A few weeks ago, I had an epiphany. I was sitting on my couch at 11:30 pm snipping the cottony ends off of 1600 Q-tips for a Halloween skeleton craft I was arranging for my daughter’s second grade class party. As my hands throbbed, I wondered to myself- WHY do I always volunteer for the dumbest and most tedious tasks ever? When will I ever learn to just say no and instead, be the mom who buys a jug of apple juice and calls it a day?
I am three years deep with the whole school volunteering thing and I have finally pulled my head out of my ass and realized there are things to never volunteer for at your kid’s school. There are tasks so time-consuming and pointless that your efforts are literally wasted. Some volunteer opportunities are so miserable that only the eager newbie kindergarten moms are dumb enough to agree to them. After many missteps, I have learned the things to avoid to make life easier for myself. See below and benefit from my mistakes and, subsequent wisdom:
1. Bringing The Snack
With the prevalence of food allergies, volunteering to make or buy a snack for the whole class is pretty much the dumbest thing you can do. Not to mention, the picky (and sometimes, mannerless) kids who feel the need to tell you that they DO NOT WANT what you brought.
2. Deciding On The Craft
Our kid’s class parties involve several parent sub-committees for each facet of the event (yes, it is WAY overdone). Being on the craft committee is fine but DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, volunteer to pick out the craft. It will invariably become a never-ending email chain of other parents telling you why your craft sucks and suggesting their own. Volunteer to pick up a pack of construction paper and call it good.
3. Collecting Money For Any Reason At All
I made this mistake in my daughter’s kindergarten year. The teachers said the room parents could ask the other parents for money to defray the costs of the year’s holiday parties but the teachers were not allowed to. I stepped up and said I would collect the funds and holy hell, what a nit-picky pain in the ass. Never again.
4. Unspecified PTA Volunteering
I have written about this before- my illustrious career as the school’s resident pizza slicer. Do not just volunteer willy-nilly for the PTA because if you don’t request something specific and make it loudly known that this is your thing, they WILL stick you with the least desirable task on the list.
5. Chaperoning Class Field Trips
Yes, I know- it can be a lovely experience to volunteer for your child’s school field trip. I just hope you are cool with handling your kid’s incredibly annoying classmates. On the last field trip I went to, the teacher stuck me with a pack of the most difficult children imaginable, along with my daughter. It would have been better to just take her to the zoo on my own someday instead of spending most of the time peeling her dick-wad classmates off the exhibits and stopping them from jumping into the bear pit. No thanks.
6. Overseeing Any Major Event
I was one of the main moms on duty for planning the kindergarten carnival. It went well but if it had not, the blame would have been squarely on my shoulders. TOO MUCH PRESSURE.
7. Being On A Fundraising Committee
If you will remember from last week, I am not a fan of most school fundraisers. I can proudly say that this is one awful thing I have avoided like the plague. Lots of pressure and the other parents want nothing to do with it. Sounds like pulling teeth.
8. To Be The Head Room Parent
Having to organize everything and BEG other parents to help you is basically the worst. So many phone calls and emails. So much follow-up. This is one instance where it’s way easier to just let someone else take the reins.
(Image: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock)
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