I just waded through a forest’s worth of papers for my three kids’ back-to-school envelopes. Emergency contact forms. Internet usage agreements. Anti-hazing statements. School lunch policies. On and on it went until my hand cramped, my eyes crossed and my handwriting became as indecipherable as the lyrics in Aretha Franklin’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at Obama’s inauguration.

It was no fun writing out my cell phone, home phone, and office phone numbers for the tenth time (mostly because they’re all the same). But the paper that really had me was the PTA volunteer form.

Do I want to head the winter Bingo Night, straighten collars for Picture Day, or update the school’s website? How about “None of the above?”

The problem with volunteering is that if you don’t step up to the plate, you’re branded as a freeloader, or worse, an uninvolved parent. But if you do volunteer, you could find yourself spending every discretionary minute reshelving library books, ferrying aluminum cans to the recycling center, and/or dodging cow patties as you chaperone your forty-third class trip to the petting zoo.

Actually, I realized as I leafed through the sheaf of papers from the elementary school, the real problem is there aren’t any FUN volunteer jobs. To really involve parents, the PTA needs to come up with some volunteer positions that are more suitable for today’s mom-on-the-go. I know everyone’s short on time, so I came up with the following list to help them out:

1. Cinematic Consultant

Is “Twilight” appropriate for tweens? Is the latest “Harry Potter” a little too scary? Let the Cinematic Consultant find out! Armed with a year’s pass to the local cineplex, this volunteer will screen all the latest flicks and rate them on a five-point scale according to language, violence, sexual content, and hunkiness (for the moms). Popcorn included.

2. Big Sister

Ever wish you had a pal you could call at a moment’s notice for advice on your eight-year-old’s potty mouth? Need to vent about the unfair grading policy for your middle schooler’s PE class? The Big Sister is your gal! Just a phone call away, she’ll listen to your tales of woe and offer a shoulder to cry on, parenting advice, or a helping of moxie.

3. Political Consultant

Everyone knows it’s not what you know; it’s who you know. And that adage is as true at the local school as it is on Capitol Hill! The Political Consultant will advise newcomers on the proper protocol for submitting teacher requests, the etiquette for escalating complaints to the administration, and which science teacher your kid absolutely MUST avoid.

4. Community Outreach Coordinator

Every good organization has an outreach element, and the PTA is no different. If your school’s parent group wants to reach the moms and dads who just don’t read the weekly flyers or respond to repeat e-mails, maybe you just need to find a new way to reach them – like the local Starbucks. The Community Outreach Coordinator will host drop-in hours at the most popular coffee shop in town and respond to requests for information from her constituents.

5. Parent-Student Liaison

Forget about the parent-teacher connection; I want advice on how to forge a better relationship with my kids! The Parent-Student Liaison will keep up on all the latest pop culture crazes and celebrity gossip and provide regular briefing sessions for moms and dads hoping to update their vocabulary and texting skills.

These positions may sound silly, but there’s a real need here. Not only do these jobs offer valuable services to the larger parenting community, they also provide philanthropic opportunities that won’t jeopardize your mental health. In fact, these jobs are so great that I bet even the dads will want a crack at them. That’s fine, but they’ll each have to take their turn as petting zoo field trip chaperone first.