Recently I was asked to to spearhead a major fundraiser for my daughter's PTO.
I said no.
Do you know how much guts this took? Do you know how long I wrangled over this decision? Do you know how I weighed pros and cons, deliberated over whether my daughter be cheated if I didn't support her school in this fashion, and questioned if I was being a good enough mother? Do you know how many times I deleted entire sentences in my email reply to make sure I struck the precise balance of "I sure am glad you thought of me" and "if I have one more thing added to my plate right now, I fear things are going to get ugly"?
The answer: a whole lot more than I would have if I had been a guy.
I hate over-generalizations and blanket statements. I call them out when my college students use them, and I ask them to write and speak with more accuracy and precision. But, in this instance, I'm making a sweeping claim:
Women, not men, allow this type of request to percolate in their minds and emotions not just for minutes, not just for hours, but for days before they make a decision. If the mother answers yes, it's likely that her decision was influenced in some way by a small, yet niggling, sense of guilt. If the mother answers no, it's likely this decision then creates some small, yet niggling, sense of guilt.
And for another sweeping claim (since we're already sweeping), men never are the ones who are requested to spearhead major PTO fundraisers in the first place.