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.
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.