Last April, I recorded several videos with Working Mother magazine about “sticky situations” working parents face. I am happy to be able to share them here!
This sticky situation – “I want to volunteer at school with my kids, but I am short on time!”
Here are my tips. I tend to be suspicious of all absolutes, such as “working parents have no time for volunteering.” As I am currently studying the schedules of SAHMs (more on this later) I am seeing that while people may have regular involvement with school, it is never every day. It is often not weekly either! Occasionally is fine. And just about anyone can manage “occasionally.”
9 thoughts on “Can I volunteer at school? – Working Mother Sticky Situations Videos”
I’m currently a SAHM so looking forward to your insight into those schedules. I did the time tracking challenge in January and what I really noticed is how fragmented each day is. I put off starting lots of little tasks as I think I won’t get to finish them in one go, so then things go undone for ages.
Volunteering for school things can be tricky too as I always have my 18 month old in tow. It’s okay for supervising after-school activities but not ideal. I found it easier to take time off work to help out!
@Clare – yep, time does get fragmented. And it is hard to do anything else (including volunteering). We are drawing a distinction between moms of littles and the “PTA mom” sort precisely because of this!
I just posted about volunteering at my son’s school last week. It was one of the best decisions that I had made in a long time. I just made it happen. I can’t commit to doing it every week, but I can’t just keep saying “next month.” It was a surprise, and he was elated! I hope to never forget that huge smile on his face as he jumped up and shouted, “Mommy! The parent is my mommy!”
@Harmony- isn’t that the best? I love seeing them in their environments, and seeing what they do all day.
As head of a small preschool, I understand the challenges of volunteering when you are a working parent. However, if your child’s school is willing to provide opportunities, there are many ways to do this, as Laura points out, even if you are short on time. At our school parents can stop by, even if only for 10 minutes, just to read a story to the class, or spend a half hour baking muffins with the kids. Short and simple ways to feel connected to the child’s class are welcome here.
@Marie – exactly! It doesn’t take much time to read a story, or help with snack, and it really makes the kid’s day.
My kids’ school doesn’t even want in-class volunteers, they find it disruptive. Doesn’t your kid freak when it is time for you to leave, anyway? They DO have parents volunteer in other ways, and I’m so glad I was able to contribute by being a laundry volunteer – I washed rags once a week 🙂 totally doable!
I struggle with this and find that my so far solution to this is probably not great. I bribe the teachers. Since I can’t volunteer (wo)man hours, I buy class needs. My kids elementary school has a fall festival. It is their only fundraiser and is HUGE. Since I can’t volunteer a lot of “putting it together hours” I donate and use my business connections to get things donated. I have heard some grumbling from other parents that I was “just throwing money at it.” But the teachers and school are very appreciative!
@Jennie- I see nothing wrong with donating money and using your connections. It would have taken people many hours to track down the donations you get quickly. So not only are you helping, you’re saving other people time too!