“May I make a suggestion?” might be a dreaded question for a new mother, but it also exasperates the mother volunteering to run a large school or community event. Why would a simple suggestion fill her with dismay? Ideas inevitably follow. Often good ideas, but approximately 99% of which require large amounts of money, time, or both. In most instances, the volunteer chairperson is already working hard, barely holding it together, picking up take out for dinner, forgoing the gym, and all for the satisfaction of contributing to her community, not an actual paycheck. The last thing she needs is more added to her to do list.
“Wouldn’t it be great to hold the school auction on a riverboat?”
“You should hire a choral group to sing carols during the Holiday Bazaar – it would add so much atmosphere.”
“Why don’t we take all these great donations for the rummage sale and sell them on ebay? They would bring in so much more money!”
The answer to all of these suggestions might be a resounding yes, were time and money no object. But time and effort are in notably short supply these days.
If a modern mother is the unlucky chairperson of such an event, what should she do when faced with fanciful and/or time consuming suggestions? While it may be tempting to reply, “Great idea! Perhaps we could get Gwyneth Paltrow to do an endorsement of our event on GOOP, and we could get a caligrapher to hand write 500 invitation to all members of the community while we're at it!” but it would probably be better to respond, “That is such a fabulous idea. Would you like to start working on it?”
As a corollary, when the modern mother finds herself only tangentially involved in some auction/spring fair/charity rummage sale, and is overcome with brilliant ideas and suggestions, she should stop and consider the who, how, where, and when of making them happen. If she finds herself ready and eager to help propel her idea forward, then go crazy, go ask the volunteer chair and you might make even her day. Otherwise, take care offering suggestions, or you’ll be the first person called upon to run the show the following year.