That old saying has always sat uncomfortably: No good deed goes unpunished. It seems boastful and somewhat sanctimonious. However, when you put your hand up to help out, say, for example, on your child's kinder committee of management, and the commitment of a couple of hours a month turns into the equivalent of a full time job, but obviously as a volunteer without the associated dollar accompaniment, the goodwill and warm and fuzzies begin to drift away. If I were to give my goodwill and warm and fuzzy human form, just picture someone eyes averted with a non-committal smile, backing away slowly, then turning and running down the street screaming. If I were to give it a vegetable form, it would be pretty much this:
I'm feeling particularly narky tonight- the workload has meant I've had to say no to some lovely activities I would have enjoyed this week- such as a school mum morning tea, and the Little Miss and I missing a delightful boy's birthday party- because I knew I'd be tied up in fixing other people's clangers. It's also the Little Miss' birthday party this coming Sunday, so my laundry is overflowing with birthday party paraphernalia, all lovely, but I've got a cloak of obligation draped over my shoulders, and it is dragging me down.
I love being involved in my child's kindergarten on a less superficial level than simply through pick up and drop off, and I think it gives my cherubs an important message- that mum gives a toss enough to roll up her sleeves and help out. Of course, we all know that community organisations need as much hands on volunteer support as they can get. Being on the committee gives access to the educators in a way that just isn't possible otherwise, and it's wonderful to be in a position to support and make a positive impact upon a setting that gives so much to my cherub(s). I've made some lovely friends through this, but on the other side is not only the sheer volume of hard work (and it really is work, no denying it, pages upon pages of reports, policies and blah blah blah) but also that awful feeling of betrayal and perceived complicity when your fellow parents treat the people caring for their children with disrespect, and in some cases outright contempt. It's horrible, and last night at a committee meeting, I publicly disassociated myself from some of the behaviour that's been occurring, and stated I didn't share the views being expressed. The staff responded warmly, as did the majority of my volunteer parent colleagues. This morning, one actually told me the crazy lady in the corner (ie me) rattled the two ringleaders who have been causing the unnecessary kerfuffles, so I didn't blow my stack for nothing.
The problem is I have another year at the kinder, and I'd really like to walk away and just enjoy my/her final year in early childhood education. The two ringleaders will be gone in six months, leaving all their mess behind them, no doubt, but even so, the thought of another year and a half of this isn't attractive. It will also make it really hard to work for something other than goodwill, for something I vaguely remember, called 'money', I believe. But I also know I'm a big sucker, and find it really hard to say no. And the worst part? There's murmurs of me being President. And to that I say:
No pumpkins were harmed in the creation of this little rant. Apologies for any offence that may arise from viewing the word 'fuck'. Rest assured cute photos of cute cherubs will reappear on this blog shortly.