Fellow blogger Anne Tergesen's recent entry on volunteering and the working mom resonated with me and several readers. Just last week, the subject came up for me in two contexts:
1. While signing up my boys for fall soccer, I was asked twice whether I could help out with the teams as a coach, assistant coach, team manager, or publicity director. I know they have to ask. Both times, I smiled and mumbled "Sorry, no thanks."
2. The incoming PTA president was telling a group of mothers how she was looking for an editor for the school's weekly newsletter. For about 10 seconds, I thought, "This is what I do for a living. I could do that." Then I thought, "This is what I do for a living. I can't possibly do that in my spare time as well."
I do like Martha Feingold's comment, "As a full time working mother of 4- my rule on volunteering is it always has to be something face to face with the kids. " (Martha, by the way, is involved with a site called ClubMom that is officially launching a mom-to-mom social networking area, The MomNetwork, on Mother's Day.)
When it comes to volunteering, I've pretty much done what Martha suggests: read a book to the class, chaperone a trip, help out in the schoolyard during lunchtime on the day I work at home, make arrangements for a Cub Scout outing. It doesn't take much time and you score twice: The school or organization appreciates the help and you and your kids get to see more of each other.