Mary Anne Ostrum

Mom of five ranging from 18-7. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, and a sister in Christ.

My terrible disease? NAVYitis (Never Again Volunteer Yourself). Volunteering is a necessity when you have children. If you want your child/children to have a full childhood experience someone has to volunteer. I am a doer. Do you know what that means? I do, if you don’t get it done in the time frame that I want it done, I do it. And when it comes to my children and volunteering…*clears my throat*….if someone else doesn’t volunteer, quick enough, I will volunteer. Need a Girl Scout leader, I’ll volunteer. Need a children’s choir director? I am your girl. Don’t have a room mother? If I have a child in your class, and once I even did it without that qualification, you can call on me. Need help moving, cleaning up you neighbor’s yard, cleaning up after a natural disaster? Guess what, I am there for you, just ask. I have a comfortable life and  have been extremely blessed to be able to raise my children as a SAHM (Stay at HOME MOM) and I am willing to volunteer to make my children and their friends have a memorable childhood.

If you look up “volunteer” in the dictionary I am almost certain that you will find either a picture of me or my name as one of the definitions:

vol·un·teer  [vol-uhn-teer]


1.a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking.
2.a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.
3. Mary Anne
See I told you! There it is, I couldn’t believe it either when I saw that! It is a disease that I have, in the past, I have buried myself in volunteering. And then I have pulled back and only done the absolute loves.
A year ago we moved from one state to another, well from one part of the country to another (we even changed time zones) and I didn’t dive into volunteering. I was an active parent for my daughters’ Girl Scout troop, but not a leader. But now….. the disease has shown its ugly head again and I am a Girl Scout Brownie leader for my youngest daughter’s troop and I am still the leader for my 11th grade daughter’s troop. I waited for another parent to sign up for my 4th grade daughter’s silent auction basket at the PTO meeting…. but no one did and as the room emptied I took pen in hand and put my John Hancock on the sign up sheet. I am good at delegating, now, I have learned along the way. And here is where I need to stop. No more volunteering for this year.
There have been times in my life when my NAVYitis was so bad that I had one, that’s 1 day, where I didn’t have something planned. I was directing a children’s choir, a Girl Scout leader, Sunday school teacher, director of a missions group, sang in the sanctuary choir, sang in the Praise band, played in a bell choir, and room mom for two of my five children. On top of that I stayed at the Daisy and Brownie meetings for two of my other daughter’s because the leader needed help.
Why do I volunteer for so much? I have wondered that myself. Sometimes it seems to collate with marital problems, but not always. I wonder if it has to do with my childhood? My mom was in a car accident when I was 10 years old and left her basically crippled. She spent years in and out of hospitals, doctor’s appointments or unable to get out of the house. Am I making up for that? I know my mom would have done most of the things that I now do, if she had been able. I had a wonderful childhood, even without my parents volunteering but there are few memories of fun things, like Girl Scouts or having my mom come in and help in the classroom. Most of my memories are early childhood memories of Brownies or Indian Princesses with my parent’s involved. After the accident my memories are visiting at the hospital, driving to the hospital, sometimes an hour or more away. They were my memories and I am happy with them, even without them volunteering.
Volunteers are needed in many aspects of life, especially in your child/children’s lives. I read a colorful article on Volunteer Spot that helps me feel good about having NAVYitis. and further explaining about why I volunteer and how about this article that starts off on a different note….
People volunteer for different reasons, I guess we all  just need to  figure out why we are volunteering and make sure it is for the betterment of everyone involved – you and the people you are volunteering for/with.
HelpingHands 150x150 Volunteering, a terrible disease...NAVYitis

Volunteering is offering a helping hand.

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