My children have each been in school since they were three. Which means I’ve been volunteering on and off for more than 12 years. I still struggle and feel guilty when I don’t participate in larger volunteer opportunities. I am learning to realize not only do I not like it, I’m no good at it.
I have served on various boards at the schools, and each time, I feel like it’s too much for me and I really don’t enjoy what I’m doing. And then I feel like a loser – I mean, I held a job for years, I had a career – I can do the work. So then I volunteer a year or so later to give it another shot, and the cycle begins again.
Something about holding a board position at the school doesn’t click with me. Perhaps it’s my introverted personality – I get a bit uncomfortable when I meet new people, I prefer to engage in small groups vs. large ones and am most comfortable with people that know me very well. Maybe it’s my lack of time management mastery? I also don’t like a lot of the drama that ensues on these boards. There is always something going on that creates taking sides that makes me uncomfortable.
I absolutely want to give back and help where I can and do succeed when I volunteer for a committee, participate in the coordinating of team dinners and various sporting events, contribute to classroom parties or tag along on field trips. Parent volunteers are critical in our school district. It seems I’m better when the responsibilities are smaller, more specific to the classroom or sport my kiddos are in.
I think the biggest realization I have yet to come to terms with is this: I am more of an Indian than I am a chief when it comes to all things school volunteer related. That’s a bit hard for me to reconcile. I’m a leader by nature – but absolutely not in this arena! I admire the women that work tirelessly on fundraising efforts and attend important meetings to contribute so much to our schools! They all do it so well, many of them perform as thought they were born to do it.
But not me. I’m much happier setting up tables in the cafeteria and setting up Chipotle for the cross country team. It frustrates me when I feel there is something wrong with me for not being able to tackle the big jobs. I logically know we all have certain strengths and we should use them where we can. I also realize that I need to be okay with the fact that even though I feel like I should be doing something ‘bigger’ that I really don’t want to. Suffering or stressing is usually a result of doing the opposite of what you know you really want.
I’m working on accepting my shortcomings and remaining content and guilt free with my smaller contributions to the schools. I really enjoy the small things. And that’s where I leave you today. Realizing what I don’t want and being okay with it.
Do you struggle with volunteering at school? Or is there something else you wish you really wanted to do, but know it’s not right for you?
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