Mommy: Another Word For Crazy Volunteer
22nd March 2014

You know what I love? I love getting comments from bloggers who have been where I am now and have a little perspective. I look at moms who are empty nesters and can’t imagine I’ll ever make it there. And there are some moms, that you just hope you can grow up to be. My guest blogger today is an empty nester who seems like she is the kind of mom I want to be one day. She frequently pops over to my blog to comment and give me some much needed encouragement. I love her for that. She also shares hilarious stories about her own experiences that I love reading. You should totally be following her blog at Kelly McKenzie.com. I’m thrilled to have her perspective today on how motherhood has changed her. Want to take part in my guest post series? Go here

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If the past 20 years of being a mom have taught me anything it’s this apt definition: “Mommy – another word for Crazy Volunteer.” So when Meredith, the wonderful voice of reason, humor and honesty over at Perfection Pending put out the call for guest bloggers I just had to opt in. Thanks Meredith for taking me on. Here is my answer to your wonderful question How Has Motherhood Changed You?

Before I had children, I rarely volunteered; there was “no time.” Being married, looking after our “first-born” (Fergus the Black Lab) and working full time with my mom in her asian antiques store meant there was little time for anything else. Yes, there was that one stint of beseeching petitioning neighbours for donations for the The March of Dimes but that was a one-off. The apathetical response did little for my sense of volunteerism.

Before my son and daughter hit preschool I never volunteered; there was “no time.” Born 20 months apart, they kept me busier than busy. Life was diaper changing, feeding, cleaning, napping … well you know the drill. Then my husband passed away. Just after our eldest turned three. I had to raise two kids on my own. The concept of volunteering was obliterated from my radar.

Until she hit preschool.

Two men reacting to surprise. http:kellylmckenzie.com/naked-as-a-jaybird

Wait. What? Preschool?

Mommy – Another Word for Crazy Volunteer.

Our local preschool just happened to be a parent participation one. Every parent volunteered. There was no option. You were assigned a duty day at least twice a month where you and two others assisted in the classroom. Every second Tuesday of the month was “Education Meeting Night” and no one could escape a stint of “Cleaning Day.” That was an experience I’ll never forget. Six of us locked in the preschool on a Sunday, wearing rubber gloves, and bleaching every toy within sight … The chlorinated air was the perfect breeding ground for gossip and bonding. Somehow I now had time to volunteer for all of these duties. My late husband would expect nothing less. An added bonus? I met and made friends with some lovely like-minded folk.

However it wasn’t until my son entered grade one and the game changer decade began that I truly understood the full impact of mommy – another word for crazy volunteer. Along with my new pals from preschool, I foolishly happily joined the school PAC. Within minutes little Ms “I’m too busy to volunteer any longer” was signed up for both the jobs of Co-PAC Chair and Co-Sparks Leader.  Just typikel. PAC meetings were just once a month and the Sparks ones only four. Of course I could do that.

Three years later I found myself coordinating a much-needed school-wide fundraiser. A former alum and amazing local children’s entertainer had offered to perform two complimentary shows for the students. All I had to do was advertise and sell the tickets. Easy peasy. Except the tickets for both shows sold out within days and I had buckets of cash money that needed to be counted and banked immediately. I broke the rules and took the money home to count.

man carrying bag of loot on his back. htp://kellylmckenzie.com/mommy-another-word-for-crazy-volunteer/

Ssshhhh … I’m escaping with the ticket money.

The night was a great success. And yes, I banked every dime. In the school fundraising account.

This venture led to joining the committee for the school carnival. It was here that I really hit gold. There is nothing like companionship during chaos. I’ll never forget the night we rustled up thirty willing volunteers, all new friends, to help wrap the silent auction numbers. It was only after two hours of careful wrapping that we realized we had nowhere to safely store the completed gems. Mercifully, Marilyn kindly offered her empty basement and my friend Carrie – the Silent Auction Queen – and I spent the wee morning hours shuttling back and forth between the school and the house. At times we couldn’t breathe – we were laughing so hard. It was a magical time.

Then my two discovered the world of sports. Could I volunteer at soccer, lacrosse, cross-country skiing, water polo and swimming? Of course! I had plenty of time. My friendship circles expanded even wider. Especially at swim club. With only the coaches being paid, the copious swim meets ran solely on the efforts of volunteers. I found myself on the pool deck clutching a cup of coffee and commiserating with multiple parents over the 6:00 AM warmup times. Minutes later we were on the bulkhead blearily timing the swimmers. This was followed up by handing out deck food, working in the office or stirring up Chinese food in the popular concession. Once our volunteer shifts were done for that day we’d gather by the tents and canopies for endless chitchat and socializing. Many of these folk became family and I continue to see them today.

Yes, I was lucky to be able to work from home and pick my own hours. However even if I could only volunteer on weekends I hope I would have. Not only did the crazy volunteering lead to some wonderful friendships it taught me invaluable lessons of patience, tolerance and above all the perspective of available time. Mine. Had I not become a mom, my life, my friends and my memories would be so very different today. I am blessed. I don’t regret one second of being mommy – another word for crazy volunteer.

It was a wonderful run. Now that my two are almost grown and flown the volunteering days aren’t over.  I’ve been asked to be the volunteer announcer at the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games, July 8 -12, 2014. Naturally I said yes.

Enough about me and my definition of mommy – another word for crazy volunteer. I’m curious about you. Do you volunteer? If so, how has it changed you? More importantly how has motherhood changed you? If you’d care to share, I’d love to hear.

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722b339474d282ca3cac1b321d58ca55Kelly delights in writing about the quirky, often hilarious, inevitably entertaining “just typikel” events of her everyday life. With 20 years of motherhood under her belt she’s got a wealth of material. To her two children’s utter dismay she writes regularly at http://kellylmckenzie.com/ Follow her on Facebook too!

Meredith

Meredith

Hi! I'm Meredith- Mom to three, wannabe writer, recovering perfectionist, and an avid blogger writing about the perfect and not-so-perfect moments in motherhood. Glad you're here. :)
Meredith
Meredith
Meredith
http://www.pinterest.com/PerfectPending/

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