Thursday, January 10, 2013

Working Woman Wonderings

So I did it....

My first full week as a "working" mom!

It was...HARD. But fun too, at times. And a bit tiring, but not as much as I thought it would be.

Maybe the most surprising was that I felt that I was at work ALL DAY (my day is 9:30-2:30), but if I had stayed at home that day, I would be saying "it's ONLY 2:30?! I miss Mr. O!"  It is disappointing to feel that I worked oh-so-much and then look at my hours and see I really am only part-time.

I am so proud of my parish for being not being afraid to hire me, a nursing mama, and letting me bring Zuzu with me. I feel supported and appreciated; not once this week did anyone treat me rudely, unprofessionally, or discourteously. My nursing was respected, Zuzu was coo'd at but not overly-so, and the pastor was still comfortable asking me to take on projects and do my job.

So it's clear that it's doable. But is it what I am called to, here and now? I am still figuring that out. My Boss and I agreed that we would keep the lines of communication open, and that if it didn't work for either of us, no hard feelings.

I wonder if it's hard for me, mentally, to be doing this because I never thought I would work outside the home. One of the things Tom and I agreed on most strongly before we wed was that once we had children, I would stay home with them. We wanted it that way - the home is a sacred space that should be tended by a diligent and faithful guardian. All my life, I have aspired to be that guardian.

So I keep wondering - why am I letting that go? Why am I leaving my hearth unattended for 5 hours a day, 4 days a week? Part of it is because I feel guilty for the school debt I brought to my marriage; I want that to go away as soon as possible. I also want to be of service to my parish, and the job of assistant to the pastor is really a ministry.

When stated this way, home seems like this glorious refuge, and work a dutiful slog. But I know that's not true - it's more complicated than that.

Would I work if we had all the money in the world? Of course not.

But do I think it's right that I can go to work with my baby, but would chose not to, and put my family under more financial strain? I don't know.

I am still figuring this all out. But I am lucky that I work someplace that wants me to be holy more than it wants me to work for them.


  1. I worked after my oldest was born for about 2 months...bringing her to work with me each day and nursing her right at work. I was a teacher in a very, very, small, independent Catholic school. It worked out well for those 2 months. She was born in Feb, I was on mat. leave until April (after Easter vacation) and came back and finished out the school year with her. I didn't go back after summer vacation because working and teaching with a mobile baby would have been really difficult.

    There is a really good website/organization, which is all about mothers bringing their babies to work with them.

    One thing to keep in mind, is that bringing baby to work with you typically doesn't work so well after 6-8 months or so, or whenever baby becomes mobile and more active. But, it can be a great thing to do with a young nursing's typically easier the younger the baby is and that's so awesome that the church is okay with that.

    1. I had been wondering what I was going to do when she gets to be crawling/semi-walking. I'm hopeful that since I have my own (moderately sized) office, I can set up a play area for her. Most of what I do is answer phone calls, email, schedule things for Father, and handle his correspondence. In the few instances where someone needs facetime, I'm hoping Tom (who also works here) can hang with her in his office (which is huge and could be like a gym really, since it's connected to the choir room).
      But I've never had a child that age, so I'm not sure if it would be completely unfair to her to let her play by herself or not be giving her my full attention. Thoughts?

    2. Hi Martha! I'm late to the party here . . . but I stayed home with my first daughter her whole first year. I felt guilty for "not giving her my full attention" when I was doing things like laundry, dishes, etc. Crazy, in retrospect. But she's a high-maintenance kid, and no matter how much attention I gave her, she wanted more. So I guess I'm saying don't let that kind of guilt keep you from working, if it's going well otherwise. Just my two cents, fwiw. Since having kids I've stayed at home, worked outside the house part-time, and worked part-time from home. So it's something I think about a lot.

    3. See it's funny because I would credit my guilt more with making me work - guilt over my student loan debts!!
      My "default" mind set is staying at home. I'm glad to be working and I'll keep going, and just see what each new phase of her life brings! Thanks for sharing though - it's nice to know others who think about this. :)


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