It’s Monday Morning. The first thing I see in my inbox is an email from the Volunteer Committee at my daughter’s school. They need 5 more volunteers this week. (I think I mentioned in a previous email how heavily dependent her school is on parent volunteers.)
My first instinct: “The school needs somebody. What can I do?” I immediately check my calendar to see that it’s not going to happen this week.
I’m out of the office all day on Wednesday and Friday. Do I really have time to take a half day on Tuesday or Thursday? Nope. So with a little guilt, I delete the email.
The same thing happens when the school announces that there is an opening on the Executive Committee. I feel an urge to put my hat in the ring. Surely, I can find a few hours a week to help run the school, right? Nope.
I’m trying to launch a new business venture. What extra time to do I have???
Why do I feel this need to help out? It’s not like I won’t be on lunch monitor duty once a month.
And then I wondered…Do other women feel this way? Do they feel the need to volunteer even though their schedules are busting at the seams? Of course they do.
It started at the “New Family Social” that we attended in early August. The table next to the sign-in table was the volunteer table. Not one father stopped at that table.
While the Dads made their way to the playground to watch the kids, the Moms looked over their calendars trying to find time in their busy schedules to stand in the cafeteria and open juice boxes.
No men attended the standing-room only volunteer training workshop, I attended. Although I heard that a few attended the second one which they labeled “coaches” training.
This I guess is why there are 141 people on the lunch volunteer list and 139 are women, as opposed to soccer practice on Saturday morning where all 6 coaches are men.
So where are the Dads in the middle of the week? Are their schedules so much busier than ours that they can’t stand out on the playground for 2 hours a month?
I know that my husband doesn’t feel any obligation or need to volunteer, nor does the father of my daughter’s best friend. When asked, they simply say, with a little chuckle, “We’ll see how this year goes.” (Seriously, what does that mean?)
Before you start thinking, “Well, most of those volunteers must be stay-at-home Moms,” think again.
Most of the Moms that I have met work full time outside the home. One of the volunteer committee co-chairs is the VP of Finance at a large bank where her job requires frequent international travel. (And for the record, her husband doesn’t volunteer either.)
These are serious, career-oriented women. It’s not like it’s easier for them to get out of work than it is for Dads. In fact, it’s probably more detrimental to their careers as so many studies have shown.
Volunteering isn’t much of an option at my daughter’s school. All of the parents are well-aware that if a parent doesn’t show up, the kids won’t be served lunch!
However, when it comes down to who volunteers, it seems that the Dads simply say “Not it.” They’re not getting stuck with the hot potato.
Despite the crazy work schedule, the family commitments, the housework and the like, many women still feel the need to squeeze in volunteer time at our children’s schools during the work week, while the men in their lives simply don’t.
What do you see at your child’s school? Are the Dads pitching in alongside the Moms or is it just as lop-sided? Let me know in the comments below.