There were five tables with strange items for a P&C (PTA) meeting set around and some chairs placed at the back. There were knives, chopping board, bits of food, uniforms, photographs, plants etc.
Mmm, maybe there was going to be a talk and probably a slideshow of some kind? I was up for some entertainment tonight. There could be some wine and cheese as well. I was strangely surprised at how calm I was.
I quickly went to the seat that was farthest behind and behind a pillar. I squeezed past Melanie, a new migrant mother who only spoke English from watching advertisements. She knew a smattering of phrases like “I’m loving it” or “Melts in your mouth, not in your Hands”. I was hoping to stay unnoticed. I looked down on the floor, and started reading the dirt tracks and hair balls on the worn carpet as if it was War and Peace.
I was in my Sunday best, the white dress which Lizzie insisted was my special Good luck Princess dress.
And I needed some good luck.
No, I slowly smiled to myself, I did’t need luck.
Because I had THE MUMMY IDEA.
The Principal started thanking and talking about the past -in the last school year, the school had raised $30,000 which was spent on upgrading computers, and how the school was so grateful. He then thanked Tabitha for being such a dazzling success who nailed it and became the darling of the school, the mother most invited to morning coffees, whose child had the most playdates, the child who had the most birthday invites, the child who was chosen to be Prefect, Head Boy/Girl, the Lead in the school Play, the child with the most awards, etc. He then said said three words for the parents who did not make it- who lived on the fringes of the school – Bunnings Sausage Sizzle (*Iconic Aussie fundraising activity where people cook hot dogs on a hot grill on 45 degrees day or hail storms and sell them to the famous hardware store customers. There is no running tap or facilities near by. All right, will stop scaring you now as you might have nightmares of greasy BBQs.)
“All right, the P&C elections are open!” The Principal said and the air buzzed with electricity, “But we’re doing something different this year! Tabitha had an excellent idea. She proposed setting up stations so that you can ask questions or give it a go. Then we’ll pick the best people for the P&C! What a brainwave, Tabitha!”
The room erupted in applause and people started moving around but my smug look froze.
“Melanie?” I asked puzzledly.
“Hello Moto?” she said.
“What’s happening?” I asked confused.
“I like to teach the world to sing!” said Melanie as she looked at all the stations.
There were five stations spread round, each headed by one of the Ladies in waiting to the Queen Bee who was manning of the stations herself.
Station 1 – Fundraising – where parents were arm twisting and arm wrestling while reciting five nursery rhymes backwards. “Who could develop the most devious dirtiest time sucking elbow greasing highest grossing plans ever and still not be unfriended on Facebook?”
Station 2 – Executive Positions – where parents had to see who could talk the most and loudest and still order a dinner party, order a uniform, order a plant/animal/child, RSVP to a fundraiser and design the new uniform all at the same time. “Who could finish the marathon 12 hour P&C meetings in the same outfit on one cup of coffee?”
Station 3 – Canteen – where parents were in MasterChef & Iron Chef style Competitions – who could slice an onion without crying about their partners or making a vegemite peanut butter jelly M&Ms Oreo cookie and eat it WITHOUT staining their shirts. “Who could pack a lunch in 10 seconds?”
Station 4-Building & Maintenance – where parents were identifying plants, animals and all 500 children of the school just with their sense of smell. “Who actually has nothing to do every weekend for the 52 weeks?”
Station 5 – Uniforms – parents were matching all 500 children with 1200 parents in terms of sizes. “Who can iron a school shirt in 5 seconds?”
I stood awkwardly, unsure of where I should go, of where I should start. This was not in my Mummy plan, rats.
“Go for something you’re not good at so that you can have the most practice,” Hugh-Jackman Kevin whispered as he walked up to me.
“Ummm…I’m not good at pretty much everything?” I slowly shrugged my shoulders, ignoring his intoxicating scent of playdoh, kids bath soap and roast chicken, “I’m probably only good at Executive?”
“Let’s try the Canteen table then!”
“No…no…I’m not going to try, I’m…”
I was going to just say it now. “Too BUSY!” My battle cry rang out and I was sure it was a huge idea bomb.
I was a stay at home mum with two school-going kids, a hopefully gainfully employed soon other half, there were floors to mop, cupboards to wipe, laundry to wash and fold, lunches to make, errands to run, fridge to stock, books to read, bananas to eat, land to plough, chickens to feed, strawberries to pick, horses to groom, bok choys to harvest and of course, Oprah re-runs to watch.
This happens all the time, we all know that mums are always TOO BUSY?
TOO BUSY – The most unoriginal mummy idea EVER invented by a mummy.
Hugh-Jackman Kevin looked at me and then smiled broadly,”Then I have the most perfect job for you!”
“Melanie?” I asked, “Tell Kevin…”
“Just do it!” Melanie said rather cheerfully.
Someone help me please, I prayed in my innermost voice, somebody please as Kevin playfully pushed me towards Her Royal Parenting Highness, Tabitha, Queen Bee of all Richmond Primary School, the surrounding Coffee Clubs and her dominions. She looked like she had other ideas for me!
The Mummy War was just beginning.
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