A few weeks ago, I gave Megan the thrill (or the scare) of being recognized in real life from her work on her web site, Jumping Monkeys. I identified her in the park, and her special combination of children (twin kids and an older girl) made me think that she was undoubtedly the person I thought she resembled, although I had only seen her in a few pictures on Flickr. So of course I did feel like a stalker when I approached her, but when I introduced myself, she didn’t seem frightened by my menacing five feet zero inch stature, or my late-third-trimester heft. In the next week, we exchanged some emails, and Megan, who is a veteran mommy (not a rookie!) to toddlers Milo, Huck, and preschooler Annabella, shared a terrific activity with me.
Every Friday morning I take my kids (2, 2, & 4) to the local soup kitchen where we pick up several boxes of food and deliver them to people who’ve recently moved out of the homeless shelter and are still trying to get back on their feet.
I’m pretty sure my two year olds don’t understand why some people have food and some people don’t. even my four year old is only beginning to understand what we’re doing. (Last week I thought she was really getting it, until she said, “If they don’t have enough food, why don’t they just go to the grocery store a lot more often?”) Still, I hope I’m at least planting a seed about the idea of giving back to your community. Plus, it’s become a routine and kids love routines, no matter what they are.
If you can’t find a volunteer opportunity that’s kid-friendly and you don’t have reputable child care, enlist your mom-friends to help. If you have a playgroup and you’re comfortable leaving your kids for an hour or two, trade off and each week have one mommy go to volunteer job while the rest of the mommies enjoy the kids.
Visit VolunteerMatch.org or type “volunteer” and your city into a search engine to find opportunities in your area.