This post isn’t for me.
It might be for you. I don’t know. You’ll have to decide that for yourself.
In the time I’ve been a mother, I’ve also been: a soccer coach, a cub scout den leader, a choir director, a Sunday School teacher, a blogger, a podcaster, and a classroom volunteer. I’ve been on the receiving end of so many emails asking the question “CAN YOU HELP?!” and, over and over, I’ve said yes. I’ve said yes because no one else has said yes. There have been instances where I tried so hard to not say yes, but after the fourth or fifth cry of “PLEASE! WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH VOLUNTEERS,” I have succumbed. Yes. Yes. Sign me up. Yes. I can help. Yes. Yes. Yes.
I’m tired of saying yes.
This post isn’t for me.
I realize that I am privileged to hold a special position in today’s world: I am a stay-at-home-mom. My time and attention may often be demanded by little people, but they can demand and I can comply while I’m at home in pajamas. It is tiring, sure, but all of life is tiring; this is no exception. I have free time to visit classrooms, plan cub scout meetings, make fun after school snacks, and learn music for childrens church. And, if I’m being honest? I’m tired.
It surprises me little to know this was placed on my heart soon after my simplify post. God knows I’m quick to volunteer, especially if no one else is raising their hand. He also knows that for a few moments after saying “yes,” my head is filled with completely unrealistic expectations regarding how my new undertaking will affect the rest of my life.
OK. Before I get too far into how my own commitments overwhelm, hear this. I love helping. I love being able to help. I love knowing that I am the reason kids get to experience some club or sport or activity. I love going to sleep at the end of a busy day, worn out but satisfied.
But I worry about the example I set.
I worry my kids are seeing me step up because I don’t trust that someone else will.
I worry my kids will have a hard time finding a network of trustworthy non-related adults, since the adult leaders they so often encounter are… mom.
I worry they’ll be bad storytellers because I don’t need to ask many details about their extracurricular activities — I’m always there.
But sometimes? I think I worry that if I don’t volunteer now, I will lose the precious time of my children’s youth. That I will send them off to activities and, before I know it, I’ll send them off to college. Without me.
Ah, but it takes a village, God reminds me, and everyone gets a turn to lead it.
I want my children to meet new people. I want them to learn about the different ways people do things. I want their beliefs challenged so they are forced to ask questions which will shape the foundations of who they are. This can only happen if they see other people.
This can only happen if they see you.
And so. As I said at the beginning — you will have to decide for yourself if you can say yes more often. I know you’re busy. I know you have many things in your planner and on your phone. You can’t say yes to everything. Neither can I, though I want to. So say yes. Bring your voice to the conversation that our children are having. Don’t just do it for your kids — do it for mine. I’ll return the favor.