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Old 10-02-2012, 07:43 AM   #16
ckay87
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Originally Posted by The Mystery Machine View Post
You have to hang in there and suck it up. A snooty private school can afford to be "harsh" with their parents because you are "stuck".

Yes you are back in high school. Since you are 24, new to the school and PTA you are going to unfortunately have to go through the beat down.

That being said over time once they get to "know" you all will be fine except for the high school part, no matter what age you are that is always there.

Hang in there & prove yourself.
Oh He....... No!!! They lost a volunteer, period. OP do not go back. DO NOT. There is no requirement that you participate in PTA and it is a myth that your child will suffer if you do not volunteer at school.

Keep your pride and volunteer for an organization who values you. I don't agree with all the Boy Scout principles, but my sons were interested, so I volunteered there. Men were far and away easier to work with than the cliquey women! Church and Sunday School were also places where my efforts were valued and I was unjudged.

Life is too short to put up with BS like that and you are NOT in high school any longer.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:48 AM   #17
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At our school, there is a great divide between the "have and the have-nots." At one time, the "haves" were running the PTA, and scared off all the "have-nots." It was no longer about working together for the betterment of the children. It was a bunch of women grandstanding and came down to a battle of the checkbooks. They were constantly waving their checkbooks in the air, with a, "I'll just pay for that." PTA membership was at it's lowest and when a new principal came in, he and a few teachers really worked at making changes and making it so more people were comfortable being involved.

OP - If being involved in the PTA is something you are interested in, attend the meetings, ask how you can help, and do what they will let you. Eventually they'll warm up. Perhaps there are other feelings as you are, seek them out and stand together.

My other suggestion - If you want to help, go directly to your child's teacher and volunteer to help out.

My oldest started kindergarten in 1986, our youngest will graduated in 2019. I've had a long time to figure out what's important and what isn't, and I haven't volunteered in the PTA in years. I tell the teachers if there is anything they need or anything I can do, call me. I do the same with some friends that chair certain events... believe me, they call.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:57 AM   #18
dismom301930
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That is because that is what all the "mean girls" do after HS, they join their kid's school's PTA.
I think it is unfair to suggest that all PTA moms are "mean girls". I am very involved in our PTA and I am not now (nor was I in High School) a "mean girl". I find that most of the moms who are involved with the PTA are nice people who spend many volunteer hours planning programs that will enhance the school experience of their own children as well as hundreds of other children. Without the PTA moms, we would not have a Science Fair, free Book distribution, end of the year Fun Fair, Winter carnival, Father-Daughter dance, Mother-Son outing, etc. The list goes on and on. It is disappointing to learn that the very same people whose children are benefiting from these programs are probably thinking the event planners are "mean girls". Our PTA welcomes opinions and suggestions from everyone in the school community.

Back to the OP, I would say hang in there. It is unfortunate that a few "mean girls" are making this a negative experience for you. I think it will mean a lot to your children and to you as well if you can keep volunteering. Try to ignore the negative comments, and enjoy this special time with your children. Good luck to you
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:01 AM   #19
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Find a more direct way to contribute in the school. Volunteer for his teacher or the librarian. Help with field trips. I was shocked to find our PTA was cliqueish like you describe-not the catty comments but they basically patted my hand and told me they had it. I stepped back and soon found other areas to help. Buy whatever they deem the fundraiser items and don't attend another meeting. They're Mean Girls and you don't need their negative energy in your life!
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:01 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by dismom301930 View Post
I think it is unfair to suggest that all PTA moms are "mean girls".

I didn't suggest all the PTA moms were mean girls, I suggested that all the mean girls end up joining the PTA.

I also said I was a PTA mom. Our PTA does wonderful things for the kids, which is why I stay involved. However it is run by the mean girl clique, as many other PTAs all over are.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:03 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by ckay87 View Post
Oh He....... No!!! They lost a volunteer, period. OP do not go back. DO NOT. There is no requirement that you participate in PTA and it is a myth that your child will suffer if you do not volunteer at school.

Keep your pride and volunteer for an organization who values you. I don't agree with all the Boy Scout principles, but my sons were interested, so I volunteered there. Men were far and away easier to work with than the cliquey women! Church and Sunday School were also places where my efforts were valued and I was unjudged.

