After only three months of employment, I am once again- “just a mom.” It was not an easy decision to leave my job. Though, I was officially hired on as “seasonal” I had the option to stay on after Christmas. In fact, I was asked by one of my superiors, on two different occasions, about whether I was willing to consider moving up in the company. I quickly explained that I had no interest in moving into a management position. I definitely did have an interest in staying on at the store.
But, as it turned out, I just couldn’t.
I found that, as much as I enjoyed the job and as well as I felt I was balancing all my responsibilities, there just wasn’t enough of me to go around. There were too many days that Tim and I did not even see each other until 9:30 at night because he left for work before I got up in the morning and I left for my job before he got home in the evening. There were too many days when the children were left alone, in the care of my oldest daughter for up to an hour or more, between my departure and Tim’s arrival home from work.
I loved my job. I loved the feeling of being good at something and being out in the world. I loved going to work and feeling like I was accomplishing something and feeling like I was part of a team. I loved having something that felt worthwhile to do in the evenings and then I loved coming home to hug my family and tell them all about my time away. Work was fun and it was validating in so many ways and it was easy compared to what I do at home with the kids. The outside-of-the-house, for-pay job was a great reminder that I am good at something and I am capable of worldly success.
But, as great as it all was and as much as I agonized (and let me tell you-- I agonized and agonized for weeks) about the decision- I guess I knew in my heart that I was needed at home. I guess I knew all along that worldly success is not what matters most…….
What I do in my own home is what matters most though home does not provide me the same feelings as working outside the house did. I do not always feel confident with what I am doing at home with my kids. It is hard to feel capable of great things when my three year old is whining and my nine year old is nagging and my fourteen year old is giving me attitude. It is hard to feel successful when my eleven year old tries to manipulate my every decision and my seven year old completely misses half of what I say to him. It is hard to feel I’ve accomplished anything when the laundry is never ALL done and the sink always has dirty dishes in it and there is no conceivable way to keep up with the clutter of Legos and Polly Pockets and books and schoolwork and so on…….
It was a tough decision to resign my position at work and even after I made it, I felt torn. I continued to agonize and to try to figure out another option.
But then, two days after I gave my notice at work, it was the Feast of the Holy Family. The homily that day was all about how families are breaking down. The priest talked about how people just do not value family anymore and about the far reaching effects of our shifting priorities. As I listened to Father Ross’ words, I knew God was talking to me.
He was telling me I made the right decision for myself and, more importantly, for my family. He was, very clearly and very pointedly, giving me the validation I so desperately seek. He drove home the point by allowing my family to be the one to bring forth the gifts to begin the Liturgy of the Eucharist and then by sending the nicest little old man up to us after Mass to thank us for being such a beautiful family and to tell me I was obviously a great blessing to my children.
I am a mom. Motherhood is the gift and the vocation God has given me. And when I asked Him in prayer what to do-- He answered. He wants me to focus on being the best mom I can be—full time.
I understand, now more than ever, why working moms do what they do, balancing all those different roles. Working outside the home feels good. Making a little money is nice too. There are so many ways we can serve God out in the world and sometimes He calls mothers to do just that.
But, me? I am called to be just a mom. I found that out first hand over the last three months. So, though I am sad to leave my job after such a short time, I could never be sad to be with my children full time. It is not easy to be “just a mom” but it is a blessing and, for me-- it is what’s best.