Working moms still want to be involved in their children’s lives. Assuming that a working parent is too busy is only partly the truth. While a working parent may not be able to make it to meetings or volunteer in the classroom, they still do want to be involved with their children.
There are two aspects to being involved in your children’s activities. One is to be present in your children’s lives while the other aspect is to actually help with the activities.
There is now an unspoken expectation for parents that you will actually be present at every activity your child is involved in. You can no longer just drop your child off at practice, you have to stay and watch the full practice. For my own children, I have a reputation for being the parent who either drops off their child or sends them with someone else and (gasp!) continues to work while they practice.
For my family specifically, I have had conversations with my children about the value of time and I have allowed them to make choices when I can. For example, I explain to my daughter that if I stay to watch her practice, I’m going to have to work later that evening after practice. She chooses to have me work during her practice so we can do something together later. Even when I do stay to watch the game, I will likely have my computer with me and catch up on busy work that does not need my full attention.
More often than not, I am not able to make it to school presentations during the day. Typically, it is because I was only given short notice and already had that time booked with a client. I explain why I am not able to make it before the event and make sure to check in with them afterward. In addition, there are probably 30 parents filming the activity, so I simply watch it later on Facebook.
As for actually assisting with the program or activity, there still is a need for at least a few parents to help. However, there are very few activities that truly need every parent involved and plenty of ways to help without being physically present.
Figure out what you CAN do, what you have time for and what special skills you can offer to support that child.
Are you comfortable with computers and internet?
- Offer to help create a spreadsheet of all participants
- Keep the group website or page up to date
- Create a system for parents to sign up to volunteer or bring supplies
- Set up an app that will keep the parents connected
Do you enjoy connecting with others?
- Send weekly emails out to parents with notes, needs, or new announcements
- Mentor new parents to the classroom/program
- Plan the school welcome night
- Greet visitors for the performance
Are you creative and crafty?
- Decorate the hallways for welcome week at school
- Adopt a bulletin board to update
- Create the flyers for the program/activity
- Donate craft supplies from your overflowing craft room
Do you have financial resources rather than time?
- Sponsor the sports team or activity
- Purchase snacks for practices, classroom, or activities
- Donate classroom supplies, or a gift card so the teacher chooses what is needed
- Offer a donation to provide financial assistance
Your child’s team, activity or classroom still will appreciate whatever support you are able to give. While we need people who can show up and help in person, we also need people behind the scenes.
You can still be involved in your child’s life. It just may look different than it has in the past. Whatever it is, it will work for you and your child.