Saturday, November 16, 2013

a working mama

There is so much to be said about being a working mother! I deeply respect those mothers who work with little ones at home. Granted, we all do it for different reasons and I respect some reasons more than others, but in most cases it is a sacrifice they make in order to provide a better life for their family. It is literally painful to leave that precious little one at home. And single working mothers?! I have more respect for you than I could ever say. I can not imagine how hard that is day in and day out. Bless you for your never-ending sacrifices!

I grew up with the joy of having my dear mother in the home, there to care for us and always just be there. I always knew this was a priority of mine. I knew that circumstances would have to be pretty grim for me to leave my children and work full-time. I would much rather go without many things and be home with my children than work just to be able to afford a second car or cable or other things we don't need. I went into nursing knowing it would give me flexibility and the ability to raise my children while still working a little bit if I so desired.

While I greatly respect working mothers, I also think it takes great courage to be a stay-at-home mother. It is not the easy way out. It is a difficult, never-ending job. Sometimes leaving for work would be a much easier option and a nice break compared to staying at home. We have to be confident in our worth as stay-at-home moms when many of the women and mothers in the world are out working full-time and pursuing their careers. We must remember our worth and be sure of ourselves and our decisions to stay home. I truly believe the most important role we could ever have as women is that of a mother.

Elder Christofferson said in the most recent General Conference address, "The Moral Force of Women,"

"A woman’s moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home.

In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship. By the power of her example and teaching, her sons learn to respect womanhood and to incorporate discipline and high moral standards in their own lives. Her daughters learn to cultivate their own virtue and to stand up for what is right, again and again, however unpopular. A mother’s love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly without excuses, to be serious about education and personal development, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all around them.

What I mean to say is that whether you are single or married, whether you have borne children or not, whether you are old, young, or in between, your moral authority is vital, and perhaps we have begun to take it and you for granted. Certainly there are trends and forces at work that would weaken and even eliminate your influence, to the great detriment of individuals, families, and society at large.

A pernicious philosophy that undermines women’s moral influence is the devaluation of marriage and of motherhood and homemaking as a career. Some view homemaking with outright contempt, arguing it demeans women and that the relentless demands of raising children are a form of exploitation.8 They ridicule what they call “the mommy track” as a career. This is not fair or right. We do not diminish the value of what women or men achieve in any worthy endeavor or career—we all benefit from those achievements—but we still recognize there is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage. There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family. Whatever else a woman may accomplish, her moral influence is no more optimally employed than here...

And do not be afraid to apply that influence without fear or apology. “Be ready always to give an answer to every [man, woman, and child] that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.”12 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”13 “Bring up your children in light and truth.”14“Teach [them] to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.”15

Read, watch, or listen to full talk here.

Anyways, back to the subject... I recently got a job as a prn (per diem/as needed, which means I only have to work once every two weeks, but can work pretty much as often as I'd like) nurse at the Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital on the surgical floor (pretty much Med-Surg/lots of post-ops). I had orientation all day for a week and a half and as I was talking to my mom one day and was trying to figure out would be best to do with Jude, she immediately offered to come out and help. I resisted at first as they already do so much for us, but I quickly accepted and am so, so grateful she came! What would have been a highly stressful week and a half that would have been a strain on all of us and especially hard on Jude was a pleasant, enjoyable, fun-filled, and even relaxing week and a half! She took care of all our meals, did lots of laundry (no small feat with an apartment laundromat across the way &a little one in tow), took out the trash many times, cleaned, cooked, took us out to dinner, grocery-shopped, fixed Jude's blackout shade, helped me get started on a few projects and even bought all the supplies, taught me how to crochet, kept us on our toes with a few wild games of Clue, enjoyed a few episodes of Dick Van Dyke and Andy Griffith with us, and cared for Jude like the little Lord Fauntlaroy that he is!

My dear friend Maddie watched him the first day and I am so forever grateful to her for her kindness and for going above and beyond to take care of Jude. In the good hands of Maddie and Mimi, he ate great meals, took good long naps, and continued in his happy, carefree ways!

It was so difficult leaving Jude but bearable knowing he was home and happy as can be playing blocks with Mimi and running her toothbrush charger all around the house. Her and Jude visited me at lunch some days and that just took me to the moon and back! One day we Facetimed during my lunch break. I would call Jude every day at lunch and that helped, too. He would sleep for 2-4 hours (good sleeper!) after lunch and then pick me up soon after so I really was only missing a few hours with him.

Granted, I had a lot less stress and responsibility since my mom was here and she took care of everything, but I noticed myself so much happier about life when I was home. I would run to Jude every day after work like a wife to her returning soldier and hug him and kiss him until the sun went down. I would catch myself just grinning at him like a fool as he played and went about his business. I enjoyed the little moments with him more. I savored my time with him whether we were laughing under the comforter for a few precious minutes in the morning before I left or if we were sight-seeing at the grocery store right after work.

My time has been more precious. I just want to spend it with my loves. I realize how very blessed I am. There are plenty of things to stress about and a long to-do list, but I couldn't care less about any of those things after a week and a half of working full-time and missing my family so much. I have remembered what really matters. I remember how blessed I am and how precious every moment I have with them is. I remember that reading books and playing Mr Potato head with Jude is infinitely more important than making sure the floor is swept and swiffed.

I met some adorable friends at orientation and am excited about my new job. It is a huge blessing and a perfect solution for us. I think I will enjoy getting out and using my skills and learning, yet it is infrequent enough that I won't miss Jude too terribly and I can still dedicate myself in full to being a mother and wife. I am grateful to be done with the seven-hour days of sitting on my tush watching PowerPoints, listening to speakers, and endless Meditech training and happy to be home for a few days, but we sure do miss Mimi already!