Salute to Spouses Blog

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Volunteers Work, Because They Love

For the last year, I have volunteered for two different military organizations. Years ago, before I had my family, I did not volunteer because I didn’t think I had the time. Long days in the office and commuting were exhausting and I wanted to relax on my days off.

It is amazing how my definition of the word ‘busy’ has changed since having children. I never have days off and I realize how much time I had to myself back then, even while working full-time. As a stay-at-home-mom, my days are hardly boring. I barely get a chance to go to the bathroom by myself let alone sit and relax. I am pretty sure I have yet to finish a cup of coffee in the morning without having to warm it up in the microwave.

As we get older and the boys keep changing and growing, our life keeps getting busier. Now we have preschool to drop off and pick up from and extracurricular activities. My days are filling up and we are busier than ever. But I am still volunteering. I make the time to give back. And I do it because I want to.

I have been asked if I volunteer because “I have to” or because of my husband’s current job or because his rank requires me to. False. False. False. Initially, these types of questions rubbed me the wrong way. I was defensive. But the more I thought about it and the sources the questions came from, I realized they were not meant to be hurtful. Instead, they were asked out of curiosity. Or misconception. Or stereotype. Or simply, inexperience.

There are a few quotes I have come across that sum up perfectly why I have a strong passion to give back to my community and military families: “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time. They just have the heart.” (Elizabeth Andrew)

I have always had a passion to help others. That is why I earned a degree in psychology. My husband may have been the one who dedicated his life to serving his country, but I chose him. I feel that by giving back to our military community, I am helping our country in a small way. I am not directly saving people or defending our country with my bare hands, but I am helping important programs that serve military families run their daily operations.

It does take a village. And I make the time to be part of that village. Whether it be sending out an email to check in on a spouse who lost a grandparent, making a meal for a new mom and dad or answering the phone in an office, I make the time to help - no matter how much or how little it may seem; every little bit helps. And the organizations are so thankful for you and your service. When I leave for the day, I always feel more motivated to come back. I feel welcomed, respected and appreciated.

 Winston Churchill said, “We make a living not by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” I have struggled to find my professional imprint in this world. Once I became a mom, I felt fulfilled and I felt I had purpose. As my children continue to grow and develop their own little identities, I realize I still want more out of life. I still want to help others. Volunteering gives me flexibility to serve my first priority, being a mom. And, it allows me to contribute to a community that has given me the opportunity to stay home with them. I can use what I have learned through my own experience to help others. I am constantly learning new things through my volunteer experience. I am gaining knowledge, experience and building friendships.

The point in my sharing this it to reach out to those spouses who may be struggling to find their nitch in this military lifestyle. Find an organization you believe in and find a way to help. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

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