One hour into the meeting, my mind started to wander, as it always does whenever I'm supposed to be listening to a panel of talking heads.
I find it somewhat ironic that since leaving the work force to become a stay-at-home mom and becoming involved in my daughter's public school, I spend many more hours in meetings than I ever did in the corporate world. There are PTA meetings, fundraising meetings, room parent meetings, school council meetings –- and this one, held monthly by our district for parent advocates of students in Title I programs.
With two hours to go, I inexplicably started thinking of the previous night's episode of "Desperate Housewives." I've been disappointed with the series this season, especially with the direction the producers have taken Felicity Huffman's character, Lynette.
Lynette used to be the one woman on the show that I could identify with. A former advertising executive who had always been a success, she discovered her Waterloo once she quit her job to raise her four children -– without much help from her workaholic husband. For the first time in her life, the road to success was not clear, and the consequences of failing would be way too high.
Lynette's quest to rein in her kids and bring them up to be good citizens was a struggle I could relate to, and made her a lot more interesting and sympathetic than the corporate schemer she's been this season. I feel that taking her away from Wisteria Lane shows a real lack of imagination by the producers, none of whom are likely to have much experience as a stay-at-home parent.
How much more interesting -– and real -– would it have been to have Lynette volunteer at her children's school, where she could put her talent and experience to the real challenge of improving the quality of their education … with limited funds. I would love to see her find creative ways to raise more money, convince other parents to get more involved, and see her finesse the sometimes disparate agendas of teachers, administrators and other parents.
I glanced around at the 200+ parents in the meeting room. These women (about 90 percent of the group was female) did not look glamorous. Most had jobs outside the home; jobs that were docking them their hourly pay for attending this meeting. Many were wearing headsets, indicating that they didn't understand English well enough to listen without the help of an interpreter. I imagine a good number of them had never finished high school, let alone college, and yet they were there, because they recognized the importance of educating their kids. And in the process, they had educated themselves well enough to follow the intricacies of the discussion of learning methods and theories that were being presented that day.
I remembered why I was there and returned my attention to the panel of experts, and wished I could see more women like these portrayed in prime time.
Donna is a San Fernando Valley wife and mother.