Why I’ll never be a Kinder Mum

Of course, I am by definition a kinder Mum…my son attends kinder.

But from what I’ve seen, there’s kinder mums…and then there’s Kinder Mums.

The Kinder Mum is a type of mum that’s totally dedicated to their child’s kinder (or school).  Yes, I’m labelling, but bear with me.  They are the first to put their hands up for significant volunteer roles at their child’s kinder year in, year out.  Roles that require time and commitment.  

You see them at every kinder fundraising event, with bells on – the first to arrive, last to leave.  If there’s food to be baked for a fete day, they’re up making cupcakes and coconut ice till the wee hours of the morning.  Not only because they feel a sense of duty, but because they truly enjoy it.

If the kinder’s short on fundraising money, they’re the ones enthusiastically rounding up the poor unsuspecting other parents to check we’ve all contributed.  If jobs need doing around the kinder, or things need fixing, they’re onto it – getting quotes from tradespeople…or even fixing it themselves on the weekend.  It’s no biggie! 

These Mums are pumped to do this stuff.  Along with being a Mum, it’s big part of their life.  One could say their niche.

Please don’t get me wrong.  If this sounds like you, but it makes you happy and gives you a genuine sense of satisfaction – then kudos to you.  I know kinders wouldn’t operate as effectively, or even at all, without parents who volunteer their time and effort.  

But anyhoo.  I volunteered to be one of the group Mums at my son’s kinder this year.  I put my hand up for the role as I thought it would be a nice thing to do…be actively involved in the kinder (and community) and basically lend a helping hand.  Also I wasn’t planning to return to work this year.  So I though, why not?

Now I wouldn’t say I’m particularly naive.  I’ve had my fair share of life experiences.  Been round the block a few times, shall we say.  But volunteering at kinder? 

Didn’t know what was coming. 

Hit me for six.

Completely naive.

And it’s taken me a few months in to realise, but I now admit – it’s so not for me.

I’m not new to volunteering:  I’ve done work for several charities on and off over the years.  For some reason, all the other volunteer work – whether it was giving time to the Salvation Army, or working in an Oxfam shop – I found very rewarding.

But rather ironically, I do not find volunteering at kinder rewarding whatsoever.

This has been bugging me for some time now.  Why, if I got satisfaction from other volunteer work in the past, I wouldn’t find volunteering at my own child’s kinder rewarding in any way? 

So I’ve given it some thought, and realise mainly it’s because there is a level of competitiveness present between quite a lot of the Mums on the ”Committee”.  I’ve noticed this at kinder meetings.  Between several, there’s a need to show who can do the most.  Who’s truly dedicated to the cause.  So in a way, their dedication to the kinder is not selfless.  This competitiveness can lead to bitchiness and open judgement of other parents.  A bit of ”high and mighty” going on, if you get my drift. 

Which does not sit well with me at all. 

You volunteer to help, not to get some sort of strange power trip of out it.

Then there’s the fact you feel like a complete nag, reminding parents about fundraising opportunities, begging asking for them to contribute financially.  Above and beyond of course, the fees we all pay.

And the kinder meetings.  Starts off with a meeting agenda…quickly turns into a group of tipsy women trying to all make a point at the same time.  Painful, and I get the distinct impression it’s a social event for some.  Meanwhile I’m left dying to tweet, check email on my iPhone, or fall asleep…

Except I can’t, as we all sit on small school chairs arranged in a neat circle.  I feel like I’m back in high school and really, really want to wag…

But that’s just me.  Kinder Mum #fail.  And I’m ok with that now.

So next year, I won’t be volunteering at kinder.  Instead I’ll be volunteering some time to what I think is a worthier cause, of which there are many…and am looking forward to it.

Yes, I’ll never be a Kinder Mum.


12 responses to “Why I’ll never be a Kinder Mum

  1. I volunteered to be head of the fundraising committee at my oldest daughters kinder – that was foolish and never again shall I make that mistake.

    Now days I volunteer to help in the classroom, need an extra hand during gardening class – I’m your gal. Need a parent to help children with their sight words – me me me. Need parents to go on school excursions – Hello, see me over here waving my hand, I’ll go.

