For moms who work full time, the start of school can be a stressful time. Between the half days and the orientations and the open houses and the meet and greets, it can feel like it's hard to get a moment in the office. By the time October rolls around and things are all normal, it's hard to imagine taking any more time off to spend in your child's classroom.
Still, studies show that children who have parents who play an active role in their education do better than those who don't. So what is a working mom to do?
The fact is, volunteering in the school isn't only for those moms who stay home. It IS possible for moms who work to also play a significant role. They just have to be more creative. Here are 7 ways working moms can be more involved:
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- Ask early: One of the main ways moms stay involved in school activities is to ask the teacher at the beginning of the year what she needs and then nail down dates. I am lucky to have a fairly flexible job, and I was able to chaperone all my daughter's pre-K field trips by letting my work know and working around it in advance.
- Volunteer after-hours: If you have a talent, say sewing or writing, and can help after 5 p.m. with making costumes or writing grants or press releases or whatever else, then you can help with projects on your own time.
- Bring food: One mom friend I know always volunteers to be the food person at events. This way she doesn't have to physically be there, but her daughter knows mommy cares and is involved in the way she can be.
- Flex your schedule: If your employer is amenable, see if you can work nights once in a while or work from home so that you can be a room mom or spend a day chaperoning a field trip.
- Talk to your child's class: Bring your career knowledge into the classroom. I am a writer, so I plan to help with my daughter's school's newspaper next year. The newspaper club meets at 7 a.m. once a week, so I can be involved but not lose too much work time.
- Coach: Another great way to be involved is to coach teams on the weekend and after school practices. You can also direct plays, offer musical accompaniment, or do anything else that utilizes your talents and happens in after school hours.
- Bake sales: There is always a need for more goodies for the bake sale. Most of us can manage an hour of time at night to throw together 30 Whoopee Pies for a good cause, right?
How do you stay involved with school when you also work full time?