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Are moms really fed up with volunteering at school?

This New York Times article talks about frazzled moms fighting back against schools’ increasing demands for parent hours devoted to fundraising activities and school events. With ever-shrinking resources, there is no doubt parents are tasked with more duties at school – not to mention longer lists of things parents must buy to supplement meager classroom budgets. But are parents – OK, usually moms – really cutting back their volunteer hours at school? Of that, I’m not so sure.

At my daughter’s school, there is a group of committed, core volunteers. I see their names on every list. Some people have a penchant for volunteerism and one assumes these are things the volunteers enjoy doing – or want to do. Personally, I choose to limit my volunteer hours to the things that I find personally enriching and that I believe have an impact on the kids. I want to be in the classroom, getting to know the students and helping them with literacy. I want my daughter to see me in her room (even though she often does her best to hide her pleasure at seeing me). If I am in the mood, I might volunteer to work in the art room during the annual Sock Hop fundraiser, or help decorate. But if I’m not in the mood, I don’t. And I don’t have guilt. I am a working mom, and I am also very aware of what happens to me when I take on too much – and it isn’t pretty. But my “too much” might be dramatically different from another person’s breaking point.

I feel good about my own personal level of involvement. It’s neither too much nor too little – for me. And I work to keep it that way – by ignoring many e-mails that come my way asking for help with school functions.

I have no idea if the moms, whose names surface in every school e-mail, are as frazzled as those interviewed in this New York Times article. If they are, then I suggest they take a pass on the next event and let someone else step up to the plate. They could try to ask me. Depending on the day or my mood, I might just say, “yes.”

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