Today our alarm woke our family up at 4 am in the morning. We hurried to get ready so that I could drop my two oldest daughters and their father off by 5:45 am at the airport. He is taking them to Florida for an entire week to visit his sister. My daughters were very excited because they have never been on a plane before. We decided that I would stay behind with the baby this time. What a sight to behold, my hubby trying to negotiate 2 suitcases, a stroller, a car seat, a Dora backpack filled with books and movies, a Tablet PC with a splitter and 2 headphones, a very active 6 year old, a precocious 2 year old and one very important stuffed Bulldog. He is indeed a brave man! His vacation has just begun...
...And so has mine!
After work today, I picked up the baby, made a frozen pizza and a large bowl of ice cream, and I'm sitting on my bed eating dinner, on my computer, with my baby sleeping on my lap. My house is messy and there are dishes and laundry to do, that are definitely not going to get done tonight, and probably not tomorrow either. The house is ... completely quiet ... I am completely alone with my lovely sleeping baby. Does this sound awesome, or what?!? This type of solitude is very rare (actually, non-existent) in this house. As I sit here enjoying the tranquility I feel compelled to write this blog post. I will try to explain.
I have been feeling negative about having to work for quite a while now, and I realize that my attitude is reflected in some of my blog posts. The truth of the matter is that it is difficult to have to put your kids in daycare and not be able to be there to spend time with them during the day. I sometimes feel terrible guilt over it. Also, I really love to read other Catholic mothers' blogs. Sometimes it is the only way I can really connect "mom-to-mom" and share the "Faith" side of my life... which is so important to me. I do have my husband, but he is a man, and sometimes well, it is just nice to have a girlfriend. We have a very secular network of friends and I really turn to the blogosphere to get in touch with other practicing Catholics. I often feel like such an outsider. I don't fit in the "regular" world. I don't have many friends, except for two kind women that I have met along the way and they have kept me around. I haven't told either of these two close friends about my blog, can you imagine that? I haven't told my family about it either (except my sister). I just feel more comfortable being anonymous at this stage. I know a lot of my new attitudes and behaviours will or do seem "radical" and out of place amongst my peer group and family members, many of whom do not fully embrace Church teaching. I try to quietly witness and set a good example, and not preach or judge. I definitely don't want to lose the only 2 female friendships I have in my life, or the connection I have with my family.
But I don't quite fit into the typical "good Holy Catholic Mother" world either. We stopped going to our TLM after much discerning, not because it isn't the best and most beautiful celebration of the Holy Mass that we have ever encountered, but in large part because I was the only non homeschooling mom there in a very tight knit community. We also had an unusually small family due to finally "getting with it" at such a late stage in our marriage. We stuck out. Now nobody probably even cares, no one is singling us out and saying, "Oh my gosh, you only have 3 kids" and "What a horrible parent... you send your kids to public school." But the pressure is driven from within my own heart. I am probably my own worst enemy. Anyway, I felt, and at times feel, inadequate and "less than". It is difficult to explain the dichotomy, other than "caught between two worlds". I admire homeschooling moms so much and am so drawn to want to know your world better and be your friend. To be more like you.
But back to the subject of this post...
Although I struggle at times, there are many positives I can come up with. God has led me where I am at this point in my journey, and I want to thank Him and conclude this post by reflecting on the blessings I have received as a working mom.
Here is my list:
1. 100% because of circumstances at my workplace, I have come back to the Catholic Church. This is my largest blessing.
2. Working is required for our family to make ends meet - (and it is a struggle even with me working!) I don't think our marriage could handle the stress or fighting that would ensue if we didn't have 2 incomes - we just couldn't swing it even with eliminating/cutting back every non-essential.
3. We don't have an extravagant home by any means, but we live in a very safe community. This was not always the case for us and we are thankful.
4. We can afford extra-curricular activities for the children that we would not be able to participate in if I did not work - swimming lessons and soccer.
5. I have a one hour commute to work. I say the rosary on the way in to work every morning. I don't think this would happen if I was at home - I would be way too distracted. It is sometimes the only time I have to really pray.
6. At work, I have encountered many strong and faithful Catholic co-workers. This has been a significant blessing.
7. Knowing my weaknesses, I don't think I would be a very good stay at home mom or homeschooling mom.
8. I am able to have paid maternity leaves.
9. My job helps us to save for our retirement/future.
10. If the children have to be in daycare, at least it is very nice child care. They really do enjoy it. They have many friends at school and enjoy sign language classes, dance, field trips, all kinds of interesting things that I probably wouldn't get a chance to expose them to.
11. I really appreciate coming home every day and having dinner with my family.
12. Because of my job, I have been able to come to terms with many issues from long ago and I think it has forced me to deal with certain people and grow into a better and more accepting person.
13. Because of past jobs I have met the two friends that I am thankful for.
14. Who knows, maybe I have made an impact on somebody's life at work for the better or have somehow brought them closer to God? I hope so.
15. My job can be very mentally challenging and there is rarely a day when I am bored.
Thanks for reading this post! God Bless...