I Don't Want to Volunteer at School and You Can't Make Me
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My daughter just started First Grade last week and everything is going well except for one thing. The one thing being that most of the other moms at the school are SAHMs (like me) and they volunteer in the classroom all of the time. I'm actually trying to start a small home-based business during the hours she's in school and want to devote my free time to that. But I've already had some of them pressure me or give me guilt trips because I haven't signed up to help out. How can I let them know that I'm not interested? In a nice way?
Volunteer? Not Me
Dear Volunteer? Not Me,
I was really excited to answer your question, but then you had to ruin it for me by ending it with "In a nice way." Dammit, lady. That kills 99% of my suggestions. But maybe I can still help you out if I try really hard.
Now, your school sounds an awful lot like my school. We have more volunteers than we know what to do with and it's actually become a bit of a competition to see who puts in the most hours. (This is a competition that I've never tried to win, btw.) Most of the crazy volunteering seems to be done by mothers with kids in the lower grades and my theory is that that's because they A) want to be around their kids in some way and B) haven't figured out what they should do with the rest of their lives yet. Yep, call me The Blonde Freud with these mad analytical skillz.
Anyway, in my experience, once their kids are older, most SAHMs either go back to work or they've found ways to fill up their time and therefore the volunteering tapers off. But the problem you're having is that you've already figured out what you want to do -- new business -- and the other mothers aren't quite there yet. Neither one of you is in the wrong, necessarily.
Therefore, my advice to you is to volunteer for a couple of things where you'll be very visible -- like the holiday party or the field trip to the zoo. That way everyone will notice that you're volunteering, but you'll also be able to socialize with the other mothers and let them know what you're doing with your new business. That'll help them understand why you're not putting in all the hours that they're putting in. And I wouldn't be surprised if you got a lot of support for your new venture, either.
I really hope that helps you come to an understanding with the other mothers. And if it doesn't, let me know. I'll be happy to tell you how to handle it in the Not Nice way.
Photo Credit: edenpictures.