When we joined a church in The Land of Fruit a while back, we decided to get as involved as possible. We teach Sydney's Sunday School class once a month, I've taken the training to serve communion and I've gotten involved in the committee that puts on the events for children and families (Easter egg hunt, fall festival, etc).
So far everything has gone quite well. I've cooked pancakes and prepared hot dogs, sold tickets to events, donated many bags of candy and spent countless hours cleaning up after all of these events. I haven't been able to help set up for the events as much as I'd like because they always seem to do that on Fridays and I don't feel comfortable letting the boys run around the church while we're trying to work. At ages two and three, I feel like they need a lot of supervision and I just can't give them that while decorating tables and such.
So at today's meeting to plan our Christmas event, one of the committee members lamented that she winds up doing most of the decorating by herself. I pointed out that I'd be happy to help on days that the boys are in Mother's Day Out, but the setup days never seem to fall on one of those days. I said that I couldn't really work with two kids needing so much attention.
Her response? "That's a load of bull. I've been bringing my son up while I do all the decorating myself since he was eighteen months old. I just let him run around and entertain himself while I do all the work."
I felt like I'd been hit in the stomach. I simply don't think my boys could entertain themselves for hours on end without destroying things. It's great that her kid is so well-behaved, but you know what? My boys (one, in particular) are rambunctious, energetic and even a bit mischievous. There is absolutely no way I'd let them just "run around."
I don't know if she saw me steaming or what, but another committee member agreed that she'd love to help decorate, too, but her boys were also too rowdy to be left alone.
In the end, the committee chair promised to look into hiring the church babysitter to watch all of our kids in the nursery for a few hours while we set things up.
But now I'm irritated. One part of me feels like telling them to shove it and the offending committee member can just continue to play the martyr and do all of the decorating herself. And the other part of me feels like showing up, putting the boys in the provided nursery and working so hard they'll wonder how they ever did it without me.
Ugh. Some people.
No wonder various churches, charities and organizations have a hard time finding members and/or volunteers.
What's that old saying? "Don't bite the hand that feeds you"? Maybe that should be amended to, "Don't bite the head off the volunteer willing to help you."