Deep thoughts, Volunteering

Something I’m Not Missing

I feel a little guilty even writing this post, but it’s something that has been swirling around in my head for a while. One thing, despite the many, many things that I’ve been missing, that I’m just….not.
I don’t miss volunteer work.
There. I said it out loud.
For a little context, it’s not even that I’m Miss Merry Charity lady or something, heading up every volunteer committee this side of the Mississippi. But for the past 5 years or so, I have been involved with several heftier volunteer endeavors related to the boys’ sports.
The two biggest ones have been Team Manager for the boys’ soccer teams (until this year, I managed BOTH of their teams, simultaneously, in the spring and fall, with some work spilling into the “off seasons”). Then, I am also….dun dun dun…the motherload…the Volunteer Coordinator for Asher’s swim team.
The team manager job for soccer really isn’t that bad (on paper). Mostly it has required managing the schedules, interacting with other teams to reschedule rain dates and game times, handling forms, paperwork like rosters and player cards, tournament registration, handling the referee fees and communicating all the details to the families. (Okay, when I wrote that out, it actually does sound like kind of a lot).

The swim job is a massive undertaking, requiring HOURS (and hours…and hours….) of work leading up to the 5-7 home swim meets our team hosts each year, managing hundreds of volunteer positions and families that don’t actually really want to work said positions necessarily.

However, the meets can’t run without the positions filled. It tends to be high stress, high commitment, very time-sensitive (i.e. tasks need to be completed NOW if there is a meet this weekend), ongoing (meets spread all throughout the year) and, oh, did I mention our team hosts a 3 DAY humongous meet the weekend before Christmas every year???
Even before COVID struck, I was feeling pretty burnt out by it all. It just became something that would suck up any “free time” that I had.

For example, these early morning hours I have spent blogging??? Before, I spent many mornings drafting an email with field maps and parking rules for an upcoming soccer tournament. Or, scouring over the swim volunteer sign up, trying to figure out how we can come up with 8 more Timers when we only had 2 people left to assign.
During this time away from it all, I have been mulling over what to do. Honestly, right now, I am feeling that I want to just take an indefinite break from doing volunteer work. ANY leadership type role in volunteering. 

Again, I feel guilty saying that. I know someone needs to do these volunteer jobs…. but I guess for a while, I just want that person to be… not me.
Volunteering is wonderful. I think doing these jobs has helped me grow as a person, give back to organizations that give so much to my kids, understand the “behind the scenes” and what it truly takes to run these types of activities and to increase my empathy for those who run and organize, well, anything! I also like the example it sets for the kids, and they actually really love having me involved with their sports. (Hence part of the guilt I’m feeling). 
But I just need a break. I want to just focus on my ownlife for a while. I want my free time to truly belong to me! I want time to read, write, go for walks, and just spend time with my kids. I want time to develop myself and things that matter to me. As a working mom, time is always a pretty hot commodity as it is.

Maybe in a few years, the tides will turn again and I will feel ready to take back on some bigger volunteer roles again. But if this COVID pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that I need a little time away!
“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven….” 
–(Ecclesiastes 3/ Song by The Byrds 😊 )

P.S. If you are reading this and your initials are T.M., you are amazing. A TRUE Volunteer hero!! 🙂 

In closing, a couple pics of my sometimes more picture shy Ethan: 


A picture perfect day on the courts yesterday! Love these early summer days.


5/26:

Steps: 10323
Meditate: Done
Read: Like 10 minutes…MORE reading to happen today (day off!)

Do you volunteer? What are your thoughts on this? Can anyone relate to my feelings?? 

Daily Gratitude:
I am grateful for people who DO have the time and energy to pour themselves into volunteer work. It is so noble and just wonderful. I’m grateful people are out there that are willing to share their talents and abilities, free of charge, for the world to benefit from! 

2 thoughts on “Something I’m Not Missing

  1. The way COVID has changed our lives can be good in that it forces you to take a step back and look at how our lives were structured and asked ourselves if it's what we really wanted? Do NOT feel bad about feeling like you need a break from volunteering. Those kind of roles should not be done by the same person year after year unless they really want to! I do not envy the work you were doing, nor could I see myself doing something similar between working full time and caring for our son! You are entitled to a break and you can always help the next coordinator by filling roles like the timer, etc.

    I feel like so much volunteering falls on women – along with so much else in life. My company developed a women's networking group 3 years ago and when we were starting up the Minneapolis chapter, we talked about having volunteer events but an older/more senior woman on the committee asked – aren't we already asking enough of working moms? So we were the only city that didn't have volunteer events. But those tend to happen outside of work hours and that is not time that I want to be giving honestly. I imagine I will someday enter a season of life where I will want to volunteer more – but that time is not now and won't be now for a very very long time honestly… I feel guilty/selfish saying that, but we are generous with our money and donate to causes that we are passionate about! So for now, I'm accepting that I'll give my 'treasures' and later, I will give my time.

  2. Yes, it is so hard! I think that is part of it. Maybe if I didn't work I would feel much more able to continue volunteering. But when you factor in all of the hours I am already working in a week, plus regular household chores, activities, meals, etc.. you know…The extra time does get a bit limited. I won't say there "isn't" time for volunteering- there is, but it comes at the expense of then not having time for other things. Perhaps if I enjoyed it so greatly that I felt like I wanted my free time spent doing that instead of other things like exercise, reading, writing, etc. it would be okay. But it currently just has felt more like a burden!

    Interesting about your company and the volunteer events. It's good that you guys recognized you just couldn't and decided not to. Probably better that way than forcing it and all feeling over-stretched!

Leave a Comment! And, what are you grateful for??