Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Time

I am quite old-fashioned. The busyness of the culture that I inhabit annoys me and I work hard not to conform. I don't like working a full-time job and I'd like to be home more than I'm gone.
When daboyz were small, I had the distinct and rare honor of being a full-time-stay-at-home mom. We were dirt poor and I would do it all again. I began working part time at a pre-school when the younger was in school all day in the first grade. I slowly increased my work hours as a contingent parapro from there until I started full time employment with our local school system a few years later. I worked with schools intentionally so my schedule would coincide as closely as possible with my kids. I never worked weekends, evenings, holidays or summers. If some of you are sighing with the great luxury by which I lived you are right to be envious. We exchanged expensive vacations, new cars and a large home for time. That's all it was really, time to be here and available. Time to be a presence to my children who was dependable, in a way ever-present. I wanted any forays I took into the world to be nearly imperceptible to them. I wanted them to feel that they were the center of it all.
I unashamedly drove them to school and arrived about ten minutes late every morning to my job. I will remain forever in the debt of the principal and teacher I worked with who never batted an eye at my insolence. If my kids were home sick, I took the day off too.
For the first time in their and my life, I worked through the summer in 2004. It seems that nurses do not take the summer off, nor holidays, weekends or evenings. It was an adjustment for all of us although my little boys were now fifteen and sixteen years old. I worked a few holidays too although I've been very good at sneaking out of those more than I should. I am blessed to work straight day shift and after two years on the job, my promotion changed my work hours. No more weekends.
Now I have a seventeen year old graduating high school and an almost nineteen year old in college and working full time. I work a forty hour week. I'm not here when they get up in the morning. I'm asleep when Jay gets home at night. Mac is on the go constantly between ministry, friends and just being a person who likes to be out there breathing in life.
I've been criticized more than congratulated on my stubborn greed concerning time. I've turned down lots of invitations to lots of things with no good excuse other than "them", this family of mine. I pass on over-time that would shoot my pay through the ceiling because I can't come up with a figure worth additional hours away from home. That standard forty is all I'm willing to give.
I've been judged unwise because I don't join in girls' nights out and clubs and get-togethers. I've frustrated more than one pastor who want me to take on after hours ministries. I've been told, "Your kids are grown, they don't need you at home."
I am no longer tying shoes and digging in sand boxes. I don't pack lunches or wipe snotty noses or chaperone field trips. My boys do indeed wake up to their own alarm clocks and drive their own cars to wherever they need to go. They also have their own cell phones to call if they need something.
So, they say, those grown up children don't need their mom anymore.
They are wrong. I am forty years old and I need my mom and dad. Differently but not less than when I was a child. I need to know they are around just for the sake of knowing it. I need to know they are available and yes, I believe there is nothing more important in the world to my mom and dad than me and whatever my current need is. Maybe I want my dad to make me a cup of coffee. Maybe I want my mom to go to Target with me. Maybe I want to ride my bike "somewhere" and their house four blocks away is the perfect destination and I want them there waiting for me. Maybe I assume they are always thrilled to have me around.
My kids still say they like having their dad and me here. Not to take care of them but just to be here. Smalltalk and a shared story of the day are not insignificant.
It is a foolish parent who ever defines time as empty.
In this family, children are always written in ink on our daily calendars.
1 Timothy 3:4,5 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)

11 comments:

Pat said...

We'll always be waiting for you and when do you want to go to Target?

Elizabeth said...

I love this and am so with you on this one! When my "big" kids got to high school, if I had run to take care of an errand and wasn't home when they got home, I was getting a phone call asking how come I wasn't home. They like me to BE there even as big kids. When my 17 yr old asked me to get a part-time job at Bob Evans working with her "so we could be together more" I jumped at the chance. I count it all a huge blessing!

Arlene said...

You have proven that stay at home dirt poor Moms have more than many that can't and many that just don't want to. Your children rise up and call you blessed, I am sure! Love you!

Tonya said...

I wish every day that I had more time with Grace. It appears when I get home on some days, that she has learned something new, or grew a foot and I missed it.. Working full time with a small child stinks, and it is very emotionally draining. Love this post! We have lost many friends for wanting to be with our daughter on our OUT OF WORK hours, Those belong to her.

Margie said...

great post!!

I think i am going to go write now...

MSU gal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MSU gal said...

Great Post!

This working mom when the kids are still little thing...
not so good.

tina fabulous said...

thats exactly what my mom did... working @ school so as to share my schedule. i never had to come home to an empty house.
and even at 31, i still experience a slight panic when they leave for the summer! we never stop needing the parentals.

Jada's Gigi said...

Yes, time is a valuable commodity...and actually I believe it goes against nature for women to work outside their homes full time...I know its necessary for many..I'm one of them..and i work a second job so that kid of mine can get an education...so in reality it is for them too...but still it definitely goes against the grain and I am constantly looking for ways out of it and ways to be more available to them...one day(and its upon me) they won't need me so much...and that is a good thing...we should raise them to be grown and independent...but not that independent...:) Lack of dependence on others is a great fault in our country today...its hard to maintain, this lack of dependence, in our American culture, but well worth the effort...and that carries right over to our God Family too...

KayMac said...

I had the luxury for 11 years.

Just yesterday I was telling someone how much I appreciate my job, b/c if I need to leave at the drop of a hat for my daughter, I can.

Thankful!

Deb said...

I'm blessed to be a stay-at-home Mom --and wouldn't trade it for the world!