One of the reasons I was so pleased to go part-time (36 hrs/week vs. 55 hrs/week) one and a half years ago is that life is short and there are so many fun things to do that do not require acquiring or spending money. Case in point, a day last week.
Between 8am and 2:30pm I was a bus chaperone for one of the marching band buses as they did their middle-school tour. Once the band members master the routine that they perform pre-game and at half-time for the football games, they tour three local middle schools and perform for the band students. It is good practice for the marching band and it is a recruitment tool for getting new members. I rode with 1/3 of the band members, many of them students I know from other extracurriculars, and help them into their jackets. (Note to whoever selected the new uniforms–putting the zipper in the back and covering it with a cape, so that the musicians can not get in and out by themselves is a bad design. You know, for next time.) I watched them perform their routine at each of the schools and I ate bad pizza provided by the Band Parents Association. Total fun.
I had enough time to run home and put out dinner that the boys warmed for themselves as I was off to the next volunteer opportunity. A dear friend presents a program twice a month at the local single-parent shelter, and sometimes I go with her and help. The topic this week was “Money, Money, Money” and I shared with the moms that came to the presentation some of the single-mom tricks that I have shared with you all. I talked about tracking expenses, setting a cap on expenses that can be a black hole (like your children’s birthdays or entertainment expenses,) and choosing how you spend your money before you spend it. So-no shame in taking the kids to ChuckECheese with the extra $40 you had this month, if that is what you really wanted to do. But, if you would rather Jr.,darling played soccer, set the money aside for that. These women make sacrifices to give their kids better than they got. Sometimes a new perspective on how to give to their children is really exciting. I could see the light bulbs going on. Sweet.
And my final volunteering opportunity of the day was for my own dear hospice. Every hospice in this country has volunteers, people who are not paid for the assistance that they provide to the dying and their families. The volunteers go through a fairly rigorous training program over several weeks. I routinely participate in the training of our volunteers. I enjoy meeting them and hearing their stories of how they came to work with people at end-of-life. They are awesome and inspiring individuals. It is a privilege to work with them.
I got home about 8pm, so a full twelve-hour day spent with three of my favorite groups of people: teenagers, single moms and end-of-life caregivers. So nice to not have to fill every minute with money-making.