When Volunteer Work is a Part of Your Business

It’s hard balancing advocacy work and running a business. Throw in motherhood, nurturing your marriage, participating in farm life and self care then it all starts to seem impossible. As I put energy into one I am inevitably taking time from the others. Or so it feels. It can feel like a constant guilt thickening around me that something is always being neglected if I don’t stay on top of it.

I’ve learned to release mom guilt realizing #babydukebrown has the privilege of being on the farm surrounded by people who love her even in my absence. Besides, she gets to join me helping mamas and babies often!

Les and I have gotten pretty attuned to each other knowing when alone time needs to become top priority and recognizing how long we can be physically distant before that becomes emotional distance.

I’m getting better at self care everyday and finding ways I can care for myself while my work is caring for other people.

This year I managed to give farm life the attention it demands in the summer months by decreasing my on call jobs and focusing on birth work with less demand.

So in most areas I’m making strides in the right direction.

However, Lately as my advocacy opportunities and business opportunities have both risen simultaneously I’ve been faced with hard decisions. How will I have time for Volunteer work while meeting the demands of running a growing business? There is one point I keep coming back to…
My birth work and advocacy work are intertwined and to pretend they are mutually exclusive doesn’t do the big picture any justice. In fact two of the core competencies of a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator center upon advocacy.

Without my Doula Clients, Lamaze Students, Placenta Encapsulation Clients and Network members I wouldn’t have the means to advocate on the level I wish. When you pay me a Lamaze payment; I put gas in my car to get to the State Capital. When you choose me to process your placenta you pay for supplies for the next volunteer meeting. When you allow me the honor of being your birth doula you provide me the financial freedom to look at advocacy on a national level with events like “Lamaze Advocacy Summits” in Washington D.C.

More so without my advocacy work there wouldn’t be a My Sunshine Birth Services. It was only through hearing your stories and understanding the need for increased maternity care options, education and support that My Sunshine was even born.

So when I’m struggling to balance it all I am hopeful I can always remember that advocacy is at the heart of what I do.

If I ever start to lean away from advocating for legislative change as my birth services business continues to grows I will look back at this image I made in the very beginning of it all to be reminded why I ever started down this path in the first place.

To all my clients: Thank you for your support!

Journal, AdvocacyMary Duke