18 Jun
I’d Rather Join the FBI Than the PTA

It’s Guest Post Friday everyone! Today we’re thrilled to welcome Amy Wilson, the author of the new book When Did I Get Like This? and star of the off-Broadway hit Mother Load. Amy is a very accomplished writer, actress and mother and she’s also super funny. Plus we suspect she’s quite a wonderful person, too, because she’s giving away two copies of her book to a lucky reader! Yay!

Just leave a comment on this post letting us know a way to hide from the PTA and we’ll enter you in our drawing to win. Then please go check out motherloadtheblog.com and amywilson.com. Thanks, Amy!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I made a very huge mistake last year and fear I can never, ever get out of it short of moving or death. You see, I decided to become active in a militant group more popularly known as the PTA. They insist on blood (really), sweat (so unattractive) and tears (usually caused by the meanest of mean girl that can be found outside of a high school).

After realizing “These women are scary,” I quit and now they won’t go away. They stalk my Facebook, watch my tweets and even wait until I post something on my blog so they can then try to decipher hidden meanings in it that they think they can use to bring me down.

Do you think I have to change my name, move and join the witness protection program or is there another way to make these meanie moms go away? I tried a Roach Motel and Pest Control, but I am pretty sure they could even survive a nuclear war along with the roaches and Wall-E.


If I Wanted to Play High School Games, It Wouldn’t Be Mean Girls; It’d Involve a Cheerleading Outfit & My Husband


Dear If I Wanted,

It is so true that when our kids go back to school, we do also– and, for better and worse, we have a real possibility of a do-over, a chance to sit at a different lunch table. Unlike our own high school experiences, where the rules for who sat at the Mean Girls’ table were as inscrutable as they were ironclad, the rules for being part of the “in” crowd among school parents seem pretty simple. Like Marcia Brady, all one need do is sign oneself up. Β It sounds like that was your plan last year. But now that you’ve realized the Pretty Terrifying Absolutists are not really your style, did you really think you could just walk away? What were you thinking? They’ll cut a bitch.

Here’s what you need to understand: you cannot break up with a stalker, or else they’ll stalk you. You have to get them to break up with YOU, if they’re ever going to leave you alone. In your case, the best way to do this– stay with me, here– is to actually rejoin the PTA, but on the lowest-rung committee you can find. The Semiannual Coaches’ Appreciation Breakfast? The used pencils drive for the less fortunate (or less pencil-owning?) Pretend you’ve seen the light. Get back in- just a little bit. Then, be so lame at your lowly task that someone else has to step in and pick up the slack for you. Once they realize you are apparently so dim you don’t even know how to photocopy, they’ll dump your ass, and go after some sweet, unsuspecting pre-K mom. And sure, you could warn her.

But in a world this cutthroat, you gotta look out for yourself.


Amy Wilson, Guest TMH

37 Responses to “I’d Rather Join the FBI Than the PTA”


Comment by Nicole.

Oh man, that was totally was what I was going to answer. And I am totally living proof that it works. Our PTA is actually quite friendly, so instead of stalking or being mean one friend actually concocted a story about someone else wanting to take over my job πŸ™‚ I felt a twinge of guilt and annoyance, but got over it. Unfortunately, our PTA pres is an irresistable good-looking dad and he convinced me to sign up for another job.


Comment by redgirl.

Other than inventing an extremely contagious disease that erupts catastrophically under stress or bringing laxative-laden cookies to every meet, you don’t have a whole lot of options.

Tell them that your schedule’s tight, but you’d love to do your (small) part if someone can meet up with you when you have a moment. Then list times such as 4 in the morning, or during the World Cup endgame. Then add some vapid eye blinking and you’re good to go.


Comment by Cheryl.

Repent, repent, repent. Rejoin and offer to bring refreshments. Bring cold day-old coffee and the cheapest store-brand matzohs you can find. Never volunteer to chair a committee just be a helper who’s never available because your (fill in the blank) is sick, dying, died. Keep a list so you don’t repeat and end up with 6 grandmothers and 12 grandfathers.

Get ’em where it hurts: sugarless food and sympathy. They’ll see you’re bad luck and kick your butt to the curb.


Comment by SometimesYouNeedtobeKind.

What great advice!!!


Comment by mari.

the easiest way to hide from the PTA is not have kids … or never join in the first place!

you could take the opposite tack of Amy’s advice and play into their pettiness — post things on Facebook that ARE meant for them and little swipes and jabs. could add a little drama to things and negate the need to hide all together.

but realistically the above advice is probably best. i don’t have kids yet, but look forward to the day when these are my struggles.


Comment by GrandeMocha.

I just stay far, far away. When they talk about the latest fundraiser at birthday parties, I always say, “If they need more money to run this school, they should charge more tution. Who has time for all that bs?” They stopped asking me to help out.


Comment by Lara.

Great answers! My DD starts school in the fall, so I’ve avoided this so far, but I’ll have to keep this in mind and look unreliable from the get-go.


Comment by dusty earth mother.

Well, you could take the high road. Rejoin and repeatedly interrupt trash-talk-fests by saying, “Come on, ladies. How are we going to teach our kids not to be ‘mean girls’ if we’re being ‘mean moms’?” I actually did that once and these women were genuinely embarrassed at their cattiness. It was so much fun!

Other than that, your only option is to contract Swine Flu. Yes, you might die, but it probably would be faster and less painful than a languishing living death with the PTA.


Comment by Wendi.

I always prefer to go incognito in my Kate Gosselin wig and sunglasses so the PTA doesn’t recognize me.


Comment by selphie.

Don’t have children? πŸ™‚


Comment by Katherine.

