Parent Volunteering … but Where’s My Mom?

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I remember the days when a student’s mom came to volunteer in our class. It was always the one mom and no one else — not even my mother. I knew my mom had to work as much as she could being that there were five children in our family. So, I never really looked at it from any other perspective. There are those that could say that the parents that don’t volunteer simply don’t like to, just aren’t that involved with their children or whatever they could conjure up. I don’t believe that. Nope, not one bit.

Well, I want to help out, too. Not just because I can find the time, but because it’s in my nature to be helpful. However, I am always afraid that I will be overly helpful. Is there such a thing?

I love to help and volunteer, but I don’t want you to think that I am being a pushover. I do it for fun and I don’t want to be in the way. I remember a time when I was helping out at my father’s company picnic, and, being only a pre-teen then, didn’t know that I was not wanted to help. My dad encouraged me to help since that was what I really wanted to do. So, I walked up to one of the booths and asked if she needed help. She said yes and set me to work. I was excited. Not so much when later on I learned that the woman was telling everyone that I was in the way, didn’t need to be sticking my nose somewhere it didn’t need to be and what-not. Now, that was just something you don’t go around telling people, because it will always find its way around. It was from then on that I always offered my help, but waited until I was asked to volunteer.

So, when my daughter’s teacher said that volunteers were needed at the Fall Festival today, I was thrilled to know that I was welcome to help. I had already done some volunteering at her school already — just copying papers for that grade — but this is going to be so much more fun!

I had also went on a school field-trip with my daughter and chaperoned another student. One of the other mom’s that was there with her son was also chaperoning another student. It was his reaction that saddened me. He was upset that other students in his class had a parent with them and he didn’t have his. We learned where his mom worked from him and told him that he knows she would do everything she could to be here, but there are times when parents can’t get away from their job and that it wasn’t because she didn’t want to be here with him.

So, I tell you this. Go on and volunteer — or don’t. Just make sure your child always knows that you are there for them, even if they can’t see you.

Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of two rambunctious kids and a new baby!

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