Not every family is created equal. And I’m pissed. Warning: ranting follows.
I received an email today from Ethan’s school. It was a mass email to all the parents about how families aren’t volunteering as they should. The email said that every family needed to commit to a minimum of 30 volunteer hours in a school year.
That’s fine. Doesn’t seem outrageous, given that this time is spread from September through June. I already volunteer in a variety of ways – I copy papers for the teacher twice a month; I’ve made (or purchased) treats for the class for various activities; I participated in making pies for the big fundraiser.
About making those pies…
For that fundraiser, every family was asked to commit to three three-hour shifts from Friday morning through Saturday night. I volunteered for one three-hour shift. As the pie fundraiser was drawing closer, I listened as the moms talked about splitting the volunteer time between themselves and their husbands. I overheard divorced parents talking about dividing their time to meet the obligation.
My thought was, “Fuck it. I don’t have someone to split my time with so one shift is all they get from me.”
And that was fine.
But now, being asked – required? – to commit to 30 volunteer hours in a school year makes me angry. I can’t split that time with anyone. It’s me. All me. Thirty hours from ME. There isn’t a significant other to offset that commitment.
That means 30 hours taken away from my kids, and that seems pretty contrary to how a parochial school should operate.
And if I don’t do my 30 hours of volunteer work – as tracked by some fancy new tracking website? Apparently, there’s a “buy out” option that I can use to PAY my way out of the obligation. (Because paying tuition and buying uniforms every three months because of Ethan’s growth spurts and all the other nickel-and-dime charges through the year isn’t enough…)
I understand volunteering. I get the need for involved parents – hell, I am a pretty involved parent. But to be told how much I have to do – and to have the obligation the same for ALL families, regardless of their structure or resources – is bullshit.
I don’t often play the widow card, but the school might be getting a smack down from me in the next few days as “volunteering details” and tracking software are unveiled.
Because I have time for this…