Mommas can't say no
Kimberly Davis is like Ado Annie from the musical Oklahoma. She just can't say no. Her husband even gave her an apron that reads, "Stop me before I volunteer again."
"He's like a single dad these days," said Davis, a Tampa mother of three daughters, ages 7, 5 and 18 months. Davis is a devoted mother who also loves her job as an Arbonne consultant and area manager. Volunteering for numerous causes also is an integral part of her life.
"I'm co-chairing the auction for Roosevelt (Elementary School). I'm cooking for the Daisies. I'm driving for the Brownies," she said with a laugh. She also sits on the board of the Tampa Junior League. She's rarely motivated by the guilt that drives many moms to volunteer. Davis does it for the feeling of self-worth, the recognition by peers and the contribution her work makes to the community.
"I think when we become mothers, especially, we tend to lose a part of ourselves. It's wonderful to give to our children and . . . to see them thrive but very rarely is someone standing behind you saying you did a great job," she pointed out. There's no quarterly job review; no annual pay increase.
Judy Anderson, who is the mother of three girls, ages 8, 11 and 13 in St. Petersburg, was part of that group of women volunteers for 10 years. She was president of the PTA at Perkins Elementary, she mentored kids, she taught Sunshine State math, she chaperoned all the field trips and even filled in for absent teachers. She felt if she wasn't working full time, she should be volunteering. But recently, even without the apron, Anderson started saying "No."
"Now I'm retired," she said with a big laugh. "I felt like unless you back out, nobody else steps up to do it. I reached the point where I had to do some things for myself.
So why do us Mommas volunteer even though we now know we're supposed to simplify, simplify, simplify? And how do we deal with the guilt of saying "no" here and there -- or, like Anderson, "retiring"?
See more on the dilemma of volunteering, why we say yes and how to say "no way" in the January issue of Go Momma magazine. It's in mail boxes and stands across Pinellas and Hillsborough counties now.
-- Katherine Snow Smith, Go Momma magazine