For a moment, I entertain grand notions of organizing cans of kidney beans at food banks. Hammering nails with Habitat for Humanity. Distributing sandwiches during the lunchtime meal for the poor at the Cathedral downtown.
Then I remember: I'm thinking about all these things during the 28-minute window in my day when both my toddler and infant are sleeping. During this blessed overlap, my hands aren't holding/cleaning/changing poop/feeding/nursing/grocery shopping/finding Elmo/washing dishes/folding laundry/vacuuming/driving/reading "Dinosaurs Love Underpants" for the eighteenth time.
Shoot. If I'm going to start volunteering, it will have to be in this 28-minute window. And I'll need to hire a nanny to come stay with the kids.
In high school and college, I knew that plenty of my peers put in service hours with after-school mentoring programs, one-day maintenance projects and the like. How do I know this? I spent all my spare time as the editor of the yearbook, documenting their hard work for posterity.
Post-graduation, granted, I donated bunches of time to media and graphic design projects. I made this, and this. And created loads of materials for the Diocese of Spokane. It all took lots and lots of time, and through most of it, I was either pregnant or juggling a baby (or two). But does that work carry the same weight as an AmeriCorps stint? Four years teaching English in North Africa? Two years with Teach for America? I don't know, and in most admission offices, I don't think it does.
Fast forward to now. I've had three blessed years of stay-at-home motherhood, doing the domestic things that, if any one else besides me was doing, I could call a career.
And, if I was doing them for someone else and not being paid for it, I could call it volunteering. Ha. Oh well.