I agree with Mocha, smile and RUN…FAST!


Comment by Plano Mom.

I sucked up by doing two things –

I made the book drive poster every year, a five-day process where we had to count a gazillion pennies every evening and update the total.

Whatever they sold or needed, whenever they needed it – bought a case of whatever at Sams, or instead of buying the fundraiser I sent a check as a direct contribution.

Ok, I did three things – the last thing I did was to tell them that because of the nature of my job, I cannot commit to any specific time or place for anything. Once I didn’t show up for something, they quit asking.


Comment by Kayla.

Become a teacher. It worked great for my Mom. Everyone parent knows that teachers have enough on their plate as it is and don’t need more projects. Plus the Mom’s will be nice to you in case you get one of their kids in the future.


Comment by Karin.

I think I won the lottery of PTA b/c I love ours so much that I’m on the board this year.

How to hide though… hmmm – beat them to the punch – become militant about some kid worthy cause yourself so that you are (or at least appear) too busy doing something above board to be involved. Become the food nazi, the school budget gal, preschool volunteer of the year, active in Junior League, organizing some sort of activity, super healthy-active or best yet! – the real estate agent constantly trying to sell their house!!! But to keep your “cool girl” status, make sure to make something awesome for teacher luncheons and bake sales!


Comment by Kelly.

I found that the best hiding spot is right under their noses… I was the outcast mom when my son was in elementary school (I had him WAY young and the mommies didn’t like me much), so I used that to my advantage. Any approach will work if you put enough effort into it – whether it’s the “airhead” approach (Oops, was that meeting YESTERDAY??? I’m sorry, can you explain just ONE MORE TIME how to make a double sided copy? What do you mean it’s spelled F-A-I-R, not F-A-R-E?)
or the “obnoxious approach” (Aww, hon, don’t worry, no one will notice that teeny little stain on your shirt – they don’t pay that much attention to you. Oh, are you sure you should eat that muffin? You know it’ll go straight to your hips, right? Wow, you’re so self confident, I know if I were you and my husband looked like yours does I certainly wouldn’t be.)
Definitely sneak some snarky comments into the blog though. Just be vague enough so that it leaves them wondering which one of them you’re really picking on πŸ™‚


Comment by Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him.

I say go totally rogue and form your own counter-PTA. Have meetings at bars with lots of liquor. Never do fundraisers other than cake walks (because they’re awesome). And have no official titles or hierarchy. Everyone has to have the requisite bumper sticker, “My kid beat up your honor school student.”


Comment by Roshni.

That’s really good advice! So far I’ve managed to sidestep getting involved by the lame excuse, “I have a job” but if ever I get roped in, now I know how to pull myself out!


Comment by Leeanna.

Go to the meetings but be outspoken and obnoxious as hell. Ask stupid questions too. That will make them ask you not to come to the meetings ever again…worked for my sister.


Comment by pam.

I say hide in plain site. Go to their communist meetings. When they look to you for advice, volunteerIing, money, etc, stand up, spin around twice and yell ‘THE STARSHIP ENTERPRISE IS DOCKING LET’S GO!’


Comment by thepsychobabble.

I considered joining the PTA this year, when my daughter started school. I wanted to be an involved! parent!
Then I came to my senses…
Anyway, I recommend either moving to a new school district, or volunteering for something only to flake out. It may take repeated applications of flakiness for those PTA (Parental Terrorist Association) members to get the hint, but hang in there!


Comment by The Mouthy Housewives » We Are in Wove!.

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Comment by Masha.

How to avoid the Perennial Terror Attacks? Easy. Don’t have kids Ò˜º


Comment by My 3 C's.

Get a divorce then have daddy marry a childless woman that doesn’t know better and wants to show how devoted she is.


Comment by mexmom.

I think the best way to hide from PTA is to work full time, that way you always have an excuse for not being there…. and those mean girls can do all the work for you


Comment by alexmomdula.

I can’t hide from the PTA because I am the PTA. I walked into the job of PTA president when everyone else took a step back when I wasn’t looking. Now I eat, breath, sleep and live PTA. I am going to need rehab when my term of 3 years is up. I will have to be reprogrammed and move to Hawaii to find out who I was before PTA.

sharon Reply:

Can you please email me if you are interested ina project we are developing. Im in Los Angeles, where are you??


Comment by Cait.

Start bringing a flask to meetings. Fill it with water if you’d like. It’s the visual that’s important. Now take an empty pill bottle and fill it with tic tacs. Again, it’s the visual. When confronted, pinch your self so you can cry and tell the other parents that you’re just trying to manage everything, but the pressure is really getting to you. They should gladly let you step down after that πŸ™‚


Comment by writingmama04.

My advice – start carrying a Bible and offer to pray for whatever function is upcoming. People are VERY uncomfortable with public professions of faith in secular things like the PTA.

mom, again Reply:

not in the South.


Comment by Julie N. @ StageMama.com.

April 2010: wooed by the PTA with a bountiful white wine and cheese tray fete. I was intrigued. Wine and cheese make me weak.

May 2010: “Invited” to become the new Cultural Affairs chair. Accepted with the caveat that I can bring my best girlfriend along as my co-chair. Condition happily accepted.

June 2010: Fired from PTA because I missed two “coffee klatches” that were scheduled, each with less than a 24 hour notice.

Incoming Prez: “Yeah. PTA is sooooo hard for you working moms.”

The End. Thank God.


Comment by irlmumof2.

hysterical that i found this when my very first pta meeting is on MONDAY. Awesome advice from everyone including Amy. Will keep all of this in mind. I’m only going because my sister is making me and they do a wine tasting once a month and we plan on bring bottles of 2 buck chuck.


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