Work Life Balance

Back To School Week: Confessions Of A Former Class Parent

By  | 

class parentHere’s how I got talked into being class parent last year. I got strong-armed at the first PTA meeting of the school year. Well, maybe that’s not fair. I don’t know that the mother who convinced me to sign up as class parent was really all that aggressive. But I do know that I walked into that PTA meeting armed only with a plan to eat some cookies and then get back home to watch Friday Night Lights on Netflix and yet I left promising to compile a class list within the next 24 hours and to start thinking about the Winter Carnival art auction project and wondering what exactly I had gotten myself into.

And I realized that I do the same thing almost every school year. I volunteer for projects or committees that will eat up a ton of time and usually involve badgering other parents for donations of money and energy. And money.

I hate asking other parents for money.

But I’ve always felt that someone has to do it and I’ve been fortunate enough to have the time to spare. Ever since my kids started elementary school, I have been lucky enough to work part-time and have managed to coordinate my schedule so that I can attend every school performance, all the field trips and visits to the neighborhood library, and each in-class presentation and holiday party.

I won’t lie. It’s been exhausting. And sometimes, like at this past year’s visit to the Queens County Farm as I sat bouncing around on the school bus throughout the 40-minute ride, I wondered if maybe I should be a little, well, less involved. That seems obvious, and, of course, no one was forcing me to be Supermom. I mean, I’m not a perfectionist in any other area of my life. I could count how many times I made my bed in the last month on one hand — on one finger of one hand — but being a super-involved class parent felt like something I was obligated to do. After all, I had the time. And my kids knew that I had the time. They wanted me to be with them and, most of the time, it was what I wanted too.

All of that changed this summer though. I had barely made any summer plans with the kids. We were going to have one of those unscheduled summers full of long, lazy days, aimless walks in the park, bike rides to the beach. I was looking forward to it and so were they.

And then I got a job. I got a job that I really wanted. A job that I knew would be an amazing thing for our whole family. And it was full-time. Immediately, the summer changed. A babysitter was found and camp was booked. It has been a huge adjustment for all of us, not the least because of the guilt that I’ve started to experience as the school year approaches.

Pages: 1 2