Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Taking brave steps forward...

I'm a volunteer at heart. Sometimes I cannot justify the time, or effort required, whether it be because of work, family, or just plain exhaustion.

I give time when I can, I make an effort to be involved, to spread my skills, my smiles, my efforts across my community.

Volunteering has given me some of the best experiences of my life - I've been an assistant dance teacher, a local radio announcer, umpired hockey. I am a joint convener with my mother, taking care of the cookery at her local country show.

I never expected it to be any different when we moved here, and I spent a good amount of time deciding where I would start. 

I wanted to be involved in something that I was passionate about, that gave scope for a range of activities, that allowed me to use the talents and skills I already possess, and build my networks as we settle into the area.

It didn't take long for me to decide where I wanted to give. 

The biggest decision of my life as a mother has been sending my kids to daycare so I could go back to work. 

I love being mum. I love the days with my children laughing and "helping", I love listening to them play quietly when they think I'm not paying attention, I love the cuddles and being there when they need comfort. But I am not naturally good at being at home by myself, and I struggle with the monotony and the feelings of being cut off from the world. 

My balance is part time home mum, part time working mum, and it makes me a better mother, wife and person in the end.

But for me to find my balance I have to give my children over to others sometimes.

I've always believed that it takes a village to raise a child. But family units are getting smaller, urban sprawl means we don't often know our neighbours,  and many of those I am entrusting the care of my precious girls to are acquaintances at best, strangers for the most part.

It's daunting to walk in the door and cuddle my little girl goodbye, all the time with that voice that sometimes says "Are you sure she's going to be ok?" "What if.....?"

I wanted to know what I could do the be more involved in her care. So I trundled off to the Centre's AGM last night, with a vague notion that I was sure I could find somewhere to be involved.

Nominations came open and I studiously avoided the round of chairperson, secretary, finance... finally putting my tentative and shaking hand up for the role of Parent Voice representative. 

A quick idea of this role is to attend district wide events hosted by each centre and share ideas, concerns and knowledge, to give a voice to the parents and take on their ideas on how to make the centre fantastic for the families who use it's services.

I'm really excited about the opportunity this gives me to be as involved as I can in the way my child is cared for when I am at work. As a parent I have often felt very detached from daycare, with a limited flow of information about her days there. Sure I know she went to the toilet, and ate chicken salad for lunch, but I want to know how she's learning, how she is comforted, what the staff do to support the way we choose to bring up our children.

 This is how I'm giving back, and at the same time I know my children are being cared for the best way they can, because I am helping to shape it.

Are you a volunteer? Why were you motivated to give of yourself?

This post is linked up with Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.


  1. Go you for getting involved! I am on the school council and have been for nearly six years, though I have a feeling I will be taking the year off next year. Maybe look into helping out more at with the sports clubs

    1. Thanks Rhianna! It's not something I've ever been involved in, but with us not playing any sport at the moment I thought I would give it a go :)

  2. We do stuff at church, but not a whole lot in the community. It's more a time factor than anything else; we just don't have it.
    I'd love to be more involved at school, and hope to be later in the year, I just need to go through the rigmarole of getting a working with children card.

    1. It's even more special when you give some of the precious time you have, and your church is a community in itself :) I bet they appreciate every bit you do give :)

  3. It sounds like you have a really good balance going ... it's so hard to achieve and I admire you for that. I volunteer a bit but I went to a talk by the school principal this afternoon & felt guilty that I wasn't doing more. Maybe next year when the twins are at school and I only have one at home. :)

    1. I try not to feel guilty, because sometimes life needs to be about you and yours. I used to be a "sometimes" volunteer at our old school, and would help out at events every now and then. It worked for me then, and this is my turn to give a little bit back.


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