I like being a working mom and thoughts on vocation
I was home for much of last week with Junia. It was lovely. We spent mornings with friends, went to a farm, picked berries, took maggie for walks, went to parks. It was a week that I really enjoyed being with her. Savoring each of those days. The hard moments were fewer than the good ones.
And now, the reverse, I am glad to be at work for three days this week. I took Junia to daycare, which she was a little emotional but mostly fine when I left and was thrilled to have my routine and her routine back for a couple of days. Walking my mile to work up the hill then back down and seeing the Seattle skyline was lovely. When Junia was very young I lamented going to work (at 6 weeks I had to go back because even Catholics don't offer paid maternity leave!) but slowly a shift has begun in me. I like being a working parent. This morning on my lovely walk, I started tallying for my own self some of the things I love about being a working parent.
Because even though there are many days that I wish I were at home with her. There is something that is really right for me and us right now about me working too.
1. I savor my time with my people.
2. I feel connected to the world outside of my family. For me, as a homebody, I think that if I stayed at home I would have a hard time meeting people outside the context of parenting.
3. I meet people who don't know that I have a child and sometimes feel like I am playing hooky. It's kind of a freeing place.
4. I am intellectually stimulated, and pretty easily. It is hard work to stay intellectually stimulated by a toddler. Although, on my best days I think that it can happen. But working is stimulating for me.
5. Income. Ultimately, we both work because we cannot afford not do. When she was an infant that was tremendously painful, but now I don't really mind.
6. Ambivalence. I think that early one I am being forced to know that I cannot be everything for Junia. That is okay. It sucks. It's great. It's ambivalent. But it is part of the gray reality of life.
7. I really like my job and the people I work with and work for. I feel in some way that Junia contributes to this. There are days where I try to thank her for her support of me working.
I've been thinking about how often vocation and priesthood or being a nun are used in the same sentence or how people might talk about vocation and a job. More and more, I believe that vocation is living authentically, serving the poor (poverty can be need for a great many things not just money), and growing deeper and deeper into love. And, right now, these three areas are growing. At different rates, but growing nonetheless.
The form of my vocation includes job, life, house, family, dog, money etc changes and flexes but the mission underneath I think is longer lasting.