Tuesday, May 20, 2008


This is May. I don't write down the usual stuff like ballet every Thursday, gymnastics, chess club, volleyball, Saturday run. Those things I can usually remember. But when the monthly newsletter comes home that says, "Don't forget frosting for the school party on Wednesday" and "Class t-shirts required for Friday's field trip." I get out the handy calendar and pray that I will remember to check it.
Sometimes I think I'm the only Mom that can't manage to get it all done. Then comes the early morning call to work, "Ryan is the only one not wearing his class t-shirt, and he has to have it for the zoo trip, could you please bring it to him?" Or better yet, "Anna forgot her math homework and is really upset, could you drop everything and bring it to her so she doesn't have to miss recess?"
I know I am not the only working mom at my kids school. I may be a small minority, but I can't be all alone. Are they just assuming that all the moms are sitting at home all day waiting for the phone to ring so they can drop everything and come running? Even if the moms aren't at work, are we really setting up a viable system when we require this level of parental hand holding?
I consider myself a supportive parent. I really do try hard to take care of everything. Healthy food, basic hygiene, quiet time for homework and reading, love and emotional support. I just have trouble juggling the constant requests for everything from white frosting and ice cream toppings to flowers, money and handcrafted scrapbook pages. I really do try, but I'm just not able to make it all happen.
I'm the outcast mom, the one they look at with pity and say, "Oh, that's right, you can't come to the PTA box tops counting workshop, you WORK!" I try to do as much as I can, but I can only take so many sick days, and they are never going to be greater than the number of mother's day teas, music concerts, poetry readings and field trips.
So two years ago, I sat in a room full of stay-at home moms, hoping one of them would volunteer to be a girl scout leader. One mom actually stood up and said she would love to have a troop, but only if it could have just her daughters friends in it, otherwise her daughter would be unhappy and drop out. Imagine, becoming a girl scout, and making new friends, how shocking! We had already waited for two years for someone to find a spot in an existing troop, but they were always full. Somehow at the end of the evening, I was the one that ended up with the job. How did that happen?
It has been a wonderful experience, and I've found time to make it all happen, I'm not sure how. Anna loves being a girl scout and she is so proud that I'm her leader. We have a lovely troop, and we always make space for new girls. We have done some terrific stuff and had lots of fun.
So then the e-mail came out saying that they needed a new school coordinator because the old one had stepped down. It's not a bad job, just slot the girls into open slots, do a little organization and paperwork. How hard could it be? Sit at a little booth at registration, collecting names of girls who want to be girl scouts and then call the leaders to see if they have any open spots. Just a couple of problems. 1. Preplanning is just a little busy for teachers. 2. My school starts two weeks before my kids school, so I'll already be teaching when they have their registration. 3. Nobody ever has open slots, because every bodies troop is already full of her daughters very best friends, and of course 4. Those women don't have a lot of patience or respect for working moms.
So why am I seriously considering the job? Seriously?
We had a little quiet time this afternoon for recreational reading. I got every bodies summer camps booked and coordinated two weeks of teacher training with weeks when everyone was going to be busy. It should be a good summer. Three days and counting


Meisje said...

You have GOT to be kidding. I would offer to shoot you if you take the coordinator position, but I'm betting Kurt will beat me to it. SERIOUSLY, lady, you already do more than any three people I know. LET SOMEONE ELSE DO IT. Besides, how are we ever going to qualify for Boston if you don't have time to run???

Amy said...

Amen to your post!
Amen to Meisje's comment!

Again, you remind me of me! There are two of "us" at my school too who do EVERYTHING because no one else wants to be "bothered" with caring for their school, their students, their part in the community, etc!

Amen to the "golly---is it really that bad to allow students to serve some recess time (or detention time at my level) to teach them responsibility?!?!"

As I tell the other "me" at my school------"repeat after me....No. N--O-- Nnnnnnnooooooooo --- 1-2-3- NO! and again......1-2-3-NO!!!!"

BUT....if you're anything like me.....this little voice on my shoulder starts talking...
....."but...golly...if I don't take it....and no one else steps up.....then what? I just can't let that happen.....how terrible would it be if "fill-in-the-blank-with-job-title" didn't get filled???"


Why do we do this to ourselves?

Because we care
Because we want the job done well
Because our school, our clubs, our sports-teams, our afterschool activities, our kids mean the world to us and we want to do whatever we can to ensure success, to teach positive values (and not "sorry, she's not a friend of my daughter, so don't even think about joining this group" morals).

Whew....you sure touched a "sore" spot for me too with this post.
I can tell your plate is full---Meisje clearly is a friend of yours and knows ALL TO WELL that your plate is near overflowing.

Angela---it IS okay to say NO. Really. If you continue to say yes to everything, you will always be the one that is going to be "hit up" for everything. Step back....and give the "wait-time" that all of us teachers learn about. If enough time goes by, SOMEONE will step forward. Don't let that someone be you UNLESS you have a passion for it AND have the time for it.

Amy said...

rereading my comment to you, shaking my head, and chuckling....

Golly....*I* need to listen to my advice too!!

Yeah for you---three more day!!!

12 more for me!!! *sigh* June 6
I'm happy for you, but don't you DARE rub it in TOO much in your posts that you're on summer vaca ....or at least wait until June 6 :0)

Meisje said...

"Don't let that someone be you UNLESS you have a passion for it AND have the time for it."

I am going to engrave those words on my bathroom mirror with the diamond in my engagement ring. Come to think of it, Angela, I may come over and engrave YOUR mirror, too. (Hey, you're redoing your bathroom anyway.)

Amanda said...

I can't add anything except my agreement with everything everyone has said and my agreement. "The more you do, the more you do" is a phrase that sums it up. I was talking with my husband yesterday, and saying I just can't imagine how I used to do everything that I did. Hang in there.