I decided last year that I would be a troop leader for my daughter’s Girl Scout Daisy troop. I thought it would be a great way to spend some one-on-one time with her, while volunteering for a cause I believe in. It started off positive; I met with the other leader, we had all these great ideas for what we would do! This was going to be so fun! Well, time went on, and the meetings seemed longer and longer; the craft ideas were getting much less creative, and by the end of the year the girls were playing tag for the last 15 minutes of the meetings because we had run out of things to do. I realized that I really am not the best “traditional” troop leader, but I still wanted to be involved in a leader capactiy. I know! I will be the cookie coordinator for the Girl Scout cookie season! I can use the skills I am much better at (organization, metrics), and not have to be creative or crafty. Perfect!
We are two weeks into cookie season, and I would like to give the job back. I am completely obsessed with cookies. I think about them almost all day; I dream about them at night. I am placing cookie orders, counting cookies, schlepping cookies, EATING cookies. Here is a picture of my family room. This is what it looks like all the time. I have a “cookie spreadsheet”. I have nightmares that it will get accidentally deleted somehow, and that would throw my life into a tailspin.
Not to mention that I now have to coordinate with all the other moms in the troop who don’t have the same passion around cookies that I now possess. Ordering deadlines, when to pick up, how to set up a cookie sale booth, turning money into me, how many boxes will we need for the upcoming booth, can I swap cookies with another troop…I think I send out at least one email a day that has the subject line “Cookies!” I’m pretty sure they are all sick to death of me; I’m pretty sick of myself.
So, if any of you want to take the time to volunteer for something you believe in to spend some additional time with your kids, here are some words of wisdom:
1) Make sure that you set limits. I could spend about every moment of my free time on cookies, and I did in the beginning of this process. Set aside the amount of time you will spend on it each week (or day).
2) Communicate with everyone about your limits and deadlines. I have set aside a time that orders are due to me, and when people can pick cookies up. Everyone in the troop is very aware of these times. I also reiterate it with every piece of communication that I send out.
3) Stick to your limits! This is the hardest for me. I WANT to be accommodating. However, I will get taken advantage of if I don’t stick to my deadlines and time frames.
4) Involve your child. I do this to spend time with her. So, I keep her involved in the pieces that she is able to be a part of.
5) Remember why you’re doing it. I want to be involved, and I want my child to remember that I was. This is what I have to remind myself when it’s 9:00 pm on a Monday night, and I can’t figure out why I’m missing a box of Thin Mints. Maybe it’s under the seat of my car?
I think I’m going to go eat a cookie…