Blog Post # 6 ~ Over-booked Moms Opt Out of Volunteering

14 Dec


By: Chantell Walton

I am so glad this blog post from Feministe by Jill, was brought into light. A response post in and of itself to a New York Times article on the same subject. As a single working mother & student, sending her seven-year child to public school everyday, I have felt the same kind of pressure from the public schools system. I agree, that they are indeed underfunded,  but I aslo agree mothers especially, more so than fathers are under more pressure to provide “Enormous amounts of unpaid time and labor. “ As if it is solely the mother’s responsibility and fathers simply do not have the time to give.  But what angers me just as much is the assumption is if a parent doesn’t have the time or finances to help their school, it is viewed that they are either bad parents not caring enough. This is definite a result of the “Superwoman” complex, we covered in class. Mothers feel the pressure to be just that,  able to “Have it all“. Capable of juggle everything, including volunteer in their child’s school whiles at the same time, providing for their basic needs.  Some parents have to work one, sometimes two jobs and simply do not have the time to basically be used as free labor whenever the school deems its necessary. But this is not just simply a time management issue.

I also feel, most schools assume that most  children live in a “traditional” two parent households  & the mother is home with free time on her hands to do their bidding. Be it the PTA, Parent Coordinators, Chaperoning & other types of volunteers. As the article states,  it’s not that we as parents shouldn’t volunteer or that it’s a bad thing,  but “The pressure to volunteer — created by a tightly-squeezed school system — is shouldered almost entirely by women, and covers up bigger problems.” As a tired, frustrated over worked parent myself, I resent such pressures from public schools. The fact of the matter is,  there are just as many non traditional families, Single working parents, grandparents, aunts , uncles, who should be recognized as doing their best to provide for their children, that includes allowing them access to a decent education. Parenthood in general is a balancing act, and all of it is for the sake our children.  I give my time to my son & his school, when I feel it’s needed. My first priority is my child. I have gone to  PTA meetings, met with his teachers & principal, spoke on the phone & written letters, when I was unable to be there in person. How is that not enough?  Maybe the school system itself need to figure out how to deal with the underline issue of lack of funding and get off of the parents back.


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