Volunteering can make you happier, it actually made me a better wife. You hear about the concept of volunteering all the time, but have you ever considered actually getting out there and helping people instead of just appreciating what others do? I honestly hadn’t, until after my kids reached school age and I found myself spending all day at home by myself with nothing to do. I considered going back to work, but after being out of the workforce for so long, it seemed impossible to find a job that offered the flexible hours I needed.
In an effort to maintain my sanity, I started volunteering during school hours, and I can quite honestly say it changed my life. Follow along on my volunteering journey, and I’ll tell you how it made me a better mom, a better wife and a better person.
- It Helped Me Connect With Other Adults
Making friends isn’t easy when you spend all day at home with the kids. While I wouldn’t trade them for anything, I do miss the carefree times of my youth, when I had time to make new friends and connect with other people my age. I love my kids to death, but sometimes you want to talk to someone your own age. Volunteering got me out of the house and gave me the opportunity to meet other adults, even if it was only for a few hours a week.
It’s important for you to have friends outside of your marriage. Having someone you can talk to when you’re having a bad day or even having problems with your spouse can take some of the pressure off your partner. Your spouse is your friend, partner, confidant and lover. Having friends that I was volunteering with helped to make my marriage healthier, because my husband didn’t have to be everything all the time.
- It Made Me More Independent
It’s easy to become dependant on the people around you when you stay home. You might not have your own income or the means to get out of the house on a regular basis, which makes it harder to be independent. If you’re like me, who was more than happy to stand alone before I got married, this loss of independence might be maddening. Volunteering gave me some of that back, because while I was helping others, the only person I could rely on was myself.
I didn’t realize how much I had missed that feeling until I started volunteering for the first time. In turn, it made me a happier and healthier person, and that helped make me a better wife.
- It Helped Me Better Manage Our Home
One of the most challenging parts of volunteering is learning how to make a difference while spending the least amount of money possible. Most volunteer programs are part of local nonprofit organizations, so if they have any funding at all, it’s probably much less than you’re using to working with. Therefore, you learn to be frugal in the best way. While we’ve never found ourselves struggling when it comes to finances, spending my time during the week volunteering gave me new skills that helped me to better manage my home, ones I would never have learned otherwise.
While we don’t necessarily need to be frugal at home, these skills have helped me save money here and there so we can afford to do whatever we want to do. We don’t have to worry about putting emergency expenses like car repairs or new appliances on a credit card, because we have an emergency fund set aside for just such an occasion. I would never have had the skills to set that up — or even thought to do so — before I’d started volunteering.
- It Helped Me Have Fun
Before I started volunteering, my idea of fun was sitting at the kitchen table nibbling on whatever the kids hadn’t eaten for breakfast. I’d watch episode after episode of “Paw Patrol” because I couldn’t bring myself to turn off the TV and I really wanted to see what happened next.
Kind of pathetic, right?
Volunteering ended up being a lot more fun than I anticipated. I was out in the world, doing something good and helping someone else, and to me, it was fun. I enjoyed what I was doing, whether I was helping people at a food bank or building a house for Habitat for Humanity. It might not be what people normally think of as fun, but I enjoyed myself — and that changed my entire outlook. I no longer dreaded spending time by myself because it meant I could work on my volunteering goals.
Plus, volunteering made me part a great supportive community of like-minded people— something I might never have achieved otherwise. It added a lot more flavor to my life and gave me a lot more to talk about at the dinner table than the latest adventures of the “Paw Patrol.”
- Start Volunteering in Your Area
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or just someone looking for a way to spend your afternoons, look into what opportunities might be available for volunteering near you. You might be surprised how many places are looking for willing and able volunteers to help out. You might not get paid, but volunteer hours look great on a resume if you’re trying to find a new job or you’re vying for a promotion.
In my case, volunteering didn’t just get me out of the house. Helping others improved my mental and physical health, and gave me the tools I needed to manage my home and family. I am happier and healthier than ever, and I can thank my volunteer activities for that. See what’s available in your area, from helping at soup kitchens or food banks to building homes, picking up garbage along highways or laying mulch in your local park. There is always someone who will need your help — you just need to know where to look.
I know volunteering made me a better wife, it also made me a better mom, sister, cousin, and friend. Are you looking for more ways to serve? Check out JustServe.org! It will pull up service opportunities through your location and availability!
The holidays can get really stressful, use these tips to help you find a sense of calm while you are trying to manage the day to day hustle. You’ve got this mama!
Author: Jennifer Landis
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