The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Volunteer for Brainless Tasks and Find Nirvana

I never feel more stupid than when I volunteer in my daughter’s kindergarten class.

Her teacher snaps out instructions. My job, I think, is to help the kids draw three pictures that describe their weekend and then write a one-sentence summation.

I’m supposed to help my daughter, Mimi, her friend, Anni, a boy, David, and a girl, Samantha.

“This way!” I say. Mimi goes the other way, as does giggling Anni, while David heads straight to his seat, as does Samantha.

“Mimi! Anni,” I admonish. The giggling girls slowly come over. “Okay, let’s draw!” David sketches, as does Samantha. That leaves the other two, who do not.

“How are things going?” asks the teacher.

Obviously, not well.

“Mimi and Anni, start drawing please,” she says. “We’re running behind.”

Running behind? I look around at the other parent-volunteers. Paul and his students look extremely absorbed. He seems to display quiet authority.

I can try that. Not that I get the chance. Somewhere between looking up and looking down, another parent-volunteer swoops in and takes over teaching David and Samantha.

Is this a parent-volunteer-student steal? Is somebody saying I can’t handle teaching four children at once, which I obviously can not, but still. . . And why take those two? The easy ones. Why not my daughter and her friend? The challenging duo.

“Good work!” the parent-volunteer-student stealer says proudly to David and Samantha, as they continue to draw. She smiles at me.

After much cajoling, my two remaining little students finally draw their pictures and write a sentence.

“Can you stay for a few minutes?” the teacher asks.

She leads me to a table in the back upon which sits several sheets of black construction paper, a white pencil and scissors. She holds up a circle.

“I need you to make twelve of these.” She draws a circle in the air with her finger. “Think you can do it?”

I look nervously from paper to pencil to scissors and finally nod. “I think I can.”

I carefully lay my pre-cut sample against the very edge of the paper and trace. I leave an inch of space between and then draw another circle and repeat the pattern. I precisely cut, taking deep breaths along the way.

“Your daughter is smart,” says another parent-volunteer who approaches my table.

I protectively cover my circles with my hands, fearful she may take them.

“Your daughter does her work. She’s just taking advantage of you because you’re here.”

“Oh!” I shriek. “I was really worried because I thought she couldn’t draw. I thought she couldn’t write. . .”

I suddenly stop externalizing my internal insecurities. I don’t even know this mother. “Thank you!” I say displaying all my teeth. 

The woman gives me a small, knowing smile back.

I return to my circle cutting.

Sometimes, the most mindless tasks can provide the greatest peace of mind.

By Dawn Yun

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So cute! I saw myself in the classroom -- wait til she's in 4th grade and doing fractions! Really enjoyed this. Laura-Lynne
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