to be maintained to a safe standard by the local authority.

Lauriefairycake Tue 15-Jul-08 10:55:33

that's exactly the point - my foster child is at a school 5 miles away and it takes 80 minutes out of my day to go there and back twice - I am not part of the community there and I'm sure that if she was at the school round the corner I would make more effort

and today it has to be 3 times as she's in the stupid play - 2 hours today in a car - such joy hmm

There will be at least some parents who have moved house but will have chosen not to move primary schools til the kids are finished.

sagacious Tue 15-Jul-08 10:55:48

I used to suffer from crippling social anxiety, to the point I would find it difficult to leave the house, would't join a queue in case someone started a conversation,couldn't talk to the checkout girl at the local supermarket

In that instance a couple of years ago yes I would have been scared.

Manning a stall does take confidence
Helping out with other children takes you out of your comfort zone

A few years ago I couldn't have done it.

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