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Phenomenal Volunteering ( or is it?)

Posted by Sarah V. Jackson on

Perhaps becoming a mom has made me more efficient with my time. I am more productive with my time (or lack thereof) when it is given to me. However, I feel like a robot when the girls are at school, using the allotted time wisely getting my chores done. I begin to ask myself, “Do I have a life outside the house, which does not include doing errands or buying things for the girls? Oh yes, I write stories…but they are all about the girls.”

My girls are, in essence, my life. I should start out being like all the other moms and, rather than get away from my life as a mom, I should embrace it. I’ll start doing what all (I’m sure most) other moms do and volunteer at the school. In the past, I’ve always declined to engage myself in such activities but now, I’m going to start. I’m going to start being productive with my kids in the school system!

But now, having done so once, never again will I subject myself to such hideous notions.

My younger daughter was having a celebration at her preschool in lieu of the recent holiday, Halloween. The kids were hosting a parade, partaking in special activities; games that included ‘Name the object in the sandbox’, listening to stories and of course, snacking on treats prepared by none other than the volunteers (which is you, moms).

The volunteer sign-up sheet had been posted on the door for nearly one month. As I had purposely ignored it, the sheet had been nearly filled with snacks each mom was preparing for the day. The blank spot next to “Veggies and Dip” had been highlighted for a week, almost blinding me to the point where it hurt to see that no one had volunteered, yet. I tried not to see the yellow hash mark on the paper when I could no longer pretend i was just “Too Busy”. So, I quickly scribbled my name next to the item convincing myself of the great deed I was doing because, at least it was healthy.

“Oh great, thank you so much for offering. By the way, can you stay afterward and help out with the other moms?” the teacher exclaimed. Caught off guard, struck with the realization that I had been suckered into her plan, the words, “You give an inch, they take a mile” are suddenly all too true. As if my legs were stuck in a hole of mud, and the only way out was to shake my head ‘yes’, I agreed, well aware of such clever antics. Though, as I had not volunteered since the start of September, I really was overdue to help out, I told myself. How bad could it be anyway?

I guess one could say I was doing what I signed up for; to have a child is to raise a child. Though, not barely ten minutes into such ‘productive volunteering’, my mind began to wander. Thinking the time could be better spent exercising, writing, and/or cleaning the house, I tried to push such notions aside, to no avail. When the students were given a snack-time, I gave the teacher my notice stating, “I have to go” offering no further explanation. Within minutes, I returned to my home and continued the household duties. What once was so mundane yet tiring was suddenly appealing and exhilarating.

Never before had I been so anxious and thought so highly of my Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM) duties. Perhaps time spent away from the house focusing on other activities, was just what I needed to re-energize and re-focus myself.

While not everyone enjoys volunteering their time those who do so are greatly appreciated and the benefits of volunteering can also be enjoyed by the volunteer, at least for the first time!

Life, after all, is a balancing act and time spent volunteering can only be fully enjoyed when all else at home is under control. But when we volunteer when we really can’t afford the time it requires, we suddenly see our boring home duties in a different, more appreciated, light.


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