    Working with the children, during school hours – love it. But no after school meetings, actually no during school meetings either unless it is parent teacher interview stuff. No extra curricular stuff. I’ve got two special needs kids and that attempt to do the fundraising committee thing made me realise we just don’t do extra curricular stuff all that well.

    Maybe next year if both girls are in school full time it might be different. Or I might just volunteer for more classroom helper duty, or get a job.

    • Oh head of fundraising? Now that would have been painful…and yes a lot of extra work at home.

      I agree, I’m more than happy to help with the kids. Kinder duty – once I get there – is great fun! I think the more support and time we give the kids themselves, the better.

  2. OK I need to preface this by saying I am a kinder teacher.
    Once upon a time, in a state called Tasmania some clever person decided to make kinder part of the school system. Genius. This meant all children, as in 100% attended kinder. It meant the only fees paid were school levies, about say, $200 for the whole year. It meant parents did not have to volunteer for the committee, because there was none! Staff were employed by the Education department. And paid by them. The kinder budget was part of the school budget. I know! Crazy right?

    Then this teacher moved to Victoria and found herself being interviewed for teaching jobs by parent committee members. Committee members that may not even be at said kinder the following year. Committee members that had their own interests at heart and not those of the kinder as a whole. I know not all kinders are like this, but some are.

    In the end I was very lucky and got a job in an amazing kinder. Where committee and staff get along very, very well. Where those on the committee come with qualifications that suit the roles they have, accountants, lawyers, other teachers, and our kinder runs really well.

    Now, I’m not saying it’s all bad having a committee, I am however sometimes left a little wondering why usually Mum’s (we have a few Dad’s) are left to run a kinder with all the financial, legal and educational ramifications these positions hold, and doing so while drinking wine? Hmmm…

    Ok off my soap box now.

    Let me finish by saying I’m with you, I’m not a kinder or a school mum… I’m a drop and run gal!

    • Very interesting to hear it from a teacher’s perspective. I’m certain our teaching staff feel frustrated and show incredible patience with the committee. We do have some parents whose 9 to 5 roles are a good fit for their kinder committee role, eg accountant for Treasurer.

      However there’s still a distinct unprofessionalism about the whole set up, which isn’t helped by the wine (I love my wine, but are we serious about having a decent meeting? – no) and I think our teaching staff deserve more input and rights than they currently are given.

    • They’re not all bad. But it’s tiresome and most of the meeting is a waste of everyone’s time as it’s very inefficient. Yes, lots of talking by the same few…who I think like to hear the sounds of their own voices after a couple of glasses of vino.

  3. ohhh I am dreading this community involvement aspect. My goal is to choose the right level of participation. My sister is one of those full on types particpating in everything as well as working full time. She stresses about it and then complains about having to performance manage the staff and how she is too busy. There is defintely some power tripping going on there.

    I will sell some raffle tickets; thatisall..

  4. Just read the never going to be a kinder mum blog and found it hysterical!! I have two children, now aged 11 and 7 and actually volunteered for the fundraising commitee when my 7 year old was at kinder. I was thinking that this was going to be my time to give to the community and I should make the most of enjoying these young years with her. Boy oh boy was I wrong. I very quickly decided that it wasn’t for me, much for the same reasons that you have already mentioned.

    I must say however, that it takes a very special person to volunteer for these roles and I think the people that generally take up these positions must be born to!!

  5. This made me laugh, seeing you sitting around in the circle aching to get on your iPhone. Darlin you ain’t seen nothin yet, wait for the P&C Fundraising Committee! 🙂

  6. I’d have to confess…I am a kinder mum..but I’m kinda the type that sits on the fence. I volunteered as the Newsletter editor, after seeing the abomination of it. Transformed it..and now wonder, who the heck will be able to take over my duties, as I only used the Mac to produce such masterpieces (Ahem!).

    But that being said, it is a total dragggggggg, hvg to wait for my committee president, and other moms, to reply back with their updates. Wait a minute, I never get it!

    And so, the newsletter is often filled with complete nonsense, but wonderful photos, in a knock-em-dead, template. Yes…how I love diversions!

    I so get your post… it speaks volume. 😀

    • Oh..and I rarely turn up for committee meetings because they don’t serve wine..because what the heck do I have any updates on? “I’m running low on paper supplies????”


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