As the parliamentarian of the PTA, it is my job to revise and renew the bylaws with the California State PTA every two years. This was my first time, and I've known that I have to do this since at least the beginning of the school year, maybe before. I didn't feel a great sense of urgency in the fall because our current bylaws are dated 2007, so waiting until 2009 didn't seem like a big deal. But I did have a long meeting with the district parliamentarian in early december, and took, what I considered at the time to be detailed and copious, notes.
Then I got sick.
My only other job as parliamentarian is to form a nominating committee and fill any vacancies on the board of the PTA for the next school year. Clearly, I could not do that from a hospital bed, so other members of the board lovingly and generously took that job over for me. Now, I've had some board members e-mail me, and offer their assistance with this bylaws bullshit, and I've said, No no no, its taken care of, I really want to do it since I couldn't do half of my job this year, etc. etc. I got the distinct impression that they were e-mailing me because they have a sense of urgency, even if I don't.
So, tomorrow is my first PTA board meeting since December, and I'm thinking, No problem, I'll just make sure I get everything done before the meeting.
God, I'm stupid.
Rob helped me compare the old bylaws to the new bylaws and suss out the hardly noticeable changes made by the state. I typed them all up for the meeting tomorrow. Then I looked at the "detailed and copious" notes I took back in December, and, as it turns out, not so detailed, not so copious, and in clear opposition to actual printed instructions I received, which I would have noticed had I bothered to read them before today. Also, looking through the expertly organized binder handed down to me by the previous parliamentarian, I noticed that there is a draft copy of our current bylaws that includes some stuff at the end that isn't in our signed originals of the final bylaws. I am left to wonder if those extra things at the end of the draft are part of the actual bylaws or not, and to ask someone on the board would be to admit that I haven't even looked at any of this stuff before today. AND! I read today that there is supposed to be a bylaws committee, so I was never expected to do all of this on my own in the first place, but stupid me had to open my fat head hole and reject the offers of help!!!
Have I mentioned that I'm screwed?
I've e-mailed the district parliamentarian to pump her for info, and I could be looking at a long night. I would rather clean my house than do this. I would rather pull weeds than do this. I would rather pick my own butt than do this*.
But this isn't even the frustrating part. It just sheds more light on the much larger issue of What the Hell am I Doing with my Life? I thought, because I'm a stay-at-home mom with only one kid and no apparent home making skills, that I should spend a lot of my free time volunteering at my kid's school. I felt like if I just sat around and enjoyed my free time by, oh I don't know, reading a book or going to lunch or puttering or singing and dancing around my kitchen, that I would be breaking all the rules that I've been brought up to believe are the backbone of any family, namely, work and toil, work and toil, work and toil, have a cocktail, and work and toil some more. My dear husband thinks the work and toil mentality is bullshit, and I just love that about him. Anyway, I volunteered my little heart out this year, and you know what? Its not that fun or fullfilling. And after spending an entire season recovering from a serious illness, I have discovered that maybe all this volunteering is not for me. I started out wanting to volunteer partly because I thought I should, but also partly because I wanted to show Leila that school is important enough for me to take the time to be a part of it with her. Turns out, though, all the stuff I volunteered to do is stuff she doesn't see me do, or hears me complain about doing. Don't show your kids that you hate the job you chose, whatever that job is, right? Next year, I'm going to be very selective about what I do at the school, and I'm going to spend more time in her classroom, where she can see that I am there.
But that's not even what I was going to say. The same forty people, mostly women, show up for all the meetings, and all the volunteer stuff. I've written about these women, these alpha women, these women who were probably in powerful jobs before they had kids, and have lots of can-do attitude, and are thin and fit and vibrant and organized go-getters. I have total admiration for these women, I wish I had half their energy and their stamina and their thighs, but, let's face it folks, I am not one of these women. If I was ever an alpha go-getter, I'm not one now. I'm more like the golden retriever accompanying these women when they go running; trying to keep up, but really more interested in my next meal and taking long naps on the couch. I had a college roommate who compared herself to an old dog, and now I know exactly what she meant. I've surrounded myself with people who, by their very nature (and I in no way am criticizing their very nature, I'm actually totally jealous,) make me feel like a loser. Actually, they don't make me feel like a loser at all, I do that all by myself.
Don't you think its a bad idea to willingly put one's self in a league where you can never feel like you're doing enough, and you're terrible at what you are managing to do? Yeah, I need a different crowd.
Like how I managed to avoid working on my bylaw project for a while?
* That's for you, Jo.
I was a PTA mom forever . . . even PTA president once. I finally realized that if ever single one of us was killed off in a single day, the school would still open the following day. PTA serves a purpose but there are way too many PTA moms that think they are the hub that turns the wheel. You are totally cool just being you (don't I sound like Randy on American Idol??). Love your analogy of what type of dog you are! I'll have to get back to you about what type of dog I am; that takes some considering!
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