Volunwork

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A while ago my hubby and some friends and I were coming up with our own words to describe things. (Yeah, I figured I’d just dive straight into my post instead of trying to explain why I haven’t blogged in months. I tried to come up with some either witty, remarkable, clever, or deep explanation. Really all I could think of was that i was tired and sleep seemed preferable. So sue me. Well, not really as that would be unpleasant and would also probably interfere with my sleep.) One of those words we all invented was volunwork. This is not to be confused with voluntold. Voluntold is where your wife asks you nicely to do something that you know is not actually a request, and that to ignore this request would bring unpleasant feelings that only God could save you from. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about volunwork.
Volunwork is where you are retired, a stay at home mom, or even a student, but you still act like you work full time. You aren’t technically employed but you are out of the house doing things as much, if not more so, than someone who is employed full time. (notice I said “is employed” and not “works”…I figured I would avoid the whole land mine of implying those who aren’t employed don’t “work”…a pet peeve of mine I’ll admit).
Here are the dangers of volunwork to a SAHM. I chose to stay at home because I felt it was in the best interests to my family. (for those of you who work, I’m NOT judging you, commenting on your situation, saying your a bad parent, etc. Just to clear that up). I figured no one was better to raise and love on my kids than me. Granted there are days I sincerely doubt that was true…like when I’m screeching like a Banshee because Sasquatch made a rainbow on my counter with crayon that took fifteen minutes of scrubbing to get off, followed by King Toot dumping his milk onto the carpet so I had to shampoo it, followed by Urpling deciding to try and drink a bowl of raisin bran unsuccessfully just hours after having had a bath. But for the most part I feel I’m not causing them too much psychological damage…a few years of therapy should clear them right up.
But it’s hard to feel significant at home alone all day with three kids. Mine are actually pretty good at thanking me for things I do for them, probably because I make long and boring speeches when they don’t. But I struggle for adult interaction, to have jokes that make sense, to poop alone, and to eat a meal with people who manage to get more in their mouths than in their laps. Or who at least have the good graces to pretend to like the food I cook instead of looking at it like I served up dried poop. With this struggle it is very easy to start finding other ways to make yourself significant. To lose sight of the importance of training, educating, and guiding an actual human soul and give them the foundation in life to help them be successful. So we start to volunteer. Whether it’s at church, the PTA, the local shelter or other non profit groups, we get involved. Now I’m not saying this is bad. There is a lot of good to be done in this world and it sets and awesome example for your kids. But I struggle because I’m a yes person. I love to be needed, to be helpful. I see a need and want to help fill it. But if I’m not careful, that can start to take over and steal time away from my kids. Once you cross this line you are no longer volunteering, you are volunworking. This line may be different for each person but the results are the same. Exhausted mommy and children desperate for attention. I definitely don’t want that.
I’m not really sure how to wrap this up except to say, what you do with your kids is important. Whether you work or stay at home with them, don’t let the world or your own doubts ever tell you differently.

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One thought on “Volunwork

  1. That is the perfect word for my life! James always teases me that I won’t do any “work” that receives a paycheck. I have learned to be better about saying no and I just have my few pet projects now.

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