Judging by the number of Facebook friends who have already shared it, this recent New York Times article called Frazzled Moms Push Back Against Volunteering struck a major mommy nerve. I can empathize with feelings of volunteer burnout, but continued martyrdom accompanied by you’re-lucky-to-have-me passive aggressive drama isn’t going to solve anyone’s life/work imbalance. And hiding behind a hissy-fit fueled volunteer “strike” is unlikely to cause the world to recognize your irreplaceable and saintly talents, unless of course you get a chance to describe your unappreciated good deeds to, I dunno, maybe The New York Times?
Most schools have a potential volunteer pool numbering in the hundreds, yet familiar faces lead the charge over and over again. I love the business idea mentioned in the article because it solves two problems; 1) it eliminates the hateful scourge of reply-all emails and 2) slightly more important, offers information to all parents not only about volunteer opportunities but also details the need. Sometimes I think we stick within tight circles to recruit help, because it is easier and more comfortable to call people we already know. I wonder how many new parents shy away from volunteer opportunities, PTA positions and committees simply because they feel unwelcome in what they may perceive to be a clique…a well meaning, hard-working, yet nonetheless intimidating, clique?
What if non-volunteering parents really are blissfully unaware of the number of people and volunteer hours required to make the school they appreciate run like a top? I consider myself fairly tuned in, but lately I have had less elementary school involvement and thus far have avoided middle school volunteer activities. I know for sure that I could not begin to list the good deeds performed each day by unpaid hands.
There is little room for nuance and shades of gray in a short news article, so I am going to assume that the “frazzled moms” featured by writer Hilary Stout, either have or will find a way to share their abundant gifts in more balanced, less bitter way in the future. I know they will consider their beneficiaries lucky! :0
What’s your take?