Do You Volunteer or Do You ‘Volunteer’? – Part 2

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Have you got what it takes to volunteer? Well the simple answer is Yes! Then the bigger question is why don’t more of us do it? More often than not you hear the same reasons:

– Busy Lifestyle
– I have kids
– I don’t have time
– What’s in it for me?

Worst of all is the people who go around bagging the volunteers or the organisation they ‘expected so much from’. It seems to me that expectations are pretty high, especially from those that don’t actually volunteer themselves. Understandably people have different expectations and ideas of what they want, but does it really give them the right to put down something or someone else because of their own experience when they don’t volunteer themselves?

To those people, I would ask of them, why didn’t you start something yourself? Why trash on someone who is doing their best to help you, with no pay, minimal recognition and only to cop a spray for having a go? But I digress…..

So, I hear some of you scoff, but think about it, how many volunteers will you come across or depend upon throughout your lifetime? Meals on wheels, marriage counsellors, doctors, nurses, life savers, AMBA club members, The Men’s Shed, The Red Cross, Rotary, Loins, CWA and too many more to mention here.

Now take them all away……paints a pretty bleak picture doesn’t it?

So what REALLY stops people from volunteering? Like anything else, it’s usually the unknown. People think it will consume hours of their day, a tonne of paperwork, more stress and leaves little time to do things they want to do.

It’s quite ironic that volunteering is quiet the opposite, and usually fills a void in our lives from a genuine desire to want to give back. The hours per day is actually maybe 10-15 mins once or twice a week in average. For the more infrequent roles it might be a two hour block once every few months.

More than anything, anyone that has volunteered will tell you it wasn’t anywhere near as scary as they first thought. It actually relieves stress by being surrounded by like minded people, as well as ,nourishes the sense of community that everyone yearns for from yesteryear.
Most organisations are more than willing to explain a role, let you try it out and let you basically ‘suck it and see’. Hey, it’s not like you’re career depends on it and the old adage of the more you give the more you get really does ring true.

So I guess a few of you are wondering why I became a volunteer, and it’s a fair question since I’m sitting here sporting off about it.

For me it was simple, becoming a first time Dad to twin boys at the age of 43 wasn’t exactly going to be the easiest thing in the world. Sure, I’ve changed nappies and babysat nieces and nephews, but to have two children depending on us for everything 24/7 was a whole new level of OMG.
I really wanted to be a Dad…well not any Dad but a great Dad! So the best way for me to become a great Dad to my boys, was to learn from the parents who had gone before me. Where else were we going to get better tips, hints, tricks, ideas and knowledge than around other Multiple Parents? So,off we went to our first ever EPIN (Expectant Parents Information Night), and the deal was done. A wealth of information at our finger tips, sound advice, a guiding hand and great people to boot.

The things we learnt over the following months before our boys arrived set us up for an awesome parenting experience. We were a lot calmer than I expected because we knew what to expect, could chat to new friends both in real life and online, at the weirdest hours, for reassurance, ideas or even to just pass the time on those times we just couldn’t sleep or were feeding the boys at 3am. Which of your other friends would randomly do that for you 24/7/365?

This was the ‘spark’ so to speak, for me personally. I wanted to give back in kind, yet knew there was very little I could offer to those who had gone before us. So,…. I thought to myself, why not try to help those parents who are yet to go through the experience of having multiples, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now when someone asks if I have got what it takes to volunteer, I know the answer will always be a resounding yes that is filled with excitement, enthusiasm and a genuine willingness to help.

So what is stopping you now from being a volunteer? Well the answer is nothing, unless you have very unique circumstances. This applies even more so to more and more Dads who want to get involved but tend to think it’s just for the ladies,……guys, think again! Dads are a lot more willing these days to help out, be it setting up a marquee in the park, cooking the BBQ at a fundraiser or just adding a little muscle power to the clean up. Tech head Dads are helping the way clubs and organisations run websites, social media, joining committees to help improve the clubs for their kids sake.

After all, we’re not just doing it for ourselves, and our biggest motivators are our kids. To leave a legacy they will hopefully incorporate into their lives at some point. We are the role models of tomorrow’s leaders, doctors, teachers, police officers, Nurses, Ambulance staff, Community Leaders and sporting stars. What better way to promote being part of a team for the love of something rather than just the money to make ends meet?

So I put it out there to ALL of you, both Mums and Dads alike, what have you got to lose? My response would be, ‘More than you’ll ever know’!

So check it out, you have spots of time in your week that can become rewarding instead of draining. You can met new friends who, as one Multiple Mum put it, you can have a hundred unfinished conversations with in real life and online…..and it’s NORMAL!

I believe you can, and If I can believe it, then you can believe it too…..you do have what it takes to be a volunteer.

Do You Volunteer or Do You ‘Volunteer’? – Part 1

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With the AGM for our local Multiple Birth Club coming up, I thought I’d take a ‘practical look’ at what it means to be a volunteer. So when I say volunteer, it reminded me of some of my experiences, and when I say volunteer, it got me to thinking, what do YOU volunteer?

There is a common misconception that when you volunteer, you only have to volunteer your ideas…right? Errrrr…not quite. This is only half of the equation, the other half is DOING it.

From an hour a week to several hours a month, you can achieve many great things in your community. Nike I hear you loud and clear…JUST DO IT!

