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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I came across this article today through this blog about a study that determined stay-at-home moms would earn almost $117,000 a year if they were financially compensated for the work they do on a daily basis.

The article didn't go into too much detail, but I got to thinking about the things I do on a regular basis that someone else might get paid good money for (well-structured sentences notwithstanding):

Daycare provider. This is what is most often considered and entails roles such as educator; arbitrator and referee; nurse; nutritionist; disciplinarian; psychologist; scheduler; counselor; clothing acquisitioner; chauffeur; spiritual and moral guide.

Housekeeper. Now that's a loaded word. What does that mean, exactly? On any given (or every) day, it means dishwasher; laundress; seamstress (okay, I do buttons and patches); meal planner; cook; cleaner; comparison shopper; Culler of Stuff and Things Otherwise Outgrown and No Longer Needed.

But then I thought of more: painter and decorator; bookkeeper and accountant; vacation planner; memory preserver; social coordinator; gardener and weeder.

Did I miss any?

I used to get paid for working. I used to go to a job and was well on my way toward a successful and rewarding career as an analyst working for the federal government.

I remember sitting at a function one day where a senior analyst was being honored for 20 years of government work. They gave a little spiel and presented him with a coin.

They gave him a coin. And it hit me like a thunderbolt. I am away from my son every day for a lousy coin.

Okay, that's simplifying it a bit. But for me it was an epiphany. Although I might still be finding myself in that same career today, earning dollars and kudos, if my husband's own career aspirations hadn't taken me away from there and forced me to reconsider my priorities. Thank you, Lord. Though I wasn't thanking Him at the time. That pesky, selfish flesh of mine.

The kids and I were going to go to the aquarium in Cincinnati today, but Olivia didn't sleep well with a cold that has filled her head and the sky is raining cats and dogs today. So. No church, no aquarium. A whole day inside, in which I will practice any number of the duties mentioned above.

This morning the kids presented me with a card they had made for Mother's Day, and we celebrated afterwards with milk and homemade peanut butter cookies.
This, of course, is our payment, we moms. This is my coin, only I don't have to wait 20 years for it, and it is irreplacable. Best laid plans. I could not have planned this any better myself. Which is, of course, the point.

(And you have no idea the amount of restraint Sean-Peter is practicing in order not to knock down that tower of blocks long enough to snap this photo. No idea.)


Anonymous said...

I read that article. It really got my attention. I am thankful that the Lord saw a change in careers for you. He works in such wonderous ways.

Carmen said...

Yeah to the cute kiddos for doing up Mother's Day without dad there to guide them along! I'm impressed!

OHmommy said...

I read that article... and forwarded in to my husband. ;)

Tam said...

Yeah I thought up the Spay and Neuter your All Original Idea....hey lets start a grass roots campaign....of course Toys R US would really not like that!

Mary Alice said...

That was a beautiful post. I don't think that was even over simplified - it's true. 20 years for a coin. God has a way of (if we are listening) of opening doors that allow us to find our way to the essentials. In many ways the inflexibility of my husband’s career has been a blessing to our family too. It gave me fewer options for my own career and I was really needed at home to provide stability. It has helped me to be far less self centered and far more family centered. I am a wiser person now because of these experiences and the credit goes to God.

RDC CCC Mom said...

What a blessing to your kiddos that you are all of those things and they celebrated all on their own!

See you Thursday AM...I'll have the camera and tripod ready for you!

RDC talks a lot about Sean-Peter and anytime he sees a minivan go by, regardless of color or style, he says "Peter" (still working on the Sean in front!!!)...Little friends!

Tam said...

OOO I hope you are doing very good! How is the speech thing going? MY almost 3 yr old is finally beginning to really talk and only some people can understand him but we have made great progress. This was a great post!!!!!!

the dragonfly said...

I am thankful every day that I am able to stay home with my Little Mister. Every. Day.

I often tease my husband that if he had to pay me for everything I do he couldn't afford me. :)