Activity #472: Volunteer with your baby

Mom and three kidsA few weeks ago, I gave Megan the thrill (or the scare) of being recognized in real life from her work on her web site, Jumping Monkeys. I spotted her in the park, and her unique combination of children (twin boys and an older girl) made me think that she was indeed the person I thought she resembled, although I had only seen her in a few pictures on Flickr. So of course I did feel like a stalker when I approached her, but when I introduced myself, she didn’t seem frightened by my menacing five feet zero inch stature, or my late-third-trimester heft. In the next week, we exchanged some emails, and Megan, who is a veteran mom (not a rookie!) to toddlers Milo, Huck, and preschooler Annabella, shared a great activity with me.

Every Friday morning I take my kids (2, 2, & 4) to the local soup kitchen where we pick up several boxes of food and deliver them to people who’ve recently moved out of the homeless shelter and are still trying to get back on their feet.

two year old in car seatI’m pretty sure my two year olds don’t understand why some people have food and some people don’t. Even my four year old is only beginning to understand what we’re doing. (Last week I thought she was really getting it, until she said, “If they don’t have enough food, why don’t they just go to the grocery store more often?”) Still, I hope I’m at least planting a seed about the idea of giving back to your community. Plus, it’s become a routine and kids love routines, no matter what they are.

If you can’t find a volunteer opportunity that’s kid-friendly and you don’t have reliable child care, enlist your mom-friends to help. If you have a playgroup and you’re comfortable leaving your kids for an hour or two, trade off and each week have one mom go to volunteer job while the rest of the moms watch the kids.

Visit VolunteerMatch.org or type “volunteer” and your city into a search engine to find opportunities in your area.

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.