I'm sure you've seen the advertisements on Facebook and TV for the new comedy Bad Moms, released in theaters July 29. It tells the story of an over-worked and over-committed PTA mom who teams up with other stressed-out moms to free themselves from the everyday challenge of balancing kids, home and their careers.
In the movie, some of the seemingly perfect moms ridicule the main character, Amy Mitchell (played by Mila Kunis), and her friends at various PTA meetings and events as they let loose and stop trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. While this is an extreme and fictional plot, the stress these moms feel is a relatable narrative for many moms (and dads) across the country.
As a mom, I understand the often thankless work it takes to raise kids, and I agree with the film that being a mom is one of the toughest jobs out there. It can be overwhelming and exhausting, and at times you need to take a break, have fun and do something for yourself. However, at the end of the day--as the movie shows--we love our children fiercely and have a universal desire to build a strong foundation for our children. As a PTA leader and member, I also know it is important to be involved in the hard work in a community to help schools improve and make every child's potential a reality.
PTA has been around for a long time--more than 119 years. Throughout all of those years, we have been a community for families who need support during the busy, fast-paced school year. We have been an ardent advocate for bettering the lives of every child in education, health and safety. Our community is 4 million members strong and truly makes a difference in the lives and futures of our nation's children.
With PTA, parents come together to create powerful change and solve the toughest problems facing our schools and communities. PTA is responsible for the creation of kindergarten classes, child labor laws to protect children, healthy school lunch programs and juvenile justice reform. Currently, the association is advocating for policies that protect LGBTQ youth and practices that create and maintain safe, affirming and inclusive learning environments for all students.
I won't lie to you, being a PTA leader is a big job, but I'm proud of the work we do. I dedicate the time because I know it makes a difference for our schools, communities and our children's long-term success. Unlike the depiction in the movie, PTA members strive to be collaborative, committed, diverse, respectful and accountable. When we achieve these values, we can reach remarkable milestones.
So, savor these last few weeks of summer before gearing up for another hectic school year. Some of you will enjoy this guilty pleasure and laughing with the PTA overachievers in the movie. It's OK, we get the joke. But please consider getting involved in your local PTA. I personally encourage you to become part of the network of PTA parents who believe that every child deserves a high-quality education in a healthy and safe environment that enables them to pursue their dreams.
Laura Bay is president of National PTA, a nonprofit association dedicated to making a difference for children's health, safety, well-being and educational success through family and community involvement.