New moms will all agree (or maybe 4 out of 5?), that time is a precious commodity. Whether you work at home, if you are an active SAHM, or out in the workforce… parenthood is equal parts amazing and challenging. One of those challenges is finding time to fit everything in the day, with a wonderful partner or not. So why am I calling on new moms (and dads, caregivers!!) to spend some of their precious moments not working, cleaning, feeding, diapering, sleeping (sleeping… who am I kidding?), or general caring to serve for free? There are so many benefits!
The obvious benefits of volunteering are that the community/charity/individual that you assist benefits. And, there is plenty of research out there about the scientific and health benefits of volunteering. But, there are some really great individual benefits for new parents, as well (disclaimer – this is just my opinion!).
First, some time away from your little one can be good for both you and your little guy or gal. It’s refreshing to have adult conversation that is non-work/child care related and if you choose a volunteer opportunity that is a passion of yours it can be refreshing to get back into it after a few months of 24/7 nurturing. It helps to fill your individual needs by giving to others, and, maybe use skills and knowledge that has been pushed aside to devote time to your bundle of joy. Also, it’s a great way to gain perspective. In the throws of new parent-hood it is SO easy to get caught up in the details or purchases, milestones, and self-doubt. Volunteering can certainly help to put things into perspective, again and regain focus in our personal lives of what really counts. Besides accomplishing something, anything through volunteering can help us to feel a little awesome… who doesn’t want to come back to the kiddos feeling like Supermom/dad/caregiver?
How to make the most of your volunteering time? Skip a date night with your partner and use that time to volunteer together. Time together + service = time well spent. If you have a parents circle or close with family, take the opportunity to volunteer together. Or, use it as a chance to get some “me” time – it may not be a spa day, but the endorphins are just as good! Also, you can consider this as creating a good habit that can be shared with your little one, once they become a bit older.
Not sure where to begin?
Check out professional volunteering sites like Voolla or Catchafire on ways to volunteer or give your skills pro bono. Really short on time? Check out micro-volunteering sites like Sparked that allow you to volunteer your thoughts and ideas during your lunch break. Let me know if you need help getting started in Volunteering – it may seem overwhelming, but I am happy to help – @KatieMang