Know what? I hate volunteering in my kids’ classrooms.
Look, I know that I’m supposed to feel guilty about the fact that my full-time job keeps me super busy during school hours. And that I can never sign up to chaperone the kids at the pumpkin patch, children’s museum, or historical coal mine visit (I swear, this is real). That I never come in and have lunch in the school cafeteria, or volunteer to read in the classroom. And it’s true. My career keeps me pretty busy. But.
The reality is that if I really, truly wanted to, I could find time to do at least some of those things. Maybe not all the chaperone gigs, because client meetings wait for no bus, but I could swing at least one a year. I have enough flexibility that I could swing by for lunch, or come set up for a holiday party. But.
I don’t want to. I’ve done my time in school. Some of it I enjoyed, some I didn’t, but I’m done. It’s my kids’ time for school, now.
Partly, this is because I really dislike large groups of children. I freely admit it — I’m not someone who finds large groups of kids energizing. (I mean, I don’t find large groups of adults energizing, either.) I’m pretty sensitive to noise, and if there’s one thing large groups of kids know how to do well, it’s make noise. I used to have to schedule an hour nap after my kids’ preschool Mommy Day, just from all of the overstimulation that comes with viewing an entire year’s worth of projects and Montessori works.
Even more, though, it’s because school is my kids’ gig. I like meeting their teachers at conferences, and try to work together as a team when required, but I don’t need to be friends with my kids’ teachers.
School is where my kids go to start learning how to navigate the world. So much happens there that is always going to be a mystery to me, and that’s as is should be. Me being there isn’t going to make it any less mysterious. I love learning about my kids’ days through their eyes, hearing about their friends and experiences, talking about what happened, and giving advice and counsel when needed. I’m lucky that my kids (so far) haven’t required any more intervention.
Meanwhile, I’m the mom you can count on to donate whatever supplies you need, or send in whatever (store-bought) treats your little teacher heart desires. Just don’t ask me get on a bus with your class full of little darlings, including my own.