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Natalie Thomas

Natalie Thomas

By Natalie Thomas

Natalie Thomas

It’s Monday morning. My 4-year-old son jumps on me and immediately begins demanding breakfast. He has the biggest bowl of porridge you can imagine every night an hour before bed and yet twelve hours later it’s as if he hasn’t eaten for days. I stretch, push him off the bed telling him he is never allowed food again, while getting up and heading for the kitchen to make him breakfast.

Ten minutes later, we’re up and I have a much-needed cup of tea and he has all important food and it is time to check in with Baby Bank Network on Facebook and Twitter. This is my volunteer job on a Monday, and it makes my week.

Sometimes there are loads of messages and sometimes it’s quiet. Either way my day continues alongside. Doctors appointments, play-dates, school settles, paid work, cooking dinner, cleaning…it’s a busy life and I am tired, a lot.

I always thought about volunteering for something, but I was worried that it would cost me too much time and energy when I already felt exhausted and under pressure. Then I found a way to help out a charity I cared about with the skillset I already had.

It has turned around the way I think about time and energy. It actually doesn’t cost me as much time as I thought it would, even on the busiest of Mondays, and being a part of something that does so much good gives me an energy that lifts me into the week with a bounce in my step.

I probably put in no more than two hours, even on a day when there is lots of activity. One of the reasons I put off volunteering for so long, was that I felt like what I was able to give wouldn’t be enough and wouldn’t make a difference. But two hours a week is 104 hours a year. In 100 hours you can learn to speak another language. You can fly to the moon and back five times. You could, if you have the mental acuity, solve 24,500 Rubik’s cubes.

The average Briton now spends 24 hours a week in front of the television. I guess the work I do for Baby Bank Network leaves me with only 22 for that most comforting of pursuits. I think I can live with being a little bit less than average.

If you’d like to volunteer for Baby Bank Network, please email volunteers@babybanknetwork.com