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A Value of Service

Published on 11/2/2023

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The Nurtured Mommy

By: Denise E. Bailey   |   November 2, 2023

This is my absolute favorite time of year. The weather, the decorations, the gatherings, and the flood of magical childhood memories that come to mind. It gets insanely busy in our house starting in late August with all five of our birthdays before Thanksgiving. I think I secretly manifested to have all our babies in the fall. One positive from 2020 was the gift of slowing down and learning how to decide what matters most. 

I attended sixteen years of Catholic school; yep, that is first grade through college. My parents worked so hard to give my two older brothers and myself the education they always wanted, and, although we didn’t choose to send our daughters to Catholic school, there are a few traditions that I pass on. One that is essential to me is a focus of service. I learned from a very young age to be grateful for the life I was given, the parents I had, the home I lived in, and the food I ate. Often this was tied back to prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving (which turns out not to be such a bad focus to start at a young age while dozing off to sleep). As a child, it was just part of the curriculum. Whether we served the community at the annual Crab Feed, sang Christmas carols to the assisted living community, or made cards for classmates with sick family members, we were always taught about the power of service. My favorite thing as a child was when we would sponsor a local non-profit during a month that had a similar theme to the charity’s mission.

Over the last few years I have been looking for local organizations to become involved in that truly match our family values. We have six core values in our home that we hope to not only teach our girls but show them. They are gratitude, kindness, service, humility, curiosity, and grit. This season we are focusing on service and gratitude. 

In the past I have organized our twin daughters’ preschool class to purchase and wrap gifts for over nine children as angel donors for the Marin Foster Care Association. I am serving on the Executive Leadership Council for the Raphael House in San Francisco where I help to organize Awareness Events to spread the good news of all they are doing to help low-income families and families experiencing homelessness. I also give to their Adopt-A-Family program. 

I believe that during the holidays it is okay for my girls to get less in order for us to give more. We have a three present maximum for each girl under the tree, and so far it has helped tremendously with their ability to stay present and be grateful. It has also made Christmas morning so much less hectic. 

Now I see my children serving too. Recently, our oldest daughter has signed up for an after school program led by Children for Change that empowers youth to become global change-makers with knowledge, confidence, and empathy to make a positive impact in their community and the world. At the end of the Fall Semester we will engage as a family in a couple of service projects led by the C4C team. 

There is no wrong way to get involved and give back. There are so many possibilities out there and so many needs to be fulfilled. In some small way, I do feel like writing for the SMMC Crier gives back to my Marin community of mamas. SMMC helped me navigate the early years of my journey as a mother. I will forever be grateful. I thought I was going to walk away from my column to focus more on our company; however, writing feeds my soul. So you are stuck with my vulnerable oversharing for a little longer. Do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions/comments about the organizations I listed above. I have amazing contacts at all of them that would love to hear from you. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am so grateful for all of you!

Denise is a coffee lover, over-sharer, and truth seeker who is dedicated to vulnerably discussing the not so pretty parts of this amazing role. She is inspired by her three daughters to help women manage their expectations, let go of perfectionism, and lean into their enoughness. Denise is working on becoming a published author while simultaneously trying to figure out how to truly nurture herself in the midst of motherhood and beyond.
Read more on her Instagram @thenurturedmommy
More from this issue:

A Value of Service HERE >> 

Firewise Communities: The Power of Working Together HERE >> 

Gratitude for Our Bodies HERE >> 
SMMCpreneur: Are Travel Agents Still a Thing? HERE >> 

Sports Dentistry HERE >> 

Thanksgiving Care Packages for 75 Families in Need HERE >> 

The Power of Giving HERE >> 

Things No One Told Me HERE >>