Dear Uber-Volunteer Mom,
I understand you have a lot on your plate. Really, I do. Working full-time, raising your child, spending time with your husband, volunteering your time on different committees and for different causes. I applaud you. Really, I do. As a fellow volunteer, I know how much you have on your plate.
That said, do you think, if you volunteer to be the person to organize something, you might want to call on others to ask them to volunteer their time and/or their baking skills and/or BOTH of the above for a three-day event, you may want to contact those others, oh, I don't know, NOT the day the event starts?!?!?!
As my DH informed me Friday, you had called that morning while I was at work and left a message on our machine. When asked what your message was, his reply was something along the vein of "It was too long and demanding for me to pay attention to it, so I left it on the machine for you." But not in those words. He instead made some comment about your rambling request, added “that’s what drives me crazy with all these idiots in charge”, and suggested that I should call you as you specified in your message.
Here's the thing: I did call you back. At your home number. I know it's your home number because your answering machine message told me that I indeed had dialed the correct number. And I left you a message to clarify what exactly you needed me to do and/or what I was available to help with. And I left you BOTH my numbers. Home and cell. That was Friday afternoon before school let out.
Then I listened to your message when I got home. DH was right. Little on the demanding side. Here’s a bit of advice: when you need assistance from volunteers, don't call them the day the event starts. And don't take up four minutes of their answering machine time to list ALL the ways you need help over the next three days. DH’s comment about “idiots in charge” was because, on top of asking me to personally volunteer at any and/or all three days of the event, you also asked me to bake items for any and/or all of the three days. Said baked goods had very specific guidelines to wrapping, labeling, and what time to have them at said event. Geez, lady, there’s a reason volunteers suffer from burn-out, you know – chairs like you!
Here's the thing: I also work. And I have kids and a husband too, one of them being very small (a kid, not the husband). And I volunteer for a lot as well. And I've worked with you before, so I know your M.O. I have heard how you're "sooooo bussssssssy". And here's my thought: if you're so busy, you should probably assume that you're not the only one. And if you choose to be in charge of coordinating folks to help out, it behooves you to make such calls a week or two in advance.
Or perhaps you could take your cue from the FORMS that each parent received for this event that asked us to volunteer and to indicate how we would like to volunteer!!!!!!!!!! You know, the form I DIDN’T RETURN!!!!!!! It's like the g*^%& church bazaar every year - I didn't indicate I would do ANYTHING for it, as I have noted three other areas I am willing to volunteer in, and have even rated them, just like the form told me to. And by the time the bazaar rolls around, I’ve already been taken up on at least one of those areas. But every year, I get a message asking me to drop off my donation to the bazaar. And to return money for the tickets you've mailed me to sell, you know, the ones I NEVER requested because, hey, if I wanted to be in sales, folks, I would have made it my friggin' career path.
So, to Uber-Volunteer Mom and all the other uber-volunteer parents out there, I’m sorry you’re “soooooo busssssssy”. I’m sorry that you’ve offered to be in charge. I’m sorry you didn’t bother to try to man this event until the day it begins. I’m sorry that you waited until the day it starts to find bakers to donate goods. I'm sorry I never had the chance to talk to you because you STILL haven't returned my phone call! I’m sorry that your failure to prepare in advance does not constitute an emergency on my part.
Oh, and when you are in charge, UVM, as you said in the message, one would only presume that you would be present at said event to ensure that all runs smoothly, that all volunteer staff shows up and is in their appointed positions, and that all baked goods are delivered according to your precise instructions. On all three days. So imagine my surprise when you were nowhere to be found today. Guess you were “tooooo bussssssy” with something else, huh? Maybe you'll let me know with what when you finally return my call!
Fellow Busy Volunteer Mom
P.S. - And after all that, I still made a dozen friggin’ brownies, which I dropped off today, just as the last day of the event was getting underway. Not an hour or two before the event, because that was precisely when I caved and threw the brownies in the oven.
Volunteer guilt, I guess. Baby steps, right?