A couple days ago I posted about how much volunteer work I do. In fact, most of what I do right now is volunteering, in both official and unofficial capacities.
It makes it a little hard sometimes to feel like I'm accomplishing much. Productivity is a major value in our culture, but for the most part productivity also tends to be viewed in terms of money. So the same assumption that housewives "don't work" tends to make those of us who freelance or volunteer (or both) feel like we don't accomplish enough.
When I really think about it, though, I am most proud of the things I do that I don't get paid for.
As a volunteer Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo, I encourage people to pursue their goals, contribute to a strong local writer community, and spread literacy like some kind of fiction-loving Tinkerbell. ("Trust me, what this stuff does is way better than flying.")
As a volunteer board member with the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys, I am helping to preserve past generations' playthings for future generations. Volunteering my time to write their event copy and design flyers means exploring and honing new skills for me as a writer. And as a volunteer doll event planner, I get to share the love and knowledge of these things with others, and often help to build a foundation for future collectors, too.
And that's just the official stuff. One of the things I feel best about, and on a daily basis, is the time I spend on Facebook helping people. The insulin pump support group is, of course, a tremendous help for people, but I like to think I'm doing good by helping people with their dolls, too. (Not to mention all the social media exposure helps me too by making a name for myself online.)
Despite how proud I am of these things, I still struggle sometimes with feeling like I don't get enough done. Thankfully I have a supportive husband to remind me of the value of what I do whenever I start feeling inadequate.
What are you proud of that doesn't earn money? Do you struggle to feel productive when you do things that don't actively earn (or save) you money?