Motherhood can often feel like each day is on repeat. Like this:
Just hear me out, follow along, and hopefully by the end of the this post, you’ll want to find a place to volunteer.
As a stay at home mom, most people suggest me first when it comes to watching other people’s children. They seem to assume that since I spend ALL.DAY.LONG. with my little ones, I want to spend even more times with theirs. This is not the case, at least not for me. I’m sure there are some mommies (and daddies) that love children and would love to add that experience to their resume, but I’m not one of them. I’m a stay at home mother to be closer to my children, not anyone else’s.
I prefer to volunteer with various organizations for the following reasons:
1. You Will Get To Use Your Brain
Ah, sitting in a meeting means you get to think, and not about what to make for lunch. People ask you real questions, questions that make you think, consider, reason, and come up with a viable solution. You can offer suggestions, opinions and advice to people who care, don’t ignore you or assume that at your “old age” you don’t know what you’re talking about. They will respect you and love you for your “fresh ideas”.
2. You Will Get to Make Adult Friends
What’s the biggest complaint about the being a stay at home mom? Being lonely. Volunteering allows you to find people with like interests and work toward a common goal. Unlike mommy cliques, most of these women are also volunteering to accomplish a goal. Even though you may find people who like each other more than others, people are open to accepting you and working with you because it’s for the benefit of the organization. This gives them time to know you, like you and accept you, in ways mommy groups just don’t allow. With some time, these will become real adult friends, ones that come over on Sunday night for drinks and have game nights.
3. You Have a Reason to Leave the House ALONE
In the beginning, I was guilt-ridden when I left the house, wondering if I made the right decision and if my husband resented me for leaving. The guilt of leaving my children “just because” haunted me. I felt like I needed to “do something”, not just “go somewhere”. Becoming a volunteer completely subsided this feeling. Between general meetings, committee meetings and subcommittee meetings, leaving doesn’t feel quite so bad, since you’re still doing good.
4. You Get to Use Your Talents
Staying home, I’ve become a writer and a blogger. Through those hobbies, I have found a future career with new skills, including writing, creating a social media presence, designing and editing a website, and teaching others. These are skills that most organizations need since they tend to be more expensive and carry a consistent monthly fee. Lending your skills can truly benefit and grow the organization’s status within the community and their online presense.
5. You have updated references
One day, you may want to return to the workforce and you certainly can’t rely on references from a decade before. Working consistently with your organization can open up others’ eyes to your work ethic and ability to get the job done. When you’re ready, you have people to call that will willingly and openly vouch for you.
6. You May Get the Inside Track on a Job
Depending on how much of a benefit you provide to your organization, business owners or company managers may see how diligent and competent you are. When you’re ready to return to work, these people will be happy to hire, refer or just give a good word to a future employer. You will have a proven track record and they will be ready to hire you based on real world work, instead of an inflated resume to cover up the time lapse.
7. You Learn to Trust Your Spouse
When you navigate every aspect of your children’s lives, you tend to become a bit controlling. You become accustomed to having things done your way, almost guaranteeing disappointment upon your return. With each trip out, you become more confident in your spouse’s parenting abilities or less caring about perfection. When you start focusing on others, sometimes you forget about the little things, and you know that you will be secure that everything will be acceptable upon your return.
How do you find a volunteering gig? Take a look at your interests and look within the county for local organizations. Often organizations only have a county chapter, but host meetings locally.
I volunteer with:
With each organization, I get something a little bit different. With NCBW and Women’s Foundation, I get to network, plan adult events, meet business owners and use my knowledge as a blogger and writer to help their organizations. With UCLA Alums, I get to not only network and plan adult events, I get to have a reason to go out and have adult time. With Christ Fellowship, I have a tangent relationship with the children. I work Guest Services, so I get to work with the adults, instead of the kids. I also get to work on their social media committee.