My first thought? With three kids (one being an infant) and a busy freelance career, I wondered, "How does Jen do it?!" My second thought? Could I do it?
As I've mentioned in the past, it's not like I've leaped into traditional motherhood roles with open arms. Was I the kind of person who could make time for school council or volunteer for anything more than the occasional field trip?
But then I found myself at a parent council meeting, with my best friend (buddy systems always help). We agreed beforehand that we were just going to check it out, no signing up for anything. But as soon as we began to understand some of the struggles the average public school faces, we were raising our hands to join sub-committees. We had something to contribute. Our day job skills could certainly come in handy for helping the school. And the time? Well, a couple evenings a month is no big deal when you no longer have a hopping social life.
Two nights later, our school had its curriculum night. And the second we arrived at the BBQ, with teachers, students and their parents huddled together over hot dogs and roasted corn, I realized that being involved in the school wasn't just about the school; it was about community. People who were complete strangers only days before were now acquaintances. Suddenly I knew other parents by name. We smiled and made small talk. And poof! Just like that, my world got smaller.
While chatting with my son's teacher that night, I mentioned that I'm usually home on Fridays. If she needed some help, I'd be happy to stick around after dropping Nate off. Come Friday, there was no turning back. Nate was out of his skin with excitement that I was coming to school with him. And before I knew it, I was listening to story time, helping with cut and paste activities, and taking some notes on how to organize and motivate kindergarten-aged kids.
It took two hours out of my day (that could have been spent answering emails), but I went home feeling like a good mom, a good person and dreaming of all the ways I could make our school the best it can be.