Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Most Important Job

27 Days to a Happy Mom - Day 14

Not long after my first husband died, I dragged myself to a social gathering where one of my favorite artists would be speaking.  I really didn't want to go, and frankly I was afraid to go as a single person.  I'm not great at social things, anyway.  But I mustered up my courage and slunk into a back row seat.  The meeting was wonderful and uplifting, until they announced that there would be goodies in the back.  I can't resist cookies.  As I stood in line to get one, the man in front of me turned around.  I was nearly paralyzed with fear.  I did not want to talk to anyone!  I survived a few sentences of small talk, then he asked me what I did.

What do I do?  What do I do?  I had no idea what to say.  My whole identity of the previous few years had been consumed by caring for my little children and my sick husband.  Now he was gone, and I really didn't know who I was, or what I did.  In my panic, I made the mistake of opening my mouth, and I was astounded at what came out.  I stood there in the cookie line and told a complete stranger all about an entire career I invented on the spot!  He nodded politely, the line moved forward, I got my cookie and ran out.  On the drive home, I laughed until my guts hurt.  I was so ridiculous!  How could I concoct such a story?  How could I lie so badly?

The easy answer is that I didn't know what my job was.  I didn't know how to tell someone what I do all day.  It might look menial to some.  They may think my contributions paltry.  But now I know who I am, and I've learned not to worry about what others may think.  I am a mother.  And that is important.

Some say that motherhood is the most important job.  Others belittle a mother's worth.  Some say that motherhood is not a job, as if we could compare it to something that actually has monetary worth (makes money).  Instead, they claim being a mom is merely a relationship, as if we could strip away all the work and caring and effort it takes to raise a human being.

Actually, someone has done a bit of homework to figure out what it would cost to outsource a few of the jobs I regularly do.  And it adds up to more than $112,000 a year!  I actually feel better about some of my more disliked parenting chores if I think about letting someone else spend those cheerful minutes picking up my energetic kids from school.  Would I rather someone else get my twins through the bath?  Or wait up late for my teens?  No!  I'd want to be there - and that reminds me to be happy.

Besides, I have great job benefits from being a mom.  I have a fabulous commute.  I have job security.  I get to be the boss and determine my own schedule.  Talk about flex hours!  I can sit on the floor, eat food without utensils and take a nap if I want to (and I can make it happen if I really want to).  There is no dress code (although I feel much better when I am a pretty mom).  I have a comfortable work environment, and I get to choose where to set the thermostat.  I am never bored, and have a myriad of opportunities to learn new things.  I love my coworkers, and I can have all the hugs I want without worrying about sexual harassment problems.  And, lucky me, I have a dedicated and understanding partner who helps me as much as I let him.  What a job!

But motherhood is more than a catalog of discrete chores.  It's more than a glorified job title.  It's more than just a relationship or a successful pregnancy. It's a vital role, an amazing opportunity that women get to be at the helm of the most basic units of society.  In my home, I am literally building up my community, my nation, and the world.
"We are living in a great season for all women... You are an essential part of our Heavenly Father's plan for eternal happiness; you are endowed with a divine birthright.  You are the real builders of nations wherever you live, because strong homes of love and peace will bring security to any nation."  -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Just for today... Make a list of the things you like about being a mom.  Or imagine the amazing contributions your children may make in the world, and grin at your power to change the world!

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