Home & Leisure

From That Annoying Lady in the PTA, a Call to Arms


Dear parents,

Greetings, fellow chauffeurs, cooks, therapists and personal assistants!

Mandy Jensen here, mom to 4th-grade quadruplets McKenzie, McKenna, McQueen and McLean.

I'm sure you know who I am: The woman perpetually wearing $200 yoga pants and $250 sneakers, someone with six kids and an inexhaustible wellspring of energy, who allegedly works a full-time job while also playing paddle tennis six times a week, running the PTA, crocheting all the banners for spirit week and still baking allergen-free souffles for the bimonthly Children's Hospital bake sale. Every time you see me out of school, I'm either buying enough groceries to feed the Red Army or am in the process of ferrying my kids to/from one of dozens of extracurricular activities. (In fact, I gotta wrap this up soon because it's almost time for McKenna's rhythmic gymnastics traveling team competition, which is being held a short 15-hour drive away in Kankakee, Illinois!)

Let me be brief: I'm demanding your help.

You may think that your only responsibilities as a parent are to care for and love your child, but I'm here to inform you of your additional duties to serve as school volunteers. Don't worry, this year, we only need lunch volunteers, math volunteers, reading volunteers, library volunteers, bus volunteers, recess volunteers, field trip volunteers and landscaping volunteers.

Or maybe you can't or don't want to volunteer, which is totally fine (in the sense that it is not fine at all and should make you feel an abiding sense of personal failure). In that case, I'd like to offer you an opportunity to buy your way out of participating in your child's life!

We, the PTA, are looking for donations for the following items: classroom decorations, hallway decorations, lunchroom decorations, gym decorations, library decorations, library books, snacks for the teachers' lounge, napkins for the Getting-To-Know-You Ice Cream Social (which also serves as a recruitment opportunity for the Getting-To-Know-You Ice Cream Social Committee), couscous for the superintendent's monthly catered Moroccan lunches, and, of course, holiday party activities.

Now, I'm sure you all know about the holiday parties, but just in case you recently moved here from the Bermuda Triangle, we're already solidly in the middle of party season, which started with the Secular Fall Leaf Festival (mentions of "harvests" recently having been banned in case children from nonfarming families feel left out) and ends when our kids bring home so many seasonal coloring sheets that we have to build an addition onto the house to store them all!


At this point, I would like to address the shocking and disturbing allegations that at a previous holiday party, a parent distributed a dangerous substance called "lollipops." As you know, candy is intended solely for use in adults' recreational cannabis products and has no place as children's treats. In the respectable houses in this town, parents let their kids trick or treat in elaborate handmade costumes, allow them to select one (1) piece of candy, then throw the rest onto a giant bonfire where the children can watch the innocence of their youth drift off into the sky like so much sweet-smelling smoke.

But back to business: Parents, your efforts are required. By Tuesday, email back (or text back or Slack back or Messenger back or DoodleBug back or WhatsApp back on one of the 34 different WhatsApp groups to which you are a member) with your selected mode of participation.

We can't do it without your support -- literally -- because instead of redirecting toward public education a fraction of the trillions of federal dollars we spend every year on missiles that will age into obsolescence in dusty North Dakota silos, we rely on parents and teachers to pick up the slack, leading to deep educational inequities between families where parents do and do not have extra time and money to invest. Makes sense, right?

Just remember, the more school-aged children you have, the more you need to volunteer/donate. (And young people say having kids is so hard!)

Until next time, when you see me on the blacktop holding a project allegedly made by my kindergartner that looks as if we hired I.M. Pei to draft it,


To learn more about Georgia Garvey, visit


Copyright 2023 Creators Syndicate Inc.




Dogs of C-Kennel Andy Marlette A.F. Branco Bob Englehart Caption It Al Goodwyn