Volunteering at your child’s school is a great way to meet other parents, get to know your child’s friends and stay abreast of the latest educational trends. Not every mom is cut out to be an in-class advocate, though. Learn how real moms use their personal talents and time to stay involved at their children’s schools.
Give what you can.
Modern moms have a lot on their plates. In addition to raising a family and juggling a career, many moms are also tasked with caring for aging parents. All of these competing needs may make you feel like you don’t have anything left to offer. Cut yourself some slack and accept that you can’t be in your child’s classroom every day — and understand that that’s OK. Then, start identifying little ways that you can contribute, even if it’s just 10 minutes here or there.
Erica Zidel, founder of SittingAround, did just that: “As a working mom and entrepreneur, I am very busy. I don’t always have the time to volunteer, but it’s important to me that I am involved. When I drop my son off at school, I try to leave myself 10 extra minutes so that I can read the class a story or play a short game with them. It’s not a huge time commitment, but it’s a way to be involved.”
Give where you love.
If you enjoy the activities in which you’re involved, you’re more likely to feel invested in your child’s school and excited about the support you’re providing. Think about the activities your children love, and figure out ways you can support those activities. For instance, Julie Mayfield began involving herself in her child’s extracurriculars: “I host dance and swim team dinners at my house, and I help organize the dance team banquet.”
Similarly, Christine Thorpe wanted to become an advocate for healthy eating at her children’s school because it’s something she personally cares about: “I serve on the nutrition committee with moms who select and distribute nutritious snacks for the children each day.”
Give to the teachers.
Teachers are often overworked and underpaid, so making an effort to show your appreciation can pay off big time in preventing teacher burnout. Many moms volunteer in ways that support teachers. For instance, Cindy Hallman-Morris says, “The big thing I have done is put myself on our social committee. Among other things, we feed the teachers! I send in food I have made for workdays and Teacher Appreciation days. I work full-time, but being involved in this way helps me feel like I’m supporting a good cause.”