This morning I’m comparison-shopping sombreros and bajas for the elementary school book fair, sponsored by the PTA, before the meeting to be held later this morning to discuss details for the upcoming fair, where we’ll review dates and add more to-do’s to our lists. There are some mothers who enjoy this type of thing, I suppose–welcoming the social interaction, the opportunity to play a larger role in the school, a warming sense of “giving back” and “helping out.” I sign up out of a sense of obligation and duty, and I absolutely dread any and all added responsibility in my life. I despise leadership roles and refrain from them at all costs. I volunteer to never volunteer to lead any committee. Among friends, I’m rarely the one to organize the plans, to call for reservations, to coordinate schedules, to research the restaurants (okay, egregious lie, but only because I obsess over menus), and many of my friends love me for this very quality. Because it allows them to be in control, the way they like it! Everyone wins! I want no control, they want it all.
I wonder if this quality is hard-wired in us–if possessing qualities of leadership are innate talents which can develop into strengths or flaws (control freak/ micro-manager) depending on how they’re nurtured. Though I think I’m muddying the waters because there’s a difference between leadership and control. Instead, I should say, does one raise a Type B child, or is she born this way? And just because you’re “Type B” it doesn’t mean you’re a follower, exactly, but you are pretty likely to just go with the flow, whatever (not to the detriment of others, and it doesn’t mean you’re not inventive or creative, but you sometimes prefer the behind the scenes approach of attack). I understand the need for more women in leadership roles throughout our country, and I believe in building confidence and equality. I also believe in knowing your own strengths and believing in the power of those strengths and leading through using them. My strengths are my honesty, wisdom, and overarching creativity. Sometimes these lend themselves to leadership roles, like being a mother, or an art or writing teacher, for example. But organizing a school committee or being a classroom mom is my idea of air turbulence where the oxygen masks drop down for you and for the safety of those around you. I am forever thankful that we don’t all share the same strengths, that there are women who thrive as PTA Chairs and heads of committees, that they are willing and able to make and take the time to create the school we love for the ones we love. I am also thankful not to be one of them.