Thursday, 24 February 2011
Charity Doesn't Always Begin At Home
I don't want a badge, I don't want praise, I'm doing it for me if I'm honest. It involves giving something back and doing good obviously but that, in turn, will hopefully make me feel better about myself.
Throughout my working life it's always been something I wanted to do but my weekends were precious to me then, they were a time to have fun with my friends or my partner. They were a time for drinking, socialising and merriment. They were a time to splash my hard-earned cash on going out to pubs and clubs. Now my weekends are spent as our family time - my husband, my daughter and me. My in-laws live 100 miles away so are not fortunate enough to pop in during the week so every two weeks we meet up with them, they come here or we go to them so it eats into our 'just the 3 of us' time quite a bit. So again, I feel (and justifiably so this time) that my weekends are precious.
Now I'm a stay-at-home-mum, I have all the time in the world during the week don't I? No, between the bits of blogging I am able to write, I'm a mummy - I teach my daughter new things every day and I'm loving it. I'm also friend, a daughter, an acquaintance, a cleaner, a chef, a maid, a shopper and a relaxer (yes, it's nice to have 5 minutes to myself with my feet up and a cup of tea). The days literally fly by!
My parents have my daughter for me every Friday now and what do I do with that time? I usually end up cleaning the house and getting the washing done.
I spoke to my best friend about it a few weeks ago and she asked if I wanted to go back to work part time. "No" came my immediate reply. I surprised myself at the quickness of my response as I did actually love my job - although maybe not the commute. Then it struck me. I'd always been so jealous of people who dedicated some of their time to charity and I'd never been in a position (or so I thought) to do it. My brother-in-law volunteered at an Oxfam shop for 18 months, which, at the age of 23 I admired so much. A young lad working in a charity shop for no wage at the age of 23 wasn't something you come across every day.
I spoke to my brother-in-law about it and he said he loved it. He got to meet so many different personalities and he enjoyed dedicating his time to the charity.
I spoke to my husband about it and asked what he thought. His response...
"No, charity begins at home".
Now don't get me wrong, my husband is quite charitable - he gives monthly to charities, as I do, and he will always give to Children In Need and other major charitable events. So this retort shocked me.
"No it doesn't" I replied.
He then explained that since I gave up work to be at home we aren't as financially well off as we once were. I sit and look at the things we bought BC (before child) and I cringe at the money we fritted away on things that we didn't need. We may not be as well off but we certainly aren't hard done by. We still managed to splurge occasionally and our daughter never goes without.
I explained my thoughts and feelings to him and also reminded him that his own brother had done it. He soon realised I was deadly serious and realised the benefits that it's going to give me. Sure, it's not going to bring any extra money into the house, but so what? I never did get people who were always striving to make money and weren't content with the things they had or trying to get the most out of life. I want this to be something I can look back on and be proud that I did it. I want my daughter to be proud of her mummy.
So, the next day I rushed off to get a volunteer form, spoke to my ex boss and an ex work colleague to provide me with a character reference and went back with the completed form in hand to drop it in personally.
I got the phone call on Tuesday.
I start at 10am tomorrow.