This year I had the esteemed pleasure of being part of the PTO at my child’s school. To be more specific my job was to make sure all the people that signed up for things like Homeroom Parent and party helper had the guidance and multiple reminders needed. For the most part, I’ve had fun chatting with the other moms. Joking about the glory days of classroom parties when cupcakes, a craft and spoon races were the bomb! #BringBackThe80s What a low bar of expectations we all had before Pinterest!
No joke, I’ve had to ice parts of my body from so many emails being sent! Microsoft actually thought I was a spamming Nigeraian Princess searching for my lotto sucker and shut down my email account for a bit from the volume of group emails. As wonderful as my non-paid volunteer position has been, there are a few interactions that have left me…weeeellllll, feeling there needs to be a code of conduct for the non-volunteers.
So I’d like to pass along a few things that would make volunteers not want to dump a bottle of wine into the keyboard of their laptop while doing our unpaid jobs. Because really, it’s the kids that lose out.
1) RESPOND!!!! I know! I usally check emails while sitting on the floor next to a small child potty training…or sitting in a pick up line…OR in the check out line at Target. It’s easy to reply in our heads as life hits us. But please let me know if you’re seeing my emails! They just get more annoying and whiny the more I send.
2) Sandwich your complaints. The art of sandwiching goes well beyond your local Subway shop. It’s this glorious thing where you put a negative in between two compliments. (And my parents said art school wouldn’t pay off! Ha! I learned to sandwich my constructive criticism!!) It’s just a form of kindness. If you want to tell me you’re upset about the new policy, say it nicely. You are sending me an email because I didn’t get back to your first (I admit I’m not perfect), please don’t send one sentence… “I’m still waiting….”. May I suggest, “I’m sure you’re getting a ton of emails, but I just wanted to follow up!”.
3) Offer to help. If you are unhappy about the way people handle jobs they are bestowed, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE offer to help! One round of volunteering and your perspective will be changed for the rest of your life, cause I know mine did this weekend. You want to scream at the volunteer soccer coach, offer to help instead. You want to tell the PTO president she royally messed up, ask how can you help to make it easier…or ask to understand better.
4) Dump the mommy wars. Try not to make assumptions or turn an email response into a mommy war. Stay at home moms, work from home moms and work out of the home moms ALL have different stressors.
So there you have it! We as humans are all in various forms of life distress. We all are busy… very very busy. BUT we all have the ability to be kind, take a deep breath and do our part. Be glad you didn’t get the lead chair/coach position and support them by lending a hand or ear.