Now that I have a daughter in Kindergarten and a son in preschool and we’re becoming active members of a small town community, there are a lot of opportunities to volunteer. A LOT. The question is, what do you volunteer for? Can you volunteer too little? Too much? Between end of the year picnics, classroom breakfasts, and T-Ball barbecues the last weeks of the school year are a flurry of cooking and helping. As a part-time working mom I feel guilty sometimes about the amount of time I devote to pitching in–I can’t do as much as moms who are stay-at-home and manage the brunt of what it takes to make these events happen, but when the guilt takes over I end up impulsively signing up for things and getting in way over my head. Case in point: this week’s post-end of the year play luncheon at Conor’s pre-school.
The play was an ambitious production of Medusa (performed by 4 year-olds in togas) to be followed by a reception lunch for all of the families and teachers. When the email went out looking for volunteers to fill a variety of jobs from sound to scenery I thought: I can oversee the luncheon! That’s totally in my wheelhouse! And instead of doing the same old spread of cold finger sandwiches and cheese cubes I thought: why not do a Greek-themed sit-down meal in honor of our Gorgon theatrical. Why not?
Well this was all fine and good until I had to put my grand plan in motion. Between sending out requests for spanakopita, figuring out if I had one too many orzo salads, policing escalating email exchanges about who was going to bring the plates and napkins, and trying to figure out how I was going to make enough chicken souvlaki for 80 people, I was wondering if this this Greek luncheon was going to turn into a Greek tragedy. A feast for 80, in a church parish hall, on a 90 degree day? While commuting to work, blogging, racing to Belle’s Field Day and also planning a Memorial Day BBQ? What was I thinking?
But luckily everyone pitched in–more experienced moms talked me off the ledge when I thought there might end up being 10 pounds of orzo salad arriving and no plates. Lovely centerpieces were made, Greek salads were assembled, pita was plattered. All in all it wasn’t a complete disaster. It was actually kind of fun, and chaotic, and everyone sat and ate lots of feta while the kids ran around. Almost like a Montessori version of a toga party.
So how much do you volunteer for school and town events? Do you sometimes feel like you do too much or too little?
Is it mostly moms who step to the plate where you’re from?
Or do dads pitch in too when it comes time for baking 100 brownies for the teacher’s appreciation lunch?
Let me know–and in the meantime, I can’t wait for summer!