I enjoy volunteering at my daughter's school. Third graders are cute, and I like spending time with them. My daughter also likes it. I'm lucky that my job is flexible enough that I can make time now and again. Most days I'm in the office and/or teaching from 7 am to 2:30 pm. And I always have Fridays off because my university strongly believes in the 4-day teaching schedule.
What I don't like is volunteering for Sports Day. When I was a kid, we had something similar, Field Day. I loved Field Day. We had awards and stuff. Tony D always won the running awards. I was the team pitcher in the kickball finals in 5th grade. We had sack races and egg races and long jumps.
But Sports Day makes me feel so inadequate. First of all, it always seems as though the other parents all know each other. I keenly feel my lack of history in CorruptSmallTown at these times. Second, I don't know half the rules of the games they play. Last time I volunteered, the kids were assigned to play soccer. Ack! I know nothing about soccer. And M, a student in my daughter's class, seems to be a pretty good soccer player and basically just commandeered the ball every time we tried to play. How do you to tell a second grader to stop showing off his skills?
And then, it's all outdoors, and after an hour or so, the sunscreen wears off and I start to worry about getting sunburned and dehydration. I can't even focus on enjoying the kids.
I have to stop reflexively volunteering for things just because I'm free. It's that guilt, though. I see all these other parents, mainly but not always moms, volunteering so much of their time, and I feel competitive.
Oh, and in case you couldn't tell, Sports Day is tomorrow. And I signed up to help out. Volunteer's remorse!