Room Mom. PTA Board. Coach. Neighborhood Committee Member. Church Volunteer.
Do several of these titles have your name next to them? Or, perhaps, do they ALL currently have your name next to them? Then you, my friend, are an Over-Committer.
Moms are the best at making impossible daily to-do lists for ourselves and then feeling like we’ve failed when we don’t cross everything off. How can you possibly create the perfect Pinterest favor for the class party, craft a response to the PTA inquiry, attend the neighborhood planning meeting, sort out tonight’s soccer drills, and do that online training for some volunteer opportunity you signed up for (who even knows which one), all before noon?!? This is all on top of taking care of your children and the curveballs that will undoubtedly come with that!
Now, I’m not going to suggest you quit everything cold turkey – you likely enjoy being involved in your kids schools and in the community. But believe me when I tell you that it is, in fact, possible to give your time without feeling like you’re giving ALL of your time. Before you find yourself over-scheduled, over-worked, overwhelmed, and just plain over it, consider these tips:
5 Tips For Being Involved Without Overcommitting
Keep a Current Calendar
This may seem obvious, but the second a schedule comes out, take the time to put it on your calendar. Even several months out you’ll need to be able to see that you have soccer practice and a well-check after school on Tuesday, and you are not the best candidate to sign up to host the monthly PTA meeting at your home that night. Cozi is a great, free online family organizer you can check out.
Pick What Matters to You
By the time my son had been in kindergarten for six weeks I had received at least a dozen opportunities to volunteer. I felt the need to sign up for them all but that’s just not reasonable. Decide what opportunities matter to you or will actually be really helpful to the teachers or children and pass on the rest.
Pause and Put that Pen Down
Don’t throw your name out there just because there’s a blank spot on the sign-up sheet (guilty!). Take time to think about the opportunity/need before signing your John Hancock, and reference that calendar of yours that you’re keeping current. That way, at the end of an already long day you won’t have a reminder pop up to prepare a casserole for the next morning’s meeting.
Know Your Strengths (and the strengths of others)
If you don’t enjoy cooking, don’t sign up to bring meals. Not crafty? Don’t get involved in decorations for an event. There are plenty of moms with those strengths who will not only do a better job but will have fun doing it and will do it in less time. Know what you’re good at and what comes easy to you and leave the rest for those better fit for it.
Will this Fill You Up or Stress You Out?
Will you feel great at the end of the day after giving your time or will it give you a dozen new gray hairs? Do what makes you happy. You’ll do a better job and will want to do it again.
So the next time that sign-up sheet lands in front of you, really consider if you have the time to do the task and the ability to do it well. If not, then pass it on to the next person and don’t look back! By taking the unnecessary things off your plate you’ll allow more time for the things that really matter to you, like playing with your kids or maybe even having a well-deserved moment to yourself. Don’t feel guilty when you have that sliver of free time, enjoy it! The next volunteer opportunity is already in your inbox anyway!