One of the director's of King's soccer team said to us, "if you have a complaint... volunteer." Curtis and I love that. But what do you do if you have a complaint about volunteering? I'm not really complaining... more expressing my stunned dismay at the disappearance of my newfound freedom now that King is in school. I should have known not to get too giddy.
It all started when I went to school registration day. I should have taken Martha's advice and ceremoniously "thrown away all the PTA stuff". Of course, at private school, they call it a "club" (whatever), and it is not a nameless faceless piece of paper beckoning you to "get involved", but a gym-full of smiling women, who in reality said only nice encouraging things to me, but in my head all I could hear them saying was this:
"Surely, you are not going to leave this room without signing up for something? Look at us. We are volunteering. See, we are doing it right now! ...AND we even had time to shower and put makeup on, AND our houses are clean too. What's your excuse?"
I signed up to work in the nurse's office and to help with some festival, which I think is in the spring. I also signed up to be an "on call" volunteer, which I thought would be a relatively safe non-committal decision, however I now get emails asking for my help on every sort of thing; it's been a steady stream of guilt flowing into my inbox. I didn't feel too bad about my choices until I went to King's classroom to meet his new teachers and found that there were even more things to sign up for in there. I couldn't say no to these women. I would not become a footnote on King's file that reads "parents not involved." So I added organizing a class Halloween party to my list of commitments.
Even though I definitely signed up for more than I wanted to, I still felt my responsibilities were manageable and would only slightly cut into my "free time" (hah!). But then came soccer. Upon receiving the third email from King's coach regarding the need for a team parent, I realized that no one else was going to volunteer. The job was billed as simply organizing who would bring snacks to each game and putting together the end-of-the-season party. However, the day after I agreed to take on the role of official "soccer mom", the coach forwarded me several emails from the league's Volunteer Coordinator outlining what my real duties were. I must also find volunteers to line the field with white paint, work the concession stand, and take orders on team photo day. The hounded was now the hounder. I was also given a general directive to "protect my coach" from all organizational and parental concerns. It is the recreational soccer equivalent of the Secret Service.
For the final cherry atop my volunteering sundae, I added some new duties to my regular Sunday School teaching obligations at Church, including helping to organize the production, props, and costumes for our first children's Christmas program (it's really more of an "appearance" than a program, as they are only going to be posing in their crèche positions long enough to snap a few photos and sing one song, but not long enough to cause any major mayhem); designing and assembling a "thank you for visiting" card for new kids who attend our Sunday school; and putting together individual craft supply kits for each regularly attending child. I do not use the "cherry" metaphor lightly here, as this is the one area of my busy schedule that I actually sincerely enjoy. It is the sum total of my volunteering efforts that has gotten me down.
As you can see, my dreams of having time to sit down and write in (dare I say it?) a clean house were spurious, at best. I am more a headless chicken than ever.