Worn out after icing too many fairy cakes, the PTA chair had resigned. Having served the requisite martyrdom period, counted book-fair takings and churned out baked goods for the past five years, Mrs B was elected. A reign of tyranny began.
As Queen Bee she wanted more workers. She preyed on new school mothers who imagined the PTA was about contributing and having fun. Experienced mums faked deafness or hid when she approached, but new ones smiled and signed up. I was the teacher representative so they were soon crying on me in droves.
Mrs B exploited working mums' guilt, demanding their firms provide lavish prizes. One harassed lady donated a #163;150 hamper herself rather than risk aggravating her boss or, worse, Mrs B.
"We must modernise," she said to alarmed committee members who came to meetings mainly for a sit-down and a custard cream. For the Christmas bazaar she festooned the hall with flashing lights, and visitors braved having their heads kicked in by the herd of mechanical reindeer tripping across the ceiling. My timid reminder of our eco-school status met with a blank stare.
For the summer fair she favoured blinis over a barbecue and demanded pak choi, not geraniums, on the plant stall. Cue unhappy attendees searching for something you could put in a bap or a window box. I explained that Jade's parents had sizzled sausages for years and were mortally offended. "No pain, no gain," she glared, brandishing her clipboard at me.
Eventually, she resigned. Months later I saw the ashen-faced local vicar. Mrs B was now wreaking havoc on the harvest festival committee. "She wants pak choi, not potatoes," he whimpered.
- The writer is a primary teacher in Cambridgeshire. Send your worst parent stories to email@example.com and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.