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Can you please explain to me why people are so judgemental about supposedly voluntary activities?

(40 Posts)
AMumInScotland Tue 15-Jul-08 12:54:50

Involvement with the PTA is optional, yes?
Attending events organised by the PTA is also optional, yes?

So why are some parents so judgemental about other parents who do not choose to do something which is completely voluntary and optional?

KatieScarlett2833 Tue 15-Jul-08 12:55:37


FabioUnblogged Tue 15-Jul-08 12:56:18

You could stop that question at 'judgemental' and still get the same replies.
Some people just are judgemental.

PuppyMonkey Tue 15-Jul-08 12:56:24

That's what I thought too. MN makes me larf sometimes.

HumphreyCushioni Tue 15-Jul-08 12:58:50

I suppose it is because the funds raised generally go to providing better/extra facilities for the children, and the more people that get involved, the more successful they will be.

There is an assumption that all parents would want to help out if it is for the benefit of their own children - time constraints etc permitting.

Also, ime, some parents don't/won't join in, but do bitch and moan quite vociferously about the ones who do.

Quattrocento Tue 15-Jul-08 13:04:31

I am not a joiner in of these types of activities. This is because I have precious little time and I want/need to spend my spare time with my DCs. My experience is that the joiners-in are judgemental about these things. Why? No-one's forcing them to do it. They don't have to do it. If they don't really want to do it then they shouldn't.

I have received dozens of emails from DSs football club. All of the mums viciously infighting, then urging others to join in (Now why would any sane person join a catfest?). The only time they show any kind of cohesiveness is in being judgemental of those who don't join-in. Fair gets my goat.

Hassled Tue 15-Jul-08 13:09:26

Oh FFS. I gave a very specific scenario in my OP on this thread and genuinely asked for reasons why people responded the way they did. And I was given reasons, so now I know. Being judgemental is certainly one of my talents, but on this occasion I really wasn't.

AMumInScotland Tue 15-Jul-08 13:09:59

It just sometimes feels as though people have nothing better to do than to moan and judge. Including the ones who moan that "the PTA" or "the school" or whatever don't do enough, but don't do anything themselves to improve the situation.

KatieScarlett2833 Tue 15-Jul-08 13:12:55

My Dh and I have and will continue to spend a great deal of time, money and effort carrying out voluntary work. Do I care if others don't want to do that? No. My choice, not theirs.

Pity other volunteers don't see that.

AMumInScotland Tue 15-Jul-08 13:13:27

Oh I don't mean your OP Hassled, I think it's perfectly fair to ask why people don't get involved. But then when people have given honest replies they are getting slated for it, as though they had a responsibility to the PTA.

harpsichordcarrier Tue 15-Jul-08 13:14:49

well, I think all parents do have a responsibility to the PTA, don't they?
just like we all have a responsibility to the community in which we live, but more so for a school

Doodle2U Tue 15-Jul-08 13:15:03

I'm on the PTA.

I don't judge those who help out.

I don't judge those who don't.

I do judge the fuckwits who complain about crap fairs, rubbish discos, not enough events, too many events...yada yada. Don't whinge - do something yourself to change what you don't like.

I judge whingers.

hatrick Tue 15-Jul-08 13:15:45

Message withdrawn

AMumInScotland Tue 15-Jul-08 13:17:21

Personally I do (or rather did) feel responsibility towards DS's school. But not everyone does, and I don't think we can blame them for that.

Doodle2U Tue 15-Jul-08 13:18:59

hatrick, not all PTA's are like the ones being described. Ours, for example, is really laid back and a happy crew. Also, helping comes in many different forms....not necessarily manning a stand for three hours! You could offer to make a poster for the school notice board or nip down the shops to buy some paper cups. Every tiny thing helps! Go for it. You can always feck off out of it if you find it's not for you but unless you try, you'll never know.


GooseyLoosey Tue 15-Jul-08 13:23:18

No I don't have a responsibility to the PTA.

If asked for money, I would give it but if asked for time, I will not. If the PTA came to me and asked me for a £50 donation for XYZ because the school needed it, I would give it. I would not give them an hour of my time to raise £50. If others want to give their time rather than their money, great - but I'm not sure why they perceive it as worth more.

If some people can afford to give niether (or don't want to as they have different priorities), that is fine too.

Actually, I also question the worth of some of the things that the PTA provide for the dcs' school, they seem to arrive to great fanfare and then after a month or so, lie disused in a corner. But, I guess that is a whole other thread

policywonk Tue 15-Jul-08 13:25:59

I do PTA stuff because I'm a bovine doormat SAHM and have the time. I don't think badly of those who don't - I assume that they have perfectly valid reasons. I do get annoyed, as Humphrey has pointed out, with those who assume that all active PTA types are gossiping busybodies who do it to boost their own sense of importance. You'd have to have really low self-esteem to get a boost from selling bodged cup-cakes.

policywonk Tue 15-Jul-08 13:28:31

Goosey, I think there's a certain amount of added value in PTA events (over just handing over the cash, although of course just handing over the cash is not to be sniffed at). Events like Bonfire Night, school fetes, markets, leavers' discos etc contribute to the cohesion of the school community (pupils, staff and parents/carers). It's not the most profoundly important thing, granted, but it does have a value in itself.

KatieScarlett2833 Tue 15-Jul-08 13:31:40

What if it's not an assumption, policywonk?

What if your schools PTA are a closed shop clique who enjoy excluding other parents so they get the most "added value" from school events all to themselves?

That's my experience, anyway.

RubyRioja Tue 15-Jul-08 13:32:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madamez Tue 15-Jul-08 13:33:59

Well, 'community' activities almost always mean 'more unpaid work from women' and there is a deep-level unease among many people at the idea of women who refuse to see themselves as existing only for other people's benefits. People are always far more judgemental about women than about men, after all.

policywonk Tue 15-Jul-08 13:36:36

Well you should tell em to stuff 'emselves Katie, I would!

Do they really actively exclude people? Or is it more that they all know each other and it's socially awkward for others to break in to the clique?

AMumInScotland Tue 15-Jul-08 13:40:58

madamez What I find particularly depressing is how often it's women being judgemental about other women.

I know the whole "sisterhood" thing is a work of fiction, but jeez if we can't treat each other decently what hope is there?

GooseyLoosey Tue 15-Jul-08 13:42:20

Actually Policy, I think that you are right and that there is a wider community benefit for some activities like a christmas fair or a leavers' disco. At our school these are not done under the auspices of the PTA (and I do try and help at these).

The events I was really thinking about are those which are solely money making in nature (and of course about participants socialising) - in these cases I think there is no difference between my money and their time.

Mercy Tue 15-Jul-08 13:42:47

At my dc school every parent/carer is automatically a member of the PTA but there is still pretty much an inner sanctum.

They do a lot of work behind the scenes too, it's not just about fundraising ime.

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