Parents Hacks: How not to volunteer

Uninterested in helping out at your child’s school? Voila!


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Buckworth sure knows how to skip out on volunteering

Need some comic relief? Whether you’re a Veteran Volunteer or a Nancy Newbie, when it comes to helping out at your child’s school, here are some basic rules to follow if you’ve decided volunteering is not really your thing. Just follow the rules below if you do not want to be asked back.

1. Treat the volunteering as a way to spend one-on-one time with your child and get an extended interview with the teacher while you’re at it. Who cares about those kids wandering down by the creek? You need to know if your little Kale really is the best at gluing.

2. Teachers clearly invite you to volunteer so that you can correct them when they address the children and give them instructions. They need to “keep it real” with the parents, so tell them to throw that teaching degree out the window and have a new mom of a four-year-old give tips on what it’s like to be a real parent. 

3. What’s that you hear? Juniper’s mom and dad are getting divorced? Jasper has been late 14 times this month? Is it really true that the art teacher and the French teacher are involved in a pas de deux? Make sure you spread this info far and wide.  

4. Yawn. What’s the time? Did you say you’d stop by the school at 9 a.m. to help out with the farm field trip? But there’s a new Pilates class starting up at the gym.… Surely by now the kids know that a farm combine isn’t safe to climb on. 

5. Did you hear that Destiny’s dad brought organic quinoa balls for the class the last time he volunteered? You can top that. Bring in snacks, but don’t ask the teacher first. 

6. Of course, your children are too precious to take a gross school bus to the art gallery. You’d never subject them to such savagery just to get to school, so why shouldn’t they ride in your Lexus SUV? You can bring a special friend of theirs too. Don’t worry about telling the teacher that you have them;  surely, they know who the good mothers are by now!

7. It’s Sports Day! Don’t listen when the teacher says the kids aren’t supposed to consider themselves winners or losers. Tell the kids on the winning team that they’re killing it. Let the less athletically inclined ones know that they might want to play fewer video games and do more CrossFit. 

8. Oh, so that’s how the teacher likes to run quiet time? Really. Instead of talking to the teach, go straight to the principal. Teachers love that ongoing constructive criticism.

9. Go through the teachers’ desks when you get the chance. For safety purposes. You just never know.

10. Finally, just in case they’ve forgotten, remind teachers they had the whole summer off and now you’re doing part of their job, so they should consider themselves lucky to have such a cushy gig compared to when you worked corporate before you decided staying at home to personally raise your children into fine human beings was more important. 

Oh, and then ask how her kids are doing with the new babysitter. 

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Kathy Buckworth is the author of I Am So the Boss of You: An 8-Step Guide to Giving Your Family the ‘Business.’

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