I found myself saying “yes” yet again when asked, “could you…?” Could I what? Spend hours and hours on something that no one else wanted to do because it is an impossibly tedious time-consuming task and I am the only one foolish enough to say yes even though there is clearly no support and I would be doing it all on my own? Well in that case – sure, sign me up!
If there is such a thing as a professional volunteer that would be me. Maybe it is an addiction. Maybe I need some sort of 12 step program to help me say no. As soon as the sign up sheets start going up my palms get sweaty, my heart races and I start pulling out the calendar. Somehow I forget the hours I have already spent volunteering for probably the very organization that is asking for more volunteers. Aren’t there any other parents? It certainly isn’t because I think I can do it better than anyone else, because most of the time my response is simply, “sure – just tell me what you want done and I’ll do it.” I think it stems from a fear of not being liked. I don’t want to be labeled “the mom that never helps” unfortunately by saying yes I have earned the title “the mom that will say yes to anything”. And guilt – inevitably I am wrought with guilt if I don’t help when asked. Then there’s the guilt of being a SAHM and obviously us SAHMs should volunteer more than others. Stupid logic, I know, but it is what it is. This year I have definitely made some changes. It was difficult and took much support from my sponsor (DW) but I’ve started weeding out the volunteer “jobs” that I am just not passionate about or that my kids aren’t able to participate. I’ve made a real effort to focus on the opportunities that allow me more time with my community and promote the lifestyle that I want my children to achieve. It is still a challenge though; I got a little bit of the shakes standing in front of the sign-up sheets at gymnastics tonight. My name was currently on there a couple of times, I had already put in hours behind the scenes and yet my fingers started gripping a pen until my friend said, “Emily – what are you doing? You’ve done enough!” Thank goodness for B! I might have signed another year of my life away without thinking. I’m just not good at being firm in my answers either. Maybe I should come up with a list of memorized valid responses to help me get through those moments of weakness.
Unfortunately I am unable to help you with that because…
5. that’s when I’ll be using a toothbrush to spot dye the grey hair around my temple so that I can make it another 4 weeks before paying real money to get my hair done.
4. we’ll be flipping all the mattresses around so that the yellow stains from everyone’s sleep sweat will be more evenly distributed.
3. I will be re-organizing the spice cabinet in alphabetical order because now that The Tortoise is helping in the kitchen everything has started to become a little wonky.
2. it will cut into my drinking.
1. I am just already over committed, or about to be committed, take your pick.
I need to find a support group soon. If I can’t find one, maybe I can volunteer to organize one.