Life is too short to put up with BS like that and you are NOT in high school any longer.
While I agree that life is too short to deal with this stuff, the opposite is also true.

Life is too short NOT to deal with this stuff.

OP is young, she is in a private school which is cliquey, and wants to participate in PTA. I say hang in there and give it a go.

Yes it was an eye opener to her how much it is like HS again unfortunately but you know what, don't let the suckers get you down.

Eventually her "K" child will be older and so will she. It happens.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:05 AM   #22
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A good general rule for attending these and all the other meeting for things that your child will be involved in over the next 12 year -soccer, baseball, scouts, VBS, Sunday School, Prom committee, etc- Is when you are new LISTEN for a meeting or 2. Feel out what they do and have done, don't jump right in and immediately want to change things or do things differently. Volunteer to help what they have planned, ease into it a little bit.

If you run in the first meeting and start shooting down all their ideas you will step on toes. And even if it is a clique, or isn't a clique they have been doing things that need done and help the group whether it is how you would do it or not they have at least been doing something which is more than sadly most parents of children can say.

And do not have your DH call anybody!!! For heavens sake he is your DH not your Daddy!.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:08 AM   #23
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OP, there's NO way i'd put up with that garbage, and i didn't. at DD's former elementary school, the PTA was VERY clique-y, and i DID try to volunteer a couple of times, but i felt so excluded and unwelcome, i decided to focus my energy elsewhere. i spent 2 years as a classroom volunteer for DD's 3rd grade teacher, and it was SO rewarding.

i'm so sorry this happened to you.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:14 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by luvmy3 View Post
I didn't suggest all the PTA moms were mean girls, I suggested that all the mean girls end up joining the PTA.

I also said I was a PTA mom. Our PTA does wonderful things for the kids, which is why I stay involved. However it is run by the mean girl clique, as many other PTAs all over are.
You are so right luvmy3-it's the same all over: Texas, California, Oregon, Ohio, Massachusetts, Florida and on and on. In my son's high school, a religious cultish group runs the PTA. I went to one meeting and realized the every officer was a member of this 'church.' They were indeed incharge and although they had smiles on their faces-no one else's ideas were welcome or solicited. In that school, there are 'Booster' groups that have splintered off and are actually doing what's needed for music and sports. Those groups have a much more dominant presence than PTA/PTO. Not sure what PTA does, especially since a group of parents demanded that their church remove itself and stop actively recruiting in school.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:14 AM   #25
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I stopped going to PTA meetings a long time ago. I figured I could read the note they send home to tell me the plans and fundraisers just as easily as I could go there and listen to it. They never wanted to discuss ideas, just tell everyone what they were going to do.

Find other ways to be involved. Your child's teacher would probably greatly value some volunteer time to help her make copies or get things ready for special events or even just help the kids during lunch.

Later on as your child gets involved in activities at school, help with those things.

There is a reason why the same person will be an officer in PTA every year their child is in school. Many will say its because no one else will do it, but most of the time its because they really don't want to let go of the control.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:16 AM   #26
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That is because that is what all the "mean girls" do after HS, they join their kid's school's PTA.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:20 AM   #27
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My kids go to private school. I understand the dynamics. Most families at your school afford to go there because the moms had careers first and kids later. Consequently, they are probably 10 years older than you on average (and those are the ones with kindergarteners- in my ds' 1st grade, 2 moms turned 50 that year!).

You are making these moms feel old. I am not kidding. I know what they say behind your back because they do the same thing at my school. Even I said those things when my oldest was a 5th grader, and those new moms were SO young. They don't intend to be mean to you. It's not you personally. It's that you remind them it's time to calll the dermatologist for another botox injection.

Also, these moms likely have or have had careers such as doctors, lawyers and corporate execs. It's hard to walk away from those careers and into a child's school and not want to run the place like it's a Fortune 500 company. Be patient. These women are generally well intentioned (although there will be some absolute crazies).

Continue to be nice. Offer suggestions and smile when they reject it. Soon enough, they will get to know you personally and will forget thinking that they were still in grad school at your age.

Have lots of playdates and get to know the moms in his grade. Volunteer in his classroom. Let the school wide PTA stuff fall into place eventually.

And someday, when your last child is leaving elementary school, remember what's it is like to be the new, young mom.

