I always teased her, “What are you doing now?” SHE’S involved in practically everything! Her husband and I have an ongoing joke, “all that’s left is the janitorial position!” Then one day SHE asked me to volunteer at the book fair at the same time SHE was so we could be together and maybe grab some lunch before the kids got out of school. I knew it was time for me to do a little something at my child’s school, so I signed up to volunteer. I never thought that this was going to be a life changer for me. Read on...I’ll tell you why!
She looked at me and said “mommy
you’re here!”She was so excited!
We picked the lunch time hour to volunteer. My daughter knew I’d be there. I was excited to see her during school hours but didn’t think too much of it. The bell rang...all the kids flooded into the library. Here came Olivia....running in, arms out and with that sweet beautiful face. She looked at me and said “mommy you’re here!” She was so excited! All her friends ran in after her and gave me hugs too. I just wasn’t expecting all of this. I was the familiar face they needed to see that day. My daughter was on cloud 9...her mommy was there. She went about searching for the best book to buy and kept looking back, probably to make sure I was still there. When it was time to go back to class, she gave me the biggest hug and with tears in her eyes she thanked me for being there but also didn’t want to leave me. By the end of that week, I had volunteered a few more times. I formed a relationship with the office staff, the Liberian and other parents and teachers. By the end of that week, SHE took on the role to run our Book Fair moving forward and appointed me as her co-leader. All of a sudden I was getting fingerprinted to be an official volunteer at my child’s school and I was reading books and helping out my daughters class every other Wednesday!
I mean what is happening? I never thought I’d be “that mom”...like what does that even mean anyways? “That mom?” A mom who is involved in her children’s school life? A mom who is now taking pictures for the class and yearbook, hosting and speaking at her first fundraiser. Oh “that mom” huh?
Well, I don’t know what came over me but I know it’s all because SHE knew what was best for me the day she dragged me along.
Who is SHE, you ask? SHE is a mama friend I met when our kids were in kindergarten together. For the last three years, our friendship grew and became stronger. Sometimes I forget it’s only been 3 years! I am most grateful to her for getting me involved even when I fought it. This is probably a good time to ask me why I avoided all of this so much! I mean who really knows why...I just felt like it was just more stuff on my already very full plate. I always just thought those few hours alone without the kids could be some time for myself. Boy was I completely wrong! Oh silly mommy, those days of alone time are far and few these days...
SHE always said “I love volunteering because my kids love seeing me here”. SHE is so right, dang it (Please don’t tell her I said that)! Seeing my child’s face when I walk into her classroom, or surprise her with a big hug on her lunch break. Seeing how her friends react to me being there, the staff and other parents.
If your schedule allows it, I highly recommend volunteering at your child’s school. If even just for field trips (which you can plan ahead). When I worked full-time, field trips were all I had. I’d do my best to be there for those and Olivia loved every second of it. I know it’s not easy...especially if you work full time, Monday-Friday. I consider myself fortunate because when I did work full time, I worked retail...which meant I could have days off during the week and just work weekends. Now, I work part time and I’m so grateful for that because it allows me more time to be active in my child’s school, something I never got to do before. Quite honestly, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be working part-time...so I’m making the most of it!
Aside from the good vibes my volunteering brings to my children, it also allows me to feel safer and more comfortable with my child’s school. Being involved now allows me to be in the loop, it allows me to be familiar with the staff, fellow moms and people walking in and out of our campus. I’m suddenly recognized now by other students, “Hi Olivia’s Mom” and I’m on a first name basis with the school staff. Next year, Aleena will be in on all of this too! That’s when this might get a little out of hand LOL!
Being involved also allows me to understand our school better. Who runs things? Where do we get funds from? Who’s pays for this and that? Why is parent support so critical? It allows me to understand the importance as well as appreciate fundraisers and extracurricular activities to raise more funds for our children and our school. It gives me and my children a sense of pride in our school.
Do what you can. Do what makes sense for you. Whichever way you can be involved is going to be something special for your child. If you can attend Field Trips, great! If you can volunteer in the classroom, awesome! Heck, if you can help the teacher by taking some papers home to sort through and staple...do that! No matter how big or small, volunteers are always needed and appreciated.
And, lets be honest here? Everything we do, we do for our kids. They might not always tell you directly how much they appreciate it but I can hear it in my child’s voice when she is talking to her friends. She has this sense of ownership and pride when she talks about mom being involved in her school activities. I know deep down inside, it truly means the world to her, even something as simple as stapling some papers for her teacher.
I still want to find balance between my #momlife and my personal life. Many times, mom life exceeds personal life and well...it is what it is right? While SHE wants to tap into as many things as possible, I’m there to rein her in a little bit and when I’m tapped out and want to drop everything I’m involved in, she’s there to remind me why it’s so important. I guess that’s what friends are for, especially when their both moms. We balance each other out...