When you’re in the thick of keeping tiny babies alive (and dealing with pregnancy, sleep deprivation and more) it can be hard to imagine there will come a day when kids won’t need you 24/7.
But that day comes eventually and, as exciting as it is to suddenly find yourself parenting more independent children, this shift can also bring about a bit of an identity crisis for you as the mom.
Sending your youngest child off to kindergarten can be the start of this internal struggle since all of a sudden you’re alone all day without any little ones to care for! Many moms I know look forward to this day for years…but once it’s here, start feeling the itch to do something more than just go out to lunch with friends.
Your contribution to the world
As stay-at-home moms, we take comfort in the idea that most of our contribution to the world comes in the form of raising incredible teens and adults! But when our day opens up a bit, we start to wonder about making a different sort of mark on the world.
There are essentially two types of contribution we can consider: paid or unpaid.
Unpaid can be as simple as running a donation drive for the local homeless shelter once a month or as complex as creating a non-profit to help those struggling with mental health issues.
Paid contributions also come in a variety of shapes and sizes – from selling handmade jewelry to working as a dental hygienist to creating your own content-based business.
The options are literally endless!
Your local community could use you in probably hundreds of different ways. Plus, being a volunteer in your own city or town is a really worthwhile way to spend some free hours.
This could look like helping out in your child’s classroom on a regular basis or offering your time to the local library, your church, an elderly neighbor, the city government, nearby hospital, or charity. Think about a cause that really lights you up (new moms? foster kids? the police force?) and look into donating (wo)man-hours to that type of organization.
Pros of unpaid work: you get to decide exactly how much time you want to offer to an organization and most are happy to have you whenever they can get you. Creating your own non-profit, while considerably more work in the long run, allows you even more flexbility in serving the people and organizations you love.
Cons of unpaid work: I love serving my church and community for free, but there is a limit to this kind of work. Eventually it’s only fair that we ask to be compensated in some way for our time and expertise.
Contributing to the world in a way that allows for you to be paid for your time is, in some ways, both easier and harder than being a volunteer. While you get to bring home a paycheck, you also have to consistently show up and usually give much more time, energy and other resources to your job or business.
If this is the route for you, your first decision will be to choose whether you want to work for another organization or to build your own. Being hired by someone else includes résumé building, job hunting, and often obtaining more education or skills than you currently possess.
Building a business requires a LOT more from you, but often offers much more freedom, excitement and fulfillment as you create something that is your very own.
Pros of paid work: um, money, obviously. But also the ability to have a longer-lasting and more far-reaching impact; most people are able to dedicate more hours and resources to a paid job or business than volunteer work.
Cons of paid work: being required to work a schedule that you didn’t necessarily choose and having to do work that you may or may not love. You get more freedom as a business owner but also a lot more responsibilities, like being in charge of, well…everything!
In the end, whatever contribution you choose is sure to enrich your life, contribute to your personal skills and development and make an impact on the world.
And if you are convinced that building a business is the path for you, be sure to download my free PDF to get you started. It’s a wild ride but I would choose it again a hundred times over!