Monday, May 5, 2014

Thoughts from a working mom

It's a thought that crosses my mind every Sunday night.
What if I didn't have to go to work on Monday morning?

What if I didn't have to pack lunches?
What if I didn't have to pick out school clothes?
What if I didn't have to battle traffic for the cross-town commute?
What if I didn't have to leave my son in the care of someone else?
What if I didn't have to say goodbye?
What if the only name I answered to all day was "Mom?"
What if I got to rock him to sleep for his afternoon nap?
What if I got to see that smile, hear that word, watch those steps?
What if?

I can't help but wonder how different life would be if I stayed home with Baker.
Not easier, not harder, just different.

I quickly snap out of the day dream (that just so happens to occur in the moments before I drift off to dreams) and make mental notes of the tasks to tend to first in the wee hours of Monday morning.

The thought comes back again and I allow it to linger a bit longer this time.
For some reason, I hear "You are My Sunshine" as I envision Baker and I playing a mid-day game of Candy Land in the living room floor, drinking lemonade at his picnic table on the porch, surprising Brian with a Frosty at work, skipping along the sidewalk, chasing butterflies and stopping to smell every flower along the way.

I know this is not the way mothers who stay at home spend their day.
I know.
I know, because I have spent summers at home.
I have spent days with Baker when he is sick.
Or on weekends, or holidays.

This euphoric image I have envisioned is a far cry from reality. Baker and I have never played Candy Land, lemonade has never wet his tongue, and Lord knows, we'd slurp every drop of a Frosty before it ever made the trek to my husband.

The mind is a dangerous thing - making one believe another way is always better. I've always heard comparison is the thief of joy. And it is.

The thing is, I love being a mother. But I also love my job.
I used to think I wasn't allowed to say that. That I love both.
That to be a good mother, all I could do was to be a mother.

There is much joy to be had in being a working mother.

Each member of our family benefits from my working.
When joy threatens to leave, I remind myself of these things.

One. I am contributing financially to our family budget.

Two. People outside of my home need me. I am making a difference in families other than my own. There is no feeling like feeling needed.

Three. I work hard and I am affirmed in my work. That feels good.

Four. Similarities bond. I am so grateful for friends who are walking this same path. They encourage, share tips (Crock Pot meals FOR THE WIN), pray with, and laugh alongside, and pick up when comparison or exhaustion or worry rears its ugly head and creeps back in.

Five. My husband and I are dependent on one another in all things. We share the load. We share the burden. We share the joy. In all things, we tag team. And at the end of the day, we moon walk out of Baker's room and high five at surviving another day.

Six. My son learns to trust others. He learns to depend on others. He learns how to socialize and interact with children and other adults. And then, he learns his mommy and daddy always come back.

Seven. Balance. It's not either/or. It's both. I can be both a good mother and work a full-time job.

Eight. Setting priorities, and forgetting the rest. Some nights we go to sleep with dishes in the sink, clean laundry impatiently waiting to be folded in the dryer, and smudges on the front door (now that I mention it, they are quite obvious in the picture below). That's okay. I have learned to prioritize and attend to the things that matter most. That sometimes means a forsaken to-do list, and always means time with my two favorite boys.

Nine. A boy and his backpack. That may be reason enough.

To the moms who work, to the moms who stay home, and to the moms who work from home, you do a good work. From me to you, be encouraged in all you do.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord, not for men."
Colossians 3:23


  1. Thank you for posting this. I struggle with this every day...the "loving both sides" dilemma. This is such a wonderful read. are all of your posts. I seriously hope you write forever. And for Heaven's sake...keep posting pictures of that sweet, happy little boy. He's awesome.

    1. God knew these were the exact words you needed on this exact day! I hope you and that precious Conner are doing well!

  2. Well said, Jennifer! Great points. I stumbled onto your blog via a Facebook link from a mutual friend. Then I saw your picture and realized I knew you from way back at Valley View! Hope you are enjoying your summer! Look forward to reading more of your blog posts.

    1. Thank you, Lesley! I appreciate your encouraging words!