Fall is here. The leaves are turning colors, pumpkin spice is in everything, and the moms at my kids’ elementary school are planning their first of many PTA fundraisers. On a quiet Thursday night I head to the school library for a PTA meeting where I will be expected to sign up for various volunteer duties. As I get there, find my seat, and get settled in, I look around me and begin to feel like I’ve just landed on Mars as I notice these 10 people who always seem to show up to these meetings.
1. The Craft Czar
She is the mom who has a Pinterest solution for any potential problem. Her suggestions for everything from bake sales to raffles often require glitter, hot glue guns and trips to AC Moore.
2. The Coffee Addict
This mom has slightly shaky hands, some serious coffee breath, and wide-eyes to go with her toothy grin. She’s been mainlining caffeine all day and is now ready to either take on a fundraiser by herself or pass out.
3. The I-Used-To-Be-A-Teacher-So-I-Know-More-Than-You
Ugh. This member is basically an asshole. Avoid her committee at all costs. Unless you are The Slacker, in which case stick to this woman like chewing gum on the bottom of a student desk because she’ll basically do your work for you.
4. The Fourth Term President (or secretary or treasurer or whatever)
This is the mom who has been around for years and knows all the dirt. She’ll tell you how to navigate the school secretary, which teachers to work with, and which PTA moms are the least helpful. She is very nice and pleasant. She has to be, she’s on her fourth term.
5. The Slacker
She will come to maybe half of the meetings and will skip most of the events. Her contributions are always store-bought, which is fine, except that they aren’t exactly what the committee was looking for. She was signed up to bring peanut butter cups so she showed up with a jar of peanut butter and a pack of 200 shot-sized wax Dixie cups.
6. The Nay-Sayer
She will boo-hiss every suggestion made at every meeting. A real Debbie Downer, you’ll want to throat punch this black hole of fun at least once during your time in the PTA. Avoid sitting next to her. Also, avoid whichever committee she is on.
7. The Mascot
Possibly the most fun (teetering on the line of most obnoxious), this mom truly loves the school and all of its students and teachers. Her enthusiasm is contagious and without her vibrant energy, meetings and events just lose their pizazz.
8. The Business Owner
This mom, while an expert in her professional field, completely misses the point of volunteering for the PTA and will turn every meeting into a learning lesson for how the PTA could be better if only all you chuckleheads followed her sound business advice.
9. The Kiss Ass
You can spot her a mile away giving hollow compliments while she brown noses the committee leaders, president and most popular teachers. She has no time for anyone else. Actually, she’s kind of a bitch.
10. The Quitter
There is always one. Every year the PTA will start out with a bang and all of the folding chairs will be filled with well-meaning parents ready to raise all the money and show all the appreciation for teachers. The Quitter will sign up for a committee and then…quit.
The authoritative and anonymous “They” of the world are right; it does take a village. If you’re lucky and you join the PTA—or any other organization geared toward raising great kids—then you are bound to meet these 10 colorful characters, too.
And if you’re being honest with yourself, you’re one of these characters.