I’ve had a lot of thoughts on my work bouncing around my head lately. My work as a mother. What I do day in and day out.
We recently went to my Husbands work Christmas party, and I was so worried about what the co-workers wives would think of me. They all have impressive careers and perfect children to boot.
I kept practicing in my head the response to the question “What do you do?” with an elaborate impressive dialog of my children and duties of a mother. But when instead posed with the question “So are you still on maternity leave?” I was stopped in my tracks. I stammered out some details about dropping out of nursing school and working part time jobs before our oldest was born and being a stay at home mom ever since. The nudge and comment to my husband from her’s, “Its all on you hey?” left me feeling small and unsuccessful.
My grade 8 junior high teacher, who was very much stuck in the 70’s, once told us about how her mom was one of the first mothers in her community to work outside of her home. Her mother was put down and gossiped as being someone who didn’t care about her responsibilities in the home. The feminist inside me felt angry at those who criticized this woman for seeking to do something she was passionate about. It seems that these days the tables have turned; it is now uncommon or unpopular for a woman to choose to stay at home or put children before an education. The feminist inside me is just as angry. I’m not saying its wrong to pursue things outside of the home. Education was the top priority on my list, until God told me to re-order things in my life.
In the October 2011 General Conference, Neil L. Anderson said something that has always stuck with me;
Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. My daughters recently referred me to a blog written by a Christian mother (not of our faith) with five children. She commented: “[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.” She then adds: “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”7
Joy in my work
This afternoon I laid my toddler down for her nap and rushed to mop the sticky kitchen floor scattered with random cheerios and peanut butter smears. I only got part way through when cries from my baby interrupted my work. I picked him up and snuggled him close. He looked up at me with his big brown eyes and grinned. We rocked in the chair as he gripped my finger tight. His eyes quickly got heavy and he drifted back to sleep. I stayed there for a while, soaking it all in. I said a little prayer thanking my Heavenly Father for moments like this, for sending these spirits into my home. For making it possible for me to be there all the time. For blessing my Husband with work so our needs can be met. We may not have what a two-income household can afford, but we have much more.
There is no set right or wrong way to be a mother. Everyone has varying circumstances and goals. To wrap up all my thoughts, what I have concluded is that I should not be ashamed of my work. What I do is important, and I love it more than anything else I have ever done. I am a Mother.