For some time now, I’ve felt as if I could do more with my time. I don’t homeschool my boys (at least not right now, that could change in the future) and with the two of them in preschool and mother’s morning out programs, I’ve had some of my time freed up. At first, I thought I would devote my time to me, either working out, writing, reading, relaxing, or running errands. And why not? I work hard in my stay at home mom position. But something deep down within my heart and in my head told me that my time could be better spent elsewhere.
Two weeks ago, at our local Rotary meeting (of which I am the Communications Director), we had a speaker who is the Executive Director of the Cancer Survivors Park Alliance. It’s a park created for cancer survivors and their families, as well as those who are currently fighting the horrible disease. The purpose of the park is to create a space for hope, healing, learning, and celebration. The speaker happened to speak to us on the 9th anniversary of my brother’s death to leukemia, a debilitating blood cancer.
I took it as a sign from God, a sign that I had prayed about for quite some time. I’ve longed for something with which I could devote my extra time (what little I have). I’ve told my husband that I want to do more with my life, but I don’t want to sacrifice the flexibility of a stay at home mom lifestyle. I want to go to my children’s events, be hands on with them and involved in every aspect of their lives, more so than I would be as a working mom, but still be active in my community. I’ve sought out an organization with which I could be passionate about. If it’s going to take away any of my time, then it has to be worth something for me, and by something I mean more than money.
After our rotary meeting, I spoke with the director and offered up my services in some form or fashion. She said she couldn’t pay me, and I told her I wasn’t looking for money. She informed me of a couple of opportunities, one of which is on the communications committee. Given my background in communications, we both decided the group could benefit more from my expertise in that arena. So, last Wednesday, I dropped my boys off with my mom and dad and headed out to my first official meeting.
Although, I’m not being paid, this is still a professional organization and I hemmed and hawed over what I should wear. It’s been 4 years since I’ve been in the corporate world and either my business suits no longer fit or I just don’t have them anymore. I settled with a nice pair of jeans, a button down shirt, and a blazer…business casual.
As the meeting got underway, my head started pounding and my heart beat started accelerating. All of the people in the room with me were currently working. Not a one of them was a retired philanthropist or fellow stay at home mom like me. They all were able to contribute to the conversations by injecting in some sort of anecdote from a previous experience either with a client or an idea. Me? Well, I just listened intently and took notes.
Secretly, I sat there wondering if this was a good idea. My thoughts kept revolving around, “do I have the intelligence for this? what about the bandwidth? Have I been so long out of the working world, that I can’t contribute?”
After the meeting, I tossed around a couple of ideas and I have meetings scheduled to find ways to increase fundraisers, to market them, to write up press releases, and encourage the overall notoriety of the park.
That night, my husband asked how the meeting went. I told him it went well. I told him about what was being done and about some ideas I had. As with everything else in my life, he told me he was proud of me for taking on this added responsibility, for finding a way to help others. Who knows what may come of this? I definitely don’t, but I do know that the excitement of being involved in something like this is exhilarating. I’m likely to have less time for my blog posts, but it’s worth the sacrifice.
By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about the park, you can visit their website. http://www.cancersurvivorspark.org