Becoming a parent often means rearranging priorities, but it does not mean having to completely lose your sense of self. You may not be able to enjoy all the activities you did before you had kids but it is important to preserve one or two things that give you a creative outlet and boost your own self-esteem. Volunteering is a wonderful way to get involved in your community, use your talents and meet others. However, parents who are the primary caretaker of a young child may have difficulty finding volunteer opportunities. Fortunately, there are ways to bring children along to volunteer activities and set a great example. Outdoor clean-ups or plant-ins give kids fresh air while you beautify the community. Some opportunities can be done from home. Invite over friends and stuff baskets for a food pantry—your toddler can even pitch in. Team up with other volunteers so you can take turns doing the heavy lifting and keeping an eye on the kids. Try to find kid-friendly activities that parallel your work. If you are preparing care packages for deployed soldiers, ask kids to decorate the inside of the box with crayons and stickers. With a little creativity, you can still volunteer and even encourage your kids to do the same.
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