This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Beware of P.A.M.

At my daughter's school in Ohio there was a woman a friend and I nicknamed PAM (Passive Aggressive Martyr). PAM was a compulsive volunteer. PAM didn't volunteer for the joy of being active in her children's school and lives. PAM didn't volunteer because she didn't have anything better to do. PAM volunteered to gain power. We have all encountered these people in all different walks of life: they are the suck-ups at work, the teacher's pet in school, the person bringing a cold drink for the ref at sporting events, or the partygoer who usurps the hosts by serving drinks and hors d'oerves to the other guests. Men can be PAMs just as much as women, they just don't usually have as much time.

I am beginning to suspect that each school/organization has its own PAM. We move all the way to Massachusetts and whom do I meet within the first week of school? That's right, the resident PAM. She is president of the PTO, she volunteers in the library, donates the most books at the Book Fair, bakes the most cupcakes for the Bake Sale and probably turns in the most Box Tops during the Box Tops for Education drive. She is friendly without being your friend. She is, with the support of her husband, running the school.

I volunteer a lot too. I would absolutely be PAM material except that I'm not passive, not too aggressive, and I'm definitely not a martyr. I see volunteering as part of my job as stay-at-home-mom-with-a-child-in-school-all-day. If I'm not doing something to care for the family at home, then I should be spending at least some of my time helping out the school, because really, (I'll say it) what else do I have to do? You'll not find me listing the litany of chores I can't complete and complaining about the endless carpools. With only one child to care for, my life really is pretty easy. If I'm complaining, it's just because I feel like bitching, not because of any real hardship in my life.

I think a lot about going back to work. I was good at working and always liked it. I never can seem to find that perfect job that enables me to be home for sick days, snow days, half days, winter break, spring break, and summer vacation that doesn't require me actually working at the school. Parents that work at the school their children attend, I think I may have to add that to my stray peeves list because it is quickly becoming a new favorite peeve of mine. What may, on the surface, seem a perfect marriage of parenting availability and employment can also lead to blackmail, gossip, and other catty behaviors from parents who are unable to keep their work life and social life separate.

I'd like to think that all the PAMs have their eventual day of reckoning when the last child graduates. Are these the women you see working at Starbucks and Barnes & Noble on weekends with a slightly stunned, lost expression and a bit of Prozac quick dissolve tablets still melting on their tongues? Are these the women now turning that feverish energy on their own bodies as they relentlessly tone, tuck, Botox, and wax themselves to perfection? Or are these the women who are still doing their kids' laundry when said children are 28?

I don't know what I'll do when my daughter's schooling moves beyond my volunteering. I only know this, I'll fight to death against becoming a PAM!

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