Writer Jordan Rosenfeld did parent groups everywhere a service last week with her Not a “PTA Mom” piece that was published as a New York Time’s Motherlode column.

It’s always appreciated when someone holds up the stereotype of the PTA or PTO mom and shows it for the absurdity that it is. Rosenfeld says in her column that she had believed your average parent volunteer was a “carefully coifed, cupcake-baking beast of a woman whose pastel capris never bore so much as a smudge of child-effluence.”

But once she got involved at her son’s school, Rosenfeld developed a different view as she came to know a diverse group of moms and dads who were just parents who wanted to work hard on behalf of their kids’ school.

So kudos to Rosenfeld for giving her parent group a try and being vocal about the old stereotype. You do have to wonder, though, why this image of  the PTA or PTO lady as the uber perfectionist (and therefore someone you would not want to be around) still endures. It’s been 46 years since the hit song “Harper Valley PTA.” Can’t we just let it go?

Personally, I think the “cupcake-baking beast” has gotten a really bad rap. In the decade I spent on a PTO, I remember all types, including a few Martha Stewart clones, but what I remember most is that those clones helped. They showed up. They contributed. Hey, maybe we didn't hang out together (and maybe I didn't want to), but the work they did on behalf of the school was appreciated.

So how about this as a new rule: If a parent volunteers and pitches in, how about we leave it at that? That way we can focus on what really counts—how these parents are making such a difference for our kids.