From Volunteer Opp to Director of Ops
Looking back on her road to today, Sheree recalls being a utility player to grow her family’s business, the endless hours of volunteering at her children’s school, and the turning-point conversation she had with her husband, David. “In 2010, we had these family photos done, and we’re springing money– money that we didn’t necessarily have– but we have to capture the memories. So, we (she and her husband, David) have this conversation (about money), like, ‘Sheree, you gotta work. You can’t just be a Volunteer of America. That’s not a real job.’ And I remember looking at him, like (she whispers) ‘I will kill you. After Amalia stops laughing she insightfully replies, “What I heard you say is that there was a time when money was tight, and David was like, ‘You need to get a job because all of this stuff you’re volunteering isn’t actually providing income, which doesn’t mean it’s not valuable, but I think a lot of that’s undervalued…But that set you up for the next opportunity, which is how life kinda of works.” Fast-forward several extremely busy years and Sheree has moved from “Volunteer of America” to Director of Operations, well kinda.
“And I’m sure you quit all of your volunteer opportunities, right?” Amalia asks sarcastically. “I quit none of them,” Sheree shoots back. “I was still producing a play, still managing a chess club, still managing 3 soccer teams.”
If you think mothering four children was difficult, how about factoring in the looks and comments she’d get from neighbors and other soccer moms. It forced Sheree to almost over-compensate and over-explain herself, and made her feel like she constantly had to prove she was good enough to do x, y, and z. It’s enough to drive someone mad.
“I felt like I had to prove myself. Moms would look at me, like, ‘Wow, you have your hands full.’ So, I always felt like I had to prove myself, that I was a responsible mom, that they could allow their child to come over to my house and play and it was going to be safe. I wasn’t going to feed them alcohol or something….(and) being a brown person in a very predominately white area, I felt like I had to double-prove that I was responsible. I didn’t think about that, really, how much effort I was putting into that, but now that I’m older and wiser, I’m definitely like, ‘Yeah, I tried really hard to make others have confidence in me. Which is so weird.’”
“Well, it’s fucked up,” Amalia so subtly says. “But it’s reality. And you and I have had a lot of conversations about that…or just some different cultural communication style differences and expectations of our children and other children.”