Last year at this time, the former PTO president at the wee ones’ preschool was calling me again, begging me to be president this year. The rest of the board and committees had been set up, but the president was missing, and you can’t have the PTO without a president. It would dissolve, and the special needs preschool the wee ones attend needs the support of the PTO more than most schools.
I pointed out that I work. I pointed out that I had two small children. I pointed out that there had to be other people. She pointed back to me, with it being me or no one.
I gave in, and this year I was the PTO president. I made it work, and it wasn’t too bad. Had I more time, there are certainly things I would have done differently or worked harder on, but everyone seems satisfied. In fact, I’m up for another term next year (unless one of you wants to take the reins? No? No one?).
This coming school year, Mister Man also moves to kindergarten at our elementary school. Since all the PTO presidents in the district gather on a bi-weekly basis, the co-presidents at the elementary school have been salivating at the knowledge that I had a child at that school starting next year.
While having a picnic in our front yard on spring break, a woman stopped by my house to introduce herself. She was on the nominating committee at the elementary school (oh, to have enough PTO members to have or need a nominating committee!). She’d heard that I was coming to the elementary school next year and wanted to pitch a few ideas to me.
Her first idea was to be the webmaster. After regaining control of myself after my hysterics, I explained that probably wasn’t the job for me. She then suggested the art chair. As I learned more about it, I realized that it was mainly focused on work done in April and May. With our major fundraising event occurring on Cinco de Mayo, I knew there would be a conflict.
So I declined to do the art chair. Check it out! I said no!
She countered a few days later — via phone this time — with the idea of running the holiday shop. Apparently this is actually not a fundraiser but just a fun shop for kids to come pick out items for family members at reasonable costs and do fun little activities. And I would have volunteers to help run it.
I do want to be somewhat involved in the elementary PTO (assuming we go to that school, but that’s another post altogether), and the preschool has nothing major going on in December, so I said I’d work on that with another mom to help.
Then comes this week. Ms. Nominating Committee stopped by my house again. I’ve noticed that phone calls are for easier things with her and in-person visits are the ones that are the harder sells.
Apparently next year there will be no gala, so that leaves somewhat of a hole in their budget. Instead of doing a major fundraiser, they had the idea of doing smaller fundraiser throughout the year. And it’s more important to get the person to chair the “ad hoc fundraisers” than the holiday shop. So would I pretty please consider doing the ad hoc fundraisers?
I took a deep breath. I thought about it for a moment. And then I told her no. I explained that I worked three days a week or more and that I was still the PTO president at the preschool. To take on something of that magnitude that required work throughout the year rather than in one finite period was too much for me.
She pushed, telling me that it wouldn’t be so bad that I could have other moms help me. And I stood firm. I’m already burned out with everything, and that’s just not something I should add to my plate.
I’m finally learning to say no. And I have to say that it felt pretty good. It’s not my responsibility to ensure that every position on their slate is filled, and I can only sign up for what I have capacity to do.
Then again, we had the kindergarten orientation on Thursday, and the VP of fundraising was there and thanked me for agreeing to work on the ad hoc fundraisers. I think I set her straight. I hope. If not, does anyone have any good, easy fundriasering ideas?