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September 2012
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The School Barrage

This is the time of year when I have to aggressively defend my schedule and budget from three schools. I know that there are costs associated with educating my children. I pay my taxes and school fees with only muttered grumbles because I understand that the value of what my children are given far outweighs the monetary price I pay. I also understand that my children benefit greatly from many volunteer run programs through their schools. Each year I pick a place to volunteer, some small place where I can give a few hours to give back a little since my kids are getting so much. The problem is that there are so many programs in need of volunteers and donations. Volunteers needed for field trips, choir costumes, to help with fund raisers (so many fundraisers,) and then I’m asked to donate funds for class trips, field trips, boxes of kleenex, tootsie pops to sell for a class fundraiser, otter pops for a different class fundraiser, paper towels, hand sanitizer. I understand how much these donations help. It just starts to feel like a barrage when every single day includes a phone call, email, or note wondering if maybe I could just give this one little thing. None of it is aimed at me personally. I know it will settle down, but I’m starting to picture myself with a shield deflecting each of these requests before they have the chance to land on me.

I feel guilty when I deflect requests, particularly if I’m deflecting them without having some other thing which makes them impossible. It is much easier to say “I can’t go to your meeting because I have this other meeting.” Than it is to say “I’m not going to go to your meeting because I intend to be at home having a quiet evening.” Except unless I say exactly that, all my quiet evenings will be obliterated. Instead of having a stable routine, our family will have chaos and stress. Last night I stayed home from an event without any obvious excuse. In the quiet space, Link was able to talk to me and tell me about a significant problem at school. The quiet space means that today we are on the way to solving the problem instead of continuing to let it fester.

So pardon me while I pick up my shield and deflect school requests. I have important spaces to defend.

6 comments to The School Barrage

  • In such situations, Sandra, I find it easiest to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t make it. I have a prior commitment.” This statement is true. The commitment is to yourself, and to your family, all of whom are priorities. 🙂 If they press, or ask what the commitment is, you can feel free to respond, “I’m sorry, that’s personal. But I’d love to help out on some other occasion in the future!”

  • Kerri Farrer

    This one is such a hard one for me and I have a very hard time navigating the guilt and anxiety these situations produce. I understand how hard it is to run these programs and how desperately they need volunteers/money/time. In some cases the programs wouldn’t run if I didn’t do this. I feel like I am running and can never catch up. My husband says they see me coming.

  • Kerri Farrer

    This one is such a hard one for me and I have a very hard time navigating the guilt and anxiety these situations produce. I understand how hard it is to run these programs and how desperately they need volunteers/money/time. In some cases the programs wouldn’t run if I didn’t do this. I feel like I am running and can never catch up. My husband says they see me coming. I like the thought of a shield that I am defending my family time with. It is a very useful image for me.

  • Kerri Farrer

    Woops sorry, I accidently posted twice