To Volunteer or Not to Volunteer

I have a school age kid now and with that apparently comes great responsibility to volunteer!  (Did you hear that in the same Spiderman voice over that I did?)  When my son switched schools in October with the school year already underway I knew it was going to take me reaching out to get plugged in and involved at his new school. I happened to run into several moms on our first day and walked up to ask what they thought of the school, any advice and it they knew how I could get plugged in. Little did I know I had run into the very group that was at the core of anything and everything that happened at our new school. This group of woman are amazing and I quickly knew that friendships were coming fast and furious! I told them laughingly that I loved to help out and they hadn’t seen the last of me.

A few weeks later I attended my first PTO meeting where I heard some complaints voiced about the lack of communication from the school and PTO that was leaving parents with questions but no recourse for answers. I offered to jump in where another parent had left off and create the PTO website. A few meetings and weekends later and it was off and running. Fast forward a few weeks and I had gone from flying under the radar offering advice to front and center jack of all trades volunteer with an honorary position on the board.

Then came my personal Waterloo! International Fest…an amazing event intended to open the eyes and minds of children and teachers at our school and allow them to embrace the diversity and culture that our charter school represents. My planning expertise landed me at logistics coordinator and we were off. Over the last several months we have had conference calls, meetings, craft sessions, shopping trips, commercial production, promotions creation and production, you name it!  It’s going to be great…I know it is, but it has brought up a big question for me.

To Volunteer or Not to Volunteer…it’s an eternal question.  When you volunteer your efforts benefit your child and a slew of others, the school, the teachers and other parents. Your time is given over benefit the collective, but what does that do on a small-scale to your family.  While I know that volunteering does benefit my kid, does he? For my five-year old the activities I do for him, for his school, his class, his soccer team, I do them all for him, but in his eyes it’s all just one more thing (more realistically a dozen more things) Mom has to do before she can play.

I’m adding Volunteering to my list of jobs. First and foremost I’m a Mom, it takes priority over everything else. Second I’m an employee of a great company and work set hours to get that work done. That leaves a little time for job numero tres, Volunteering where I need to split time between soccer team mom, home room mom and school volunteer.  Moving forward I realize that I need to be a bit more structured, allocate some hours and plan my volunteer time instead of agreeing to tasks without taking into account the hours I’m giving over and where they’re being taken from.

On that note I bring you this week’s


Check out if you are trying to juggle the hours you spend on any activity. Whether you freelance, are a telecommuter or just need a handle on those volunteer hours allows you to create tasks that fit your life. When you click on a task it starts a stopwatch. Click again to stop it. Then on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis you can run reports on how many hours you spend on each task. It’s a great way to track time and stay on top of whatever schedule you set for yourself.  I’ve been using it for years and recommend it far and wide when I encounter a situation where someone is trying to get a handle on where their time is spent!


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