Over time I’ve been left dumbfounded by some of the stories I have heard from volunteers of many different organisations over the last three years. Here let me show you….

Parent rings a volunteer: Hi, I would like to ask when your <insert activity here> is next going to be held?

Volunteer: Every Friday at 10am – 1pm, just bring a plate of food to share.

Parent: OH, I have something else on then, can you hold it on Thursdays at 2pm?

Volunteer: I’m sorry, but this is the only time we can volunteer our time for the <activity>

Parent: Well that’s terrible that you don’t provide a more flexible service for us parents
Hangs up….

Can anyone tell me what’s wrong here? Not quite sure? Only see one problem?
Here, let me give you two simple ways that can describe this scene.

1] Telling someone about a situation, without proposing a solution, is only considered to be whining.

2] A picture is worth a thousand words….

image

I personally love this picture. It truly says it all when it comes to those who are loud on noise, but short on action. So lets look a little bit closer at a volunteer of any committee member on your local Multiple Birth Association.

Description: A parent (male or female), who freely gives up, what precious little time they have, to help other parents who have just entered the Multiverse.
There is no pay…yes we do it for free!
It’s done out of the desire to help others and in memory of those who have previously helped us.
They sacrifice time with their partner, fiancée, husband, wife and / or kids to provide an invaluable service to you.

Presidents, VPs, Secretary, Treasurer, Expectant Parent Nights, Hospital Liaisons, Equipment hire, School Age Multiple Service, Librarian, Meals Programs, Dads Contact, Breastfeeding Contact, Bottle Feeding Contact, Playgroup Coordinator, BBQ Fundraisers, Bake Sales, Raffles, Annual Events, Special Events, Phone Contact, Social Media Coordinator…the list goes on.

So why do it I hear you ask? Well the question should be why can’t you do it?

Right, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of it all…

The ‘Whys’…
Why do we do it? If we don’t do it, who will?
Why doesn’t the government, not likely…..come on seriously?
Would you pay for the privilege of a service? Not likely if you’re really honest….

The serious question of why we do anything always stems from the fact that
A] It’s on our radar
B] Because volunteering to do something close to your heart and is fulfilling
C] It’s better than watching Frozen for the 4756463 time…this week
D] You find people in the same circumstances as yourself that ‘get it’
E] This is your only chance to socialise
F] It connects us all
G] Our friends don’t call us anymore
H] We love it
I] You’ll love it
J] You make new friends
H] You still can’t be bothered folding the eight baskets of laundry on the couch
I] It gives you a sense of community
J] What’s that? No screaming kids for an hour or so?
K] The free HOT coffee provided at all meetings
L] After an hour or two you just want to go home and hug out of your little oxygen thieves
M] You can go to the bathroom by yourself….careful you don’t take this to extremes. Some people will actually send out a search party if you’re gone too long….
N] You find ‘playmates’ for your kids that are the same age
O] You can have a good vent/cry/chat with someone who feels your pain
P] Free Tips
Q] You won’t hear the word Mummy or Daddy for a few hours, yes…it is possible.
R] Did I mention HOT coffee?
S] Looks great on your CV
T] Karma will love you
U] Paying it forward and backwards at the same time….beat that…HA!
V] It makes you a better parent
W] It is an official super power….ask what your mates is
X] You won’t have to sing ‘Let it go’ for the rest of the day
Y] you have a legitimate excuse to not have to wash up tonight
Z] Lastly….because parents like you need parents like us….we were once where you are now…

Twenty-four reasons in less than 4 minutes…need I say more? Apparently so…

The ‘Who’
You are the Who…well not the who but the who, got it? Let me explain
You are the who, that is the glue that allows them to become the who’s who like us. Got it? No? Sheesh…ok…try this…..

Without ‘us’ where would you be?
Who would you ask for help?
Who would understand?
Who can beat something we all call experience?

You are the WHO….got it? Good!

Tomorrow…part 2
Have you got what it takes to volunteer?

MBAW – My Team

To finish up multiple birth awareness week, I had the privilege of being interviewed by fellow blogger and the magnificent Mum of triplets Gayle Huyton. 

Interview link:

http://tripletsinparadise.com/blog/who-is-part-of-your-team/

Although we don’t always get the chance to meet regularly face to face, I still consider parents like Gayle as part of my TEAM. Contact of any kind that leads to discussion, support, a sounding board, understanding and sometimes even a good kick in the bum is what makes us all get on with being parents. 

So I want to thank my TEAM right here, without whom I would be half the Dad I am today…

Tina – my better half and awesome Mum

Nicole, Bree and Tania – sounding boards, reality checkers and great friends. 

The Melbourne Crew – To many to list but have shown me friendship, insight and what being a Multiple Parent is all about. Sam would be proud! 🙂

Dale – Mr Dad himself. There a stellar things ahead my friend. 

To everyone else I chat, talk, see…thank you for being part of my TEAM 🙂

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog…have a look!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Media Release: Essential Baby

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With Multiple Birth Awareness Week drawing to a close, I was privileged enough to be interviewed by Gabe McGrath  who freelances for Essential Baby and Essential Kids.  This interview focused on the Dads of Multiples and The Multiple Dad Sanctuary I run on Facebook.

You can view the article here:

http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/life-style/being-dad/the-place-just-for-dads-of-multiples-20150312-141ubn.html

http://www.clippings.me/users/gabemcgrath