07 January 2012

7 of 31: Reciprocity

Try it...you'll like it, I promise.  At the very least, other people will like it!

There was a time when I hosted a huge number of MOMS Club playdates in our home.  While I don't expect our guests to invite us back to their home, it can progress to the point where I start to notice the imbalance.  Personally, it would feel very awkward to me to continually enter a hostess' home, let my child destroy her home as it he were a rampaging tornado whipping through play with the family toys, eat her food and drink her coffee, and subsequently leave unceremoniously.  I understand that there exists an enormous range of square footage in the homes in this neighborhood and perhaps a mom may feel uncomfortable about sharing her home if she's only visited large, extravagantly decorated homes.  But that's what park playdates are for.

Scouting is not analogous to free, drop-off babysitting.  It takes the leaders a lot of legwork, time, and sometimes a non-negligible amount of money to create a program that fulfills the guidelines of the Boy Scouts of America but is still tailored to the needs and interests of YOUR son.  We don't get paid to spend hours researching and playing phone tag with community gatekeepers so please compensate us with your enthusiasm and volunteer for a Parent Committee job.

Maybe you haven't noticed classroom limits creeping up and district budgets slipping away.  I'm no mathematician, but more students and less money don't seem to add up!  Sometimes, your Room Parent is going to ask you to bring in items or cash to buy particular items.  Sometimes, she may ask that you work in the classroom.  Don't whine, don't complain, and certainly don't assume that it's your child's teacher's job to reconcile the more students/less money discrepancy out of her own pocket.  Reciprocate with your service and reach into your pocket--your Room Mom will jump for joy and your children will notice.  Trust me, your child is learning the importance of her education whether she sees you buying a few extra glue bottles, cutting and collating at home, or manning one of the learning centers in the classroom.

I know it sounds like I am complaining, and maybe I am.  But was so overscheduled in the span leading up to Christmas and I started noticing the resentment well up.  It wasn't the tasks themselves that frustrated me, but that these tasks were being performed by a very small handful of people--the same people who have taken responsibility time and time again.  Since I don't want to be resentful and I don't want to do less, I'd love it if others did more.  And I'm not talking about the divorced mom with a full time job who's also carrying a halftime schedule at the local college.  I'm referring to the slacker parent with ample time and money who thinks it's okay to expect these extra perks for their kid to come solely from others.

Here are a dozen completely random and unrelated Instagram photos from my iPhone:











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