I have three daughters. They’ve all done Girl Scouts at some point over the past several years. And that means each Winter, we’re tasked with selling cookies . . . lots of them. And I dread it. Like, really dread it. Because with everything I already have going on as a mother of four (I also have one son), I now have to worry about harassing my friends and family near and far to buy boxes of Thin Mints. I’m over Girl Scout cookies, and I honestly don’t want to so much as send one email or ring one doorbell with my girls this year.
Suddenly, I’m also responsible for the forms, which look like payroll spreadsheets, and you have to go online and register your girl to sell cookies to out-of-town family and friends.
I remember selling Girl Scout cookies back when I was a kid, and I never thought about the burden it placed on my mom. All I cared about was having decent sales. But now that I’m the mom, I get it. I’m trying to get through each day remembering field trip money for school and making sure all of my children are prepared with clean clothes and completed homework, as well as lunches, water bottles, and snacks. I’m driving them to swim practice, gymnastics, and Girl Scout meetings. Meetings require major prep before you ever add cookies into the equation; there are badges to iron on and there’s snack duty to sign up for . . . and then remembering the right date to bring the snack, how many girls are in the troop, who is gluten-free, and who is allergic to peanuts. It goes on and on and on. I’m lucky to get my girls to their meetings on time and in a clean uniform. When that happens, I feel like a freakin’ superhero.
But then cookie-selling season comes around. Suddenly, I’m also responsible for the forms, which look like payroll spreadsheets, and you have to go online and register your girl to sell cookies to out-of-town family and friends. There are custom-generated emails you can send; it’s high-tech now! You would think that would make selling Samoas easier, but I feel like it only adds to the pressure to sell, sell, sell. Last year, our Girl Scout leader sent out updates of how many cookies each girl had sold, which made me start to worry that my kids weren’t living up.
Besides the insane demand to tally up the number of boxes of cookies your kids sell, I honestly hate the element of having to ask people in our lives to spend money on my kids. It’s one thing for Grandma and Grandpa to buy a box or two, but that’s not enough anymore. When little Sally from the troop is selling 142 boxes, I’m suddenly looking through the contact list on my phone to see who we can put the heat on next. And then there are the booth sales, which take place outside local businesses. Last year, my girls were asked to sit outside in the freezing cold for hours to “torment” every patron who came in or out of a convenience store with a plea to buy some cookies. I wasn’t loving that experience for even a minute, let alone for the entire day.
Listen, I think the Girls Scouts is an amazing organization, and my daughters have definitely benefited from membership. They learn about self-respect and respect for others, and they have taken part in some awesome community service projects. I’ll take those character-building lessons and activities any day of the week. And yes, I know that selling cookies helps fund those exercises, but can we maybe take some of the pressure off? Both the kids and the parents? It just seems to have turned into one big competition, and I’m so tired. And I know I’m not the only one.
In fact, my youngest daughter’s troop leader is allowing parents to donate money in lieu of selling cookies if they just don’t want to deal with storing dozens of boxes of Do-si-dos in their basement until they find 18 extra hours in their day to deliver orders to everyone they’ve ever known. I’m so writing that check!
Here’s hoping the Girl Scouts organization identifies other fundraising activities for members. How about a walk-a-thon? Or a family day? Something positive and healthy that affords families time together. Am I the only adult who doesn’t think Girl Scout cookies are the best thing ever (I definitely wouldn’t miss Tagalongs or Trefoils)? OK, I might be alone in that opinion.