The working mum's survival guide to volunteering

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One of the great things about having kids is that it draws you into communities. The number of these communities grows as your kids move from creche/kindergarten through to primary school and beyond.

Many of these communities rely on people volunteering to function. The kinder has a committee, the school wants help with reading in classes, and the local sports team will need a volunteer coach and team manager. Before you know it you will be asked to help in all sorts of ways.

There are huge benefits to volunteering – such as building close relationships with other parents and getting to know their kids better – but many of the roles are very time consuming and can create other pressures.

So, if you are feeling like the juggle is overwhelming but still want to help, here is a list of the roles you should say yes to vs the ones you should run a mile from.

Roles that you can time box and fall into the ‘manageable’ category:

- Class / school help, Team Manager, Assistant Coach

Roles that you can probably time box but should be treated with caution

-  Secretary of things like the kinder / sports committee, Treasurer of a small committee group (not something like a sports club with 25 teams)

Roles that can be time consuming and also quite political

- Coach (kids are usually fun to coach but managing parent expectations can sometimes make things stressful), President of a club, Maintenance / working bee coordinator

The timebomb volunteer roles (these are great things to do but only take them on if you have lots of energy and resilience for it)

- School/Kinder President, Head of fundraising (a never-ending job and you always feel like you should be doing more), President of large sports group/club

So in summary – give when you can because it’s a great thing to do, but look after yourself and say yes knowing what you are signing up for!