You are not the target audience of this message. Everybody else is. Your husband, your kids, your pastor, people at church, and anybody else who comes to you and asks you to volunteer.
You’ve heard the saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy man.” Change a couple of letters and you have everybody’s real motto: “If you want something done, ask a busy mom.” Everyone concedes that moms are busier than the Pope. But that does not stop us from asking you for a favor. We know that we can count on you to take out your pocket planner, look for a white space and pencil us in. If anyone can get a job done, it’s you.
Maybe it’s conditioning. You took care of our needs when we were little. You produced supper right about the time when our stomachs demanded a refill. You got up and washed us down and changed our sheets in the middle of night after we accidentally spilled barf on them. You opened your hand to us whenever we needed you, especially whenever gum was not allowed. Your bare hand! We all came to take for granted that you are a person who produces food, cleans up messes, and does all the little odd jobs nobody else wants.
So when any of the above jobs are needed, everybody automatically thinks of asking Mom.
I know how it is with moms. You are happy to perform the above services and more for your families even if it keeps you hopping and you barely have a moment to sit down. It’s all part of the job and you accept it generously.
But that doesn’t mean that you need to do that for everybody. You are not everybody’s mom.
Recently, I was asked to participate in two worthy parish events. One was a supper at which a hundred people were expected. The other was a prolife mass to take place three days after Christmas. Both times I was asked if I would furnish the names of some of the homeschool moms who could serve and provide refreshments.
Serve dinner to a hundred people? Clean it all up after? Throw a party 3 days after Christmas? I know this never occurred to anyone but some of these ladies might actually want to sit down and eat at these events.
A small parish I visit now and then had a novel idea. They put on a retreat for women. Even though it’s far away, I got an invitation. It looked nice. They were bringing in Ginny Seuffert, to entertain and enlighten. Ginny is fun. With my busy schedule, I didn’t know if I was up for the drive. Still, it had the word “retreat” in it. I hated to miss it. A friend who attends that parish persuaded me. There would be food. The men of the parish were doing the cooking. After all, the women had provided for the men’s retreat. They gave the guys quite a nice spread – meats, salads, baked goods – my friend told me. So the guys thought they’d return the favor.
What? An event with no potluck required? I had to see this.
The talk was a blast. Ginny did not disappoint. Good thing too, because the promised feast was several boxes of take-out pizza.
I guess you can say it was “a start.” I mean, it was a really big stack of pizza.
Back to these well meaning people who asked me for names. I didn’t lecture (like now); I suggested alternatives. For the supper, why not ask the teens and young adults of the parish if they could serve? People that age go rock climbing on purpose. They can handle it. Besides, volunteering would be an opportunity to teach them generosity which they then might employ to offer their beleaguered moms a break at home. For the prolife reception, rather than present specific moms with the opportunity to either help babies or be really bad people, why not advertise advertise generally for help? Put an ad in the bulletin. Who knows? Somebody might come forward. Some homeschool mom just might be bored after throwing Christmas, and would welcome the opportunity to bake 6 dozen more cookies. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Or – perhaps the project would interest retirees, a.k.a people who with strength, wealth and time or at least one of the above. Such persons are often happy to be helpful.
For once it would be nice if “the names of some homeschool moms” wouldn’t be the first solution that comes to mind when you need a job done.
P.S. Print this letter out and cut along the dotted line. Take to church. Deposit in collection basket or nail to church door.