Tag Archives: Work

Why I quit working

I was very lucky to be able to work at home up until just before Rachel, my third, was born. In some ways, it was the best of both worlds: I only had to put in a few hours a day, I helped with our expenses, I got the opportunity to exercise my mind and (kind of) associate with other adults (though I don’t know of blog comments “count,” especially with some of the ugly conflicts there that still bug me).

On the other hand, I almost never regret leaving the “workforce.” I liked my job and my boss, but I was spending waaay too much time on the computer. It hasn’t gotten all the way better, unfortunately, but I’m glad that I don’t have to be online for those hours a day anymore.

Over on the Power of Moms recently, I read an article about Telena Hall, who went from full-time WAHM to mostly SAHM. She still receives some resistance for her decision, but I think she has a great perspective on the working/nonworking debate:

I continue to work on a much smaller level and I still associate with the same women who were once my peers (and are now my superiors). They continue to encourage me to work more and move back into management. They often remind me of the money I can earn, or influence I’ll have in that position. I have to remind myself that I have the greatest influence over my children, and that one day they will grow up to influence the world. I came to realize that quantity time could not be replaced with quality time. My children needed BOTH.

There are many wonderful opportunities we can pursue as moms and as women. In stepping down from my position was I saying it is wrong for a woman to work? Not at all. It was simply a matter of dividing my time and prioritizing accordingly.

Telena concludes, quoting a church leader, “A woman need not sing all the verses of her song at the same time.” There are seasons in our lives, and after reviewing her priorities, she decided that this season was the time she needed to be with her young children, and maybe in another season, she might return to working—or not.

For me, it wasn’t a big change in my schedule to free up those hours—but it made a big difference in terms of my stress levels (for a while). I continue to struggle with some things I miss—like feeling valued, etc., which is kind of funny since I know my boss valued me, but we didn’t have to communicate all that often—but I know that putting my family first, above a nebulous, difficult to achieve and easy to lose “feeling,” is the best bet I can make right now.

What do you think? What are your priorities? How have you changed your schedule or life for them?

Photo by Sean Dreilinger

Working when I’m worn out

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I’m a night owl. Totally and completely. I’d rather work at 11 PM—or 1 AM—than 1 PM. When it comes to wake up time, the kids don’t give me much of a choice by about 6:45 most days, so I’m burning my candle at both ends. Add to that the constant scream-fest of raising three bickering kids five and under, and I’m worn out by about 10 AM. (Until 10 PM, when I get a second wind. WHEEE!)

I usually take this as a sign that I’m a horrible mother/woman/person/being (it goes downhill from there), that I was never cut out for motherhood. But maybe it’s actually a sign I’m doing things right. In a book I read this weekend (When Times Are Tough by John Bytheway), I came across this quotation (from p 141, emphasis mine):

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

—George Bernard Shaw, in William I. Nichols, Words to Live By, 79

This section of the book was about the virtue of work. Whenever I think about that subject, I feel guilty. I didn’t like working at a 9 to 5 job, and I’m pretty lazy and often unmotivated to change. (I’d show you my kitchen floor to prove it, but you can just take my word for it.)

But then I remember: I’m a mother! My whole life is work! Physically demanding, emotionally draining work. And though I often feel like I won’t make it through the rest of the day when I’m exhausted and out of patience, maybe in some ways it’s a sign I’m doing something right: something I’ll have to do time and again, but which will add up to the sum of a life well lived.

What do you think?

Photo by The Pug Father

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What ever happened to hard work?

Once upon a time, there was a mystique to working one’s own land. Owning a farm was considered by a large part of society to be the pinnacle of achievement—you’d “arrived” once you obtained acreage. Hard work was a virtue, and an aspiration.

I doubt that I have to tell you that isn’t the mentality today. Most of us have learned to work just enough to get by. Even in motherhood, sometimes it’s easy to let the “okay” (PBS) supplant the “good” (playing with your kids).

There’s no way around it: motherhood—maintaining the home, providing meals, rearing children to become productive adults, sometimes even providing income for the family—is hard work. Even if we do just enough to get by, sometimes the work of motherhood is emotionally and physically exhausting.

So sometimes motherhood gets a bad rap. But you know what? I think we had it right centuries ago—though it’s often not fun or even interesting, hard work is good for us. It makes us grow and makes us stronger.

And, honestly, I have to hope that anything that requires this much effort can only be worth every ounce of myself that I put into it.

What do you think? What have you learned from the hard work of motherhood? How have you grown as a mother?

Photo by Sasha Wolff

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