Make it Work Monday: The PTA is a PITA
My husband jokes that I am a professional volunteer. Even as I increased my workload so my oldest could attend preschool, he was not at all surprised to hear I wanted to attend the first PTA meeting as well. I wasn’t able to make it work there because they had childcare for older kids but not my youngest, and helping out at events was nearly impossible with both the kids. Every time they put out a call for help, I had to ignore it or be depressed by my lack of available time to volunteer because of juggling work and parenting. I don’t know why it was so important to me that I help the PTA, but it was. And I couldn’t.
Our schedules as work-at-home-parents are so tight, it can be very hard to find a random hour or two to help at school. I started getting frustrated at our new school too, because I wanted to help and they needed help, but the timing just never aligned. I resigned myself to the idea that I just would not be able to be a parent volunteer unless I made other sacrifices in my work time or hire an Ayi (what they call a Nanny here in China). We’d already tried the Ayi path and it was more work than it was help, so that was that. Every time the new Parent Organization emailed, I spent at least ten minutes seeing if it could happen, only to end up upset that I could not participate. Very frustrating.
Then the school library put out a call for volunteers. You just need to commit to an hour every week. Well, I grew up in a library, and pick up my youngest at noon every day. So when I saw there was an 11 AM -12 PM slot open, I jumped on it. I can make one hour a week work. A consistent time-frame that gets me away from my desk and gives me an excuse to dress nicely is a good change of pace, plus I find re-shelving books quite zen.
It will all change again once my youngest goes full time and takes the bus home, but for this last year of preschool, I found my volunteer groove. It’s a nice way to spend the “hump” day and remind myself what it’s like to have a place I need to be for my own gratification and not my kids’.
Read more about how to make it work as a work-at-home-parent here.