One more thing, the other posters' comments abotu PTA being the land of mean girls is pretty true. If you can remember that some women never get past junior high and laugh off their antics, you'll be fine.

Don't judge a school on your experience, judge it on your child's experience.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:23 AM   #28
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I am sorry this is happening to you. I have been fortunate to be involved in PTO/Parent Associations at both public and private schools that were very welcoming, but a quick google search of "PTA cliques" will tell you that you are certainly not alone in your experience. What surprises me most is how these women are so openly dismissive of you because of your youth. (Please don't be offended, but is your husband also young? If not, perhaps they are "first wives" who are threatened by/jealous of you.)

And I don't think you're exaggerating by calling it bullying. According to a government website dedicated to stopping bullying, "social" or "relational" bullying is described as hurting someone’s reputation or relationships and includes:
-Leaving someone out on purpose
-Telling others not to be friends with someone
-Spreading rumors about someone
-Embarrassing someone in public

That said, you don't have to stay and just take it. I agree with PPs who said that having your husband deal with this issue would simply confirm to these women that you are "too young." But I don't think anything will change unless someone is made aware of the environment they are creating. Perhaps you could meet with an administrator to share your willingness to help, but since the PTA has indicated they have all their needs met, you would like to do so another way. (Someone else suggested going directly to your child's teacher- that's a good idea.) But frequently schools have many needs that the PTA doesn't cover. If you take the high road and focus on the fact that you want to help, rather than on the mean behavior of the PTA, you will prove these women wrong by your actions. And hopefully in the process others will recognize that this PTA doesn't have the monopoly on parent involvement. Who knows, maybe others who have been shunned (for various reasons) will come out the woodwork if they see you stepping up to do something else.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:30 AM   #29
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Thank you everyone for the advice! Just to clarify, I've lived in this town for about 4 years now (my husband was born here), but the majority of my friends sent their children to other schools. My husband works with several husbands of the PTA ladies, and many of them have been to dinner at my house. It's pretty funny how power can change a person so much, but I'm not going to take it so seriously. I was NEVER going to let my husband contact the principal, then I'd be *that* mom who can't stand on her own two legs, urgh. It's not so much that I care about volunteering, if they want to be horrible to me, then they can be, I'm there to support my kid, nothing more. I just don't want them to take it out on my son, who hasn't had a play date since school started (which is starting to worry me). I have a very strong art background so I've been trying to get involved with the art program, but the woman who runs it says she can do it alone and she is holding on to it for dear life, geez. I'm thinking of having a Halloween party at my house though, just so my son can spend a little more time around kids that go to his school and their parents can get a feel for who I am. I'm generally used to the "child bride" and "trophy wife" assumptions, but after awhile it just gets old. I'm a good mom and in a very happy, normal marriage and I don't need to be in a position of power to prove that
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:45 AM   #30
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Thank you everyone for the advice! Just to clarify, I've lived in this town for about 4 years now (my husband was born here), but the majority of my friends sent their children to other schools. My husband works with several husbands of the PTA ladies, and many of them have been to dinner at my house. It's pretty funny how power can change a person so much, but I'm not going to take it so seriously. I was NEVER going to let my husband contact the principal, then I'd be *that* mom who can't stand on her own two legs, urgh. It's not so much that I care about volunteering, if they want to be horrible to me, then they can be, I'm there to support my kid, nothing more. I just don't want them to take it out on my son, who hasn't had a play date since school started (which is starting to worry me). I have a very strong art background so I've been trying to get involved with the art program, but the woman who runs it says she can do it alone and she is holding on to it for dear life, geez. I'm thinking of having a Halloween party at my house though, just so my son can spend a little more time around kids that go to his school and their parents can get a feel for who I am. I'm generally used to the "child bride" and "trophy wife" assumptions, but after awhile it just gets old. I'm a good mom and in a very happy, normal marriage and I don't need to be in a position of power to prove that
The "child bride" and "trophy wife" assumptions will disappear when you are old, like in your 30s. Enjoy it while it lasts.

As for playdates, are you inviting kids to your house? Don't wait for invitations for your son. Get out the class list, and call every boy (and in K, you can have playdates with the girls if your ds hangs with the girls at school) mom in the class to schedule a time for the child to come to your house to play or join you for a fun outing (only schedule one child per playdate). If everyone says no, then you need to talk to the teacher about how your ds is doing in school socially.
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