Friday, January 23, 2009

Working mom epiphany...

I was sitting on my stoop this week (freezing) contemplating my "working mom dilemma"...since the day I took Luke to daycare four years ago, I have always felt unbelievable moments of overwhelming guilt...multiply that by 3 and you get lots and lots of very weird guilty moments. I get through doesn't last long and I can completely justify being a working mom on so many works for me and it works for our family...nobody else makes me feel guilty about's all me. But when it weighs heavy, it weighs very's funny how as a working mom, I glamorize the stay at home mom's life...sleeping in, hanging out in pj's all day, playing games with the kids who are always so polite and delightful...but I know it's not really like that. I know many stay at home mom's that question themselves...they wonder if they are happy and wonder if they are really contributing to the family (because it's hard to see that sometimes in the day-to-day), I'm really not's difficult no matter what. But on this particular day, I was feeling...for lack of better words...totally defeated....feeling like a bad person for actually enjoying work after 4 days cooped up in the house with everyone. Asking myself...Am I doing the right thing for my kids? Will they hate me for working? How can I do the right thing and what is the right thing? Obviously, the only thing for me to do here is to pray for some clarity...because I am so tired of feeling these feelings and just don't do well with unanswered questions. As I was lost in my thoughts...I actually heard these words...(some of you might not believe it's God...but I totally think it was because it was clear as day) "It does not say anywhere in the Bible that woman should not work." I was dumbstruck for a moment and then the craziest memory came to my mind. When I was a senior in high school...I was sitting in the bleachers on "Senior Award Day" with my best friend, Allison. We were talking about the crazy antics that would go on at our senior beach trip in Myrtle Beach a few days away. In the distance, I heard something was my name! My name was being called for an award...totally shocked...I met the eye of my home economics teacher standing at the podium..she was beaming...I went down red-faced to receive the unknown award...turns out it was the "Virtuous Woman" award. (I went to a Christian School so this is totally appropriate). The award was based on the woman described in Proverbs 31...which is a description of a woman of great virtue(obviously). Now mind you, I was 18 years old...I re-read this passage later to try and figure out why I even got this award and I clearly could not relate...this woman had kids and a husband, not to mention, she just seemed so OLD! It did not apply to me in any way whatsoever....I was young and FREE! However, I have thought about this award and the passage many times through my 20's and 30's...never feeling like I lived up to "her" or even that I ever possibly could. I am actually pretty sure I used the $50 bond that came with the award to pay an electricity bill after college...I mean, you gotta do what you gotta do (kicking myself now for not re-investing it...not so "virtuous woman"). Anyway, after God pointed out this truth to me on my front stoop and this memory appeared so clearly in my mind, I once again re-read the dreaded Proverbs 31 perfectly wonderful Virtuous Woman that I totally believed would never apply to me, but as it turns out, I am her in a lot of ways...very interesting. It suddenly not only applied to me but to every woman out there that I it. She was quite the woman! Obviously, there are some things I need to work on...but this is what it says about her (taken from the Message Bible) "She's up before the dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day..." (this is totally me), "She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden." (sounds like she was in real estate and horticulture, I am not, but clearly, she worked). "First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day" (totally me...except for the 'is in no hurry to call it quits' part), "She doesn't worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear." (just proved this last week...I didn't "mend" any clothes but I did buy Luke a new warm jacket for the snow day, still applies), "She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops." (she's in fashion...again, not me, but I can shop with the best of them...also, more proof here that she worked), "Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise." (my children and husband bless me beyond measure). Some things to work on here..."When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly" (the part about "always says it kindly" here gets me tripped up), "She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking." (I would definitely not say I was "skilled" in the craft of homemaking, which would explain my total surprise when I got this coveted award, but I am always working on it). So there you have totally applies to me! Hooray. In all of this, I realize, yet again, why I am a Christian. I receive a very perplexing award 22 years ago that comes to mind in a moment when I feel broken...that is what He does...He makes our burden light in our time of need so we can focus on what's actually important and reminds us that He really is in control. What a gift...Proverbs it.

1 comment:

  1. You know - I have these exact same internal dilemmas about working and totally glamorize staying at home. It would never work for me - I am reminded of that on days like today when AJ is sick and I am home with her and I get NOTHING done. Sometimes I think I would be able to do it - but my life is much better organized with me working. That doesn't help me though when I feel like I am missing their lives. I think that's something working moms deal with a lot...I guess STAH moms probably feel the opposite at times.

    Take care!!