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Family life

Parent council: Should I join?

Tracy Chappell isn’t sure what’s holding her back from taking the leap into the world of the parent council.

ParentCouncil-September2013-iStockphoto Photo: iStockphoto

Follow along as Today’s Parent senior editor Tracy Chappell shares her refreshingly positive take on parenting her two young daughters. She’s been blogging her relatable experiences for our publication since 2005.

"What’s the hesitation?" I asked myself this question last year, after I read about our school’s parent council ramping up for a fun-filled school year. Only one of my kids was at the school, I told myself, and once they were both there, I would think about joining the ranks of those fundraising, spreadsheet-wielding, uber-organized supermoms.

That time is now, with both of my kids enrolled in full-day school at the same place. So really, why am I reluctant about the whole thing? After all, this is a great way to meet some other families in our community, get involved in my kids’ school and feel like I’m taking part in some of my their favourite events (and maybe create some new ones). My colleague Nadine Silverthorne is always saying how great it is being part of parent council. (She also claims beer can be involved, if you’re lucky.)

I thought it would be too much work, that I already had a full plate (and wasn’t eager to fill the empty spots around the edges with more work). I also wondered if I’d be very good at it, to be honest. I know lots of moms whose brains overflow with creative ideas, who know how to use excel calculations, who are go-getter fundraisers who always say things like, “I know someone who could get that for us!” I’m not one of them. But maybe I just need to expose myself to something new like this to expand my skills, as well as my circle. I really do want to get more involved in our community, and I think this could be a good step in that direction. I also don’t know why I have a feeling that parents on the council aren’t nice. Does everyone think that? I’m not sure where it comes from (maybe the movies?), since Nadine is the only person I know who actually sits on a parent council, and she’s wonderful.

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I was chatting with another mom in the schoolyard who seemed to share all of my reservations, yet we both kinda-sorta wanted to join. So we decided to do it together — strength in numbers. We filled out our papers and next week, will go to our first council meeting and see what it’s all about. Maybe, like Nadine, I’ll wonder how I ever fully lived without council…

Are you involved in your school’s parent council? I’d love to hear what your experience has been like so far, and the kinds of things you do.

This article was originally published on Sep 25, 2013

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