Did you know that I work? Okay, we moms all work. We work our butts off, whether we are at home all day with kids or at an office. But what I mean is that I am employed by an organization that would probably never try to pay me with Cheerios. Just for kicks, here’s a picture of me not wearing jeans and a hoodie!
I am blessed. I have a part-time position as the administrative director of a nonprofit research institute. My boss is a volunteer; in fact, he works as a service missionary for the LDS Church as the director of our organization. He is very understanding about my life-juggling acts as a working mom, and especially as a working mom in our church. I only have to go to the office for ten hours a week, and I do fifteen more at home. This is really nice, because it means I can do a lot of my work early in the morning and late at night when the kids are in bed, leaving me free to be Mom during the day.
The nonprofit I work for is awesome! Some of you may have spent time in Rexburg, Idaho, so you know that opportunities are kind of limited there. We are doing something about it. We work with scientists, businesses, government agencies, and universities to bring more research opportunities and contacts to local college students. My organization is only about a year old, but I can already see what a difference we will make in developing Southeast Idaho’s intellectual community. I never expected to work for a cause. Now that I do, it’s amazing how good it feels to spend time doing something for the area I call home.
On the other hand, it is a challenge to be a working mom. A reeeeaaaaaalll challenge. It brings new meaning to the phrase “having it all.” Because you do. Not only do you have the feeling of accomplishment and the paycheck (along with the stress and mile-long to-do list), you also have the joy of having kids (along with noise, a messy house, and the occasional vomit). You have hugs and blissful story time, with soft tiny hands helping to turn the pages. You have fits and whiny time (and I don’t just mean at home–those happen with co-workers sometimes!). You have euphoria, discouragement, confidence, and tension being brought up within you from several different angles, and often all on the same day. And you still have to make a nutritious, delicious dinner each night.
The other day I was working on some content for our website: short biographies for the directors and board members of my organization. I was picking information from their resumes and I was absolutely blown away by what these people have accomplished. All but one of them are men. Now, I don’t believe that men have the way cleared for their professional lives all the time. Lots and lots of guys are very involved dads and help out a lot at home. But I DO think that in many cases, they don’t “have it all” to the extent that we do. It was a bit discouraging for a minute. I think I’m a fairly smart person. I could accomplish a lot. But I work to help provide for my family, and when it comes down to it, caring for that family just comes first. I may not ever be professionally very accomplished because I want to be a good mom before anything else, and it was a bit of a bummer to compare myself with these board members.
After thinking about it for a minute, I started to feel better. You know why? I work really hard, and I get a lot done. I might not ever hold a high position, but I’m doing what I need to do, and I think I have my priorities in order. Sometimes being a working mom is hard. But it makes me feel strong. And it makes me love my family more–both because of what I can do for them and because of the time I cherish with them.
Whether you must be a juggler like me, or whether you make sacrifices so you can gladly accept Cheerios for pay, GOOD FOR YOU! You are doing a good job.