Balancing community service with mom life and career - MetroFamily Magazine
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Balancing community service with mom life and career

by Tania Smith

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

“I don’t know how you do it!” These are the words I often hear when someone learns of my community service involvement, knowing my role as a wife, mother, daughter assisting my elderly parents and my career as a financial advisor.

In 2015, while pregnant with my first child, I stepped down from all of my board leadership positions and worked from home while on bed rest for four months. After spending valuable time being a new mother, I was determined to find ways to balance my community service with mom life and my career.

I am at my best when I donate time to serve the needs of others. I have learned that staying engaged in the community is something that fuels me in all the other areas of my life. There are so many ways to help our community, and there are so many needs! So developing a plan that works for you, based on your busy schedule, is key.

  1. Learn if your employer partners with local nonprofits and sign up for those corporate volunteer opportunities. United Way of Central Oklahoma is one organization that brings volunteerism to the workplace. Talk with your employer about offering employees onsite volunteer days, or maybe your team can spend a day at a food bank or food pantry. When available, I take advantage of company volunteer days through my employer.
  2. Find nonprofits that serve a need, or portion of the population that you are passionate about helping. When I love the work being done, it doesn’t feel like such a sacrifice of time away from my family and career.
  3. Identify ways your skill set and expertise can benefit a nonprofit. As a board member, sometimes I can volunteer my time helping review financials and making sure the organization has efficient reports.
  4. Set short time blocks that work for your schedule, when your perspective is fresh. Currently, I serve five boards and multiple committees. Some groups meet monthly and some quarterly, or other frequencies. Most of my work is done in between meetings. I typically spend 15 to 30 minutes each morning, before the kids wake up, on tasks that benefit the community. You may consider composing emails when your schedule allows and set an alert to send them at an appropriate time.
  5. Look for ways to involve your family. My seven-year-old can come ring the bell with me to benefit Salvation Army’s mission. All three daughters, ages 3-7, can help me sort and organize items for community events. Some events that they may even attend. Pouring into my children is at the top of my priorities. During play time, my five year old grabs her backpack and her purse and tells her doll that “Mommy is off to do community service because lots of people need our help!”

I have realized my impact is not simply to benefit the underserved population, it reaches the hearts of everyone in my home and family. Even work clients and associates notice the time I invest in the community and the value in doing so. They see that I prioritize and care for loved ones, and that I still choose to balance community service with mom life and career; it’s just that important! I don’t always get it right, but every attempt to help others is worth it. What you may consider small efforts will probably go beyond what you can imagine!

 

Tania Smith enjoys helping individuals, families and businesses clarify their financial needs, developing and executing a plan best for them. She is passionate about helping people better understand their options with regards to retirement accounts and tax-advantaged income and investments, helping them meet their goals while living the life they enjoy.

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