Dynamics of being Volunteer Mom at School

volunteer

My son started Kindergarten this year, which was a hard adjustment for me getting used to my baby going to school. During school sign ups I signed up for the PTA (Parent Teacher Association), classroom volunteer, and Room Mother. I have mixed feeling about public school in the state I live in and we are not known for having the best education, so I decided I wanted to be as involved at the school as I could so I could better understand the needs of our children at school.

Well I was chosen to be Room Mother for my son’s Kindergarten class, which I am very excited about. Although after meeting with my son’s teacher I had no idea what I had really gotten myself into. I thought the Room moms where in charge of planning all the fun activities like Halloween parties. Nope, there is more you have to coordinate parent volunteers to come in and help with reading groups and other educational activities as well as working with the kids. You are basically a teacher’s aide with no pay. Not that it’s a bad thing don’t get me wrong, and I have actually been enjoying helping out in the classroom.

I have also been learning about the mom clicks that exist in the school, it’s almost as if I’m back in High School again. It’s almost amusing to watch at times that even as adults this dynamic of clicks still exists.

PTA

I’m sure its different state to state but as you know I am from Utah and most people are LDS here, and the first question most people ask you who are from Utah is “What ward are you in?” or “Where did you serve your mission?”. I’m sure some of you are googling what I am even talking about right now, but growing up here my entire life it’s a question I have grown tired of and wonder if people from Utah know how to start a conversation any other way when they first meet you.

My point to that long explanation is that here there is a click dynamic based on religion, all the Mom volunteers all know each other well and it’s not due to their children going to the same school. It’s because they all go to the same church (ward). They very much stick to their click and so far from what I have experience barely speak to you. I definitely feel like the odd man out at the volunteer meetings and planning sessions.

Not that I care to be in the “It” crowd, but as an adult I would hope there is more to life than only being able to speak to the people who go to the same church as you or being able to have a conversation that involves something other than what has been going on at church.

Then there is the “uncool” mom crowd (this does not literally mean we are not cool or great moms we just don’t fit the “It” crowd stereotype here), which is where I fit at this time we are the ones who do not go to church and get the judgmental looks. I especially love after they ask me what ward we are in and I tell them “We are not LDS”. That pretty much ends the conversation with that mom, they only again talk to you if they have to in regards to something about the school for the meeting.

So far I have felt like a third wheel at most meeting and the events I have volunteered at, but I am outgoing so I pretty much just put myself out there and I am not afraid to ask questions. I am there for the kids not to be part of a click or there for social hour so it’s not a big deal.

 

I just hope that as I begin to learn these school mom dynamics that this will change throughout the year. I am all for the positive women movements that are being pushed for and for us to stop judging and shaming each other, and the need to put a stop to the clicks that are still going on in our adult lives.

I am not really sure how to affect it in the school mom dynamic other than I am friendly to everyone and do not judge them for doing what they do and believing what they believe. So I guess that is a start right?

Your overwhelmed,

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18 thoughts on “Dynamics of being Volunteer Mom at School

  1. Go you, I often see invites for parent PTAs, I just wish I had the time to be more involved. I am the mum who doesn’t get to do the school run very often so I look like a kid at Christmas when i get a day off to do it. Good for you not getting involved in the “it” crowds we have them here I believe. “Where did you start your mission” love this but I suspect I will get many blank looks in England if I use it!

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    • Thank you I am really trying hard, as I have grown up here all my life and it’s become a sore spot but I want to teach my son to be better and love people for who they are not because they are the same religion. Thanks for stopping by

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  2. I can’t imagine what that would be like. Religion is rarely brought up in conversation where I am from….most people aren’t very religious anymore around here. It’s absolutely great you get to be so involved but I really think they should be training and hiring teachers aids like you say! They had a big strike up here for teacher’s pay and to hire teacher’s aids that lasted 2 or 3 months into the school year! Anyways, good luck and looking forward to hearing how it’s going. #famjamlinky

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  3. My other friend who grew up in Utah said very much the same thing. If you weren’t a LDS, then many people just wouldn’t bother with you at all, however much you had in common. Good luck with finding like-minded others to befriend and with breaking down a few barriers. #bestandworst

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  4. I remember those “mom cliques” from school quite well! They weren’t based on religion where my kids went to school, but they were definitely there. I think you are handling it perfectly: be nice to everyone, get the job done (because you are right, being a room mom is pretty much the same as being a teacher’s aid, that’s what the cuts in school budgets have done) and don’t join a clique, even if you are able to do so. In the long run, you’ll get the satisfaction of helping the kids, and knowing that you treated everyone right. Plus, those cliques shift around and fade away as the kids get older and form different friendships themselves, or at least that’s what happened in my school district. But our cliques were based more on household income, desire to have their kids be “the best,” etc., rather than religion.

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  5. This sounds like a great challenge and satisfying in a way, good luck with it all, I look forward to following your posts to see how you get on. Thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst and hope you’ll link up again! 🙂

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  6. First of all I appreciate you lending your time to the school to get involved and organize is not an easy task. Secondly the clicks, the groups, are there all over the world. Sad that we never outgrow the tiny mindset, and make the folly of passing it on to the next generation. If only humans could see beyond the artificial layers of life, like those children who aren’t still tainted by society.

    But you are doing a great job there!

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  7. You are much braver than me. I have let my son’s teacher know that I am more than happy to come in and help in the classroom but there was no one anyone was getting me to join the PTA. Nope…no thank you. But just because one doesn’t join the PTA doesn’t mean that they can’t be actively involved in their child’s education. I hope things get better for you. Religion and polotics are way too much in everything these days. Thank you for sharing with #momsterslink.

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