I see this again and again.
Mums and Dads have a lot of expectations on them to say “YES”.
Yes to volunteering with sports. Yes to manning a BBQ. Yes to carpooling. Yes to providing costumes, and props. Yes to coaching. Yes to everything that is going on at school, oh and by the way, can you bake a cake as well…..?
Okay, so I’ve broken this down to a pretty simple couple of sentences, and it is absolutely true that volunteers, and parent involvement helps a community succeed, but sometimes it feels like every other day, there is something that you have to be ‘stepping’ up to. I see parents do this week after week, say “Yes” time and time again, and for some parents they really enjoy this, they love to contribute and they are good at balancing out the expectations so that they don’t burn out.
But other parents I see saying “Yes” again and again, at the detriment of their own family time, and down time. I see guilt when they finally say “No” to something, and I see so many parents just going along saying “Yes” to everything, and not having enough ‘energy’ to give their own families.
I’m NOT saying that you should swing the pendulum and start saying “No” to everything, but I am asking you to think about what you are actually capable of contributing to, and the best way that you can contribute that suits you and your family. And I fully believe that you should NOT compromise your core family values just because there is pressure to say “Yes”.
I am in a difficult situation this weekend – it’s like the biggest most massively crazy busy weekend that we’ve had in a while. Kids at Kapa Haka, kids at Hockey, kids at karate, kids at soccer. All at different times, all weekend, and turning me into a verified taxi-driver.
However it is also the weekend that we are expected to ‘volunteer’ to help run the canteen for soccer. It’s a big fundraiser for the local soccer club, and parents do a great job. Last time, I was unable to help due to hubby being away and me juggling all 4 kids soccer games, while watching my two youngest kids when I had some time off. That was fine and the other members of the team stepped up and filled the gap.
The timing of the ‘volunteering’ this time round also doesn’t work, as I’ll be collecting my kids from kapa haka and being taxi driver, and hubby will be coaching and reffing his own team during this time. So once again, I’ll be unable to help, and this is just the way it is, but I do feel the pressure to say ‘Yes’ even though, there is no physical way that I can be in two places at once.
And this is a dilemma – for me I am not prepared to compromise on my family, and on my responsibilities as a mum, to step into a pre-arranged ‘volunteering’ slot in a time that I can’t happily manage.
And this is a reality for me with 4 children that these kinds of “Yes” situations I actually have to say “No” to.
But there are other things that I can do to help with volunteering, and in areas that are my strengths, and that I can support the club with. These are just as important and not always noticed, but are still a part of helping keep the community running on it’s track. Things like turning up early to support another team last week that was short by two players and getting my two boys to play a third game so that the team could still play. It is stepping onto the field and reffing, and coaching, during a game, when the coach is unable to be there. It is running a practice if needed when there isn’t another option. It is collecting gear, or food for the weekend. It is providing baking for the canteen even if you can’t physically be there in the canteen on the day.
So, if there are situations in your upcoming weekend, and week, where you really should say “Yes” but you have to say “No”, take a deep breathe, and let it go. Keep your eye out for other ways to support your kids in that sport or activity, or offer different skills to your community that work more effectively with your family.