Realizing I was on the verge of inundating a friend of mine with unsolicited advice (she's used to it), I thought I might rather blog on the topic of volunteer work.
As I hope is evident from this blog, I love being a full-time mom -- its what I want to do and I'm glad to be doing it. It isn't always easy and I'm not a perfect mom, but I'd rather be here than in an office (where things aren't always easy and I'm not perfect). However, its important to me to have some additional interests -- it also makes it easier to have cocktail party conversation (for the two we're invited to each year).
I see this as a slightly different topic than the 'me time' the parenting magazines advise for moms ('go get a pedicure', 'have a girls night out'), but maybe its all the same and I'm unimaginative, but my blog is one of my interests, so here it is.
Its important to me to get out and be Marjorie, not just someone's mom. I volunteer one evening a week at the library and I enjoy the adult conversation and also the opportunity to do a discrete, simple task that is not undone by the young children who follow me around during the day. I also get to look at a lot of books as they move through my hands and onto the shelves. My DH watches the kids while I volunteer and its nice for him to have some time alone without my nagging.
Earlier in my mommy experience, I trained to be a museum docent. I really enjoyed the docent training that I did. I didn't complete the training because of the logistical difficulties of arranging for childcare and getting into the city. During my short training, though, I learned a lot about American history, how people lived, and furnishings. In some ways, it whetted my appetite to homeschool -- there are so many things to learn, I want to learn along with my kids.
After the docent training fell through, I took an evening Bible study for three years. This was great for me, I really enjoyed learning about the Bible and the time away from home.
I also enjoy volunteering with a state homeschooling organization, but most of the work I've done with them has been computer work and doesn't satisfy the social need.
Anyway, I think volunteering is a great way to get out of the house, learn some new skills or use some you already have, meet new people, and be yourself. There are plenty of ways to volunteer and there are plenty of organizations (some not so great to their volunteers but others are wonderful). I had to look for awhile and there was a lot of trial and error, but I'm happy where I am.