Surprise, surprise! I wasn’t sure which was going to hit today and I decided in the car (yes, I am panster – as in I fly by the seat of my pants sometimes) that 7QT would make an appearance. Settle in…
I had a google hangout with some friends on Tuesday night. We were going to do a writing exercise and meet for the first time. It kind of fell apart because, technical difficulties. Instead of the writing exercise, we snapped pictures of one another, met all the children and learned that Google+ has a sticker feature that follows your face. My friend Charity was a cat with a party hat for a bit. In between the laughs and the kid hangout bombs, they noted that I was “all dressed up”. I didn’t think I was, but when I looked down, I was still in my work get up. I felt awkward that I was the only one, out of 5 of us, who worked outside of the home. They were just chatting and noticed that my hair was did, and I had all the makeups on. They looked comfortable, happy and in love with their vocations. I love that about them. All different. All the same, all love.
Mary, Lena and Jen work in the home, I think, and that basically means – no bras. Ever. We discussed it. So I guess for number one, I love being a working mom because that means bras. I need them. Fancy ones at that to support me as I type in an office setting. Not exactly how I wanted this first take to go, but there you have it. Bras.
Q-u-i-e-t T-i-m-e. On my commute to work, I get 15 minutes, 20 if I stretch it, of unadulterated, luxurious, better than chocolate, quiet time. Sometimes I listen to Jay-Z or Common and belt along. Did I mention, I grew up singing Whitney, Mariah and Bah-brah Streisand (that’s how you say her name, you just have to). Yeah, I can get down like that. Not all just classical opera stuffs.
The music has to be turned all the way up because the bass I feel in my chest turns off all the other noise in my head. Other times I pray, listen to Catholic Radio or just enjoy the silence and think, strategizing about what I’d like to write or tackle next.
My husband either works from home, or is gone; as in, a different state or country gone. But when he’s home? You can’t beat the coffee he has waiting for me in my favorite mug to set my day off right – sometimes with pancakes!
He actually gets me up a little early so we can chat together. He gets the kids ready too and picks them up from school! One more – he makes dinner. When he’s home, he cooks! He fully admits his arsenal for meal making is limited, but “it gets us through”. Indeed. Or he’ll send me an email and say “Chris’ diner? I forgot to take out meat” To which I say “oh sure!”
When he’s gone though, it’s all me. I get up an hour earlier so I have time to get ready, then wrangle the boys into their whatever-the-calendar-says uniform and get them to school. I help with the homework, I arrange care for the kiddos after school, bath time, snack, you know the deal. Like I text S, “pray for me, I’m herding cats!” So when he’s gone, we all feel it in the chore responsibility department (but moreso in the heart department)
No, he has no single brothers. Sorry ladies.
Sticking with the food tip…lunch! I work where there’s a cafeteria with just about anything you’d like to eat. For example, yesterday I had what’s called a “Salad Trio”. Sound fancy, it wasn’t really. A scoop each of tuna, egg and chicken salads atop a bed of lettuce, with chopped carrots, celery and tomatoes, with a dill pickle spear. Ok, so it’s fancy because a) I didn’t have to make it b) I didn’t have to shop for it c) I didn’t have to clean up d) I didn’t eat it per usual, standing in front of the table to make sure the kids ate.
I always get something that I wouldn’t necessarily make at home. Can you say Indian food? Gyros? Make your own pasta?
I get to bring my Catholic to work. No, I don’t carry it in a bag, unless I’m the bag, in which case, I need some cold cream <— who says that anymore? Too much Mad Men, I think. After being at home with the kids for 2 years, I was SO afraid to go back to work. I was a new Catholic and felt that leaving my perfectly insulated, all Catholic world was too fragile for a corporate office and all of it’s, different! You know? So what was a girl to do? Head to adoration, that’s what. I prayed and sat and listened. I just kept thinking that if I could work in a Catholic environment, I would be ok. I could take whatever else came with the job, being away from the kids, my home, sewing holes in socks, anything. I thought if I could work in a Catholic environment, they would understand. They would be flexible with my need to balance family and work. I got just that. My boss, Catholic. I can count 5 other people that I work with, Catholic. Remember the rosary lady? Catholic. Met her at the office. There are days when I get to work from home if I need to. When Gabriel’s class had a Mother’s Day social, I was able to go, and still work.
When Alex was Steve Jobs for a school play on Famous Americans, Mike and I were there recording the whole thing.
I’m going to ITALY! I know I mentioned this before, but it’s happening in a week. A week! I know for sure that if I wasn’t working, I’d never get to cross this off my bucket list. I haven’t decided whether I will blog while in Italy (because Mike really wants me to so he can follow my travels. He’s actually working my laptop as we speak – awwww! Shut up Cristina!) or if I’ll just send you all some virtual post cards. You decide. I can tell you where I am in the world like Carmen Sandiego! Remember that show? I actually played the computer game. #oldschoolnerd
#6 is also attached to a larger “why” for me, in my choice to work. I remember very distinctively, sitting on the edge of my bed, talking with Mike. We like to go back and forth and leave “no stone unturned” when we decide anything. We imagine all the scenarios and play out all the variables boiling it all down to this equation “If we need/want X then we have to do Y”. In this case, if we need to put the boys in Catholic school, then you have to work”. He leaves it up to me.
Did I really want my boys to go to Catholic school? Was that more important to me than finishing my degree while being a stay at home mom? Yes. “if we need to move to that town house because you want to be a part of the parish community, then you have to work”. It’s true. I wanted to get to adoration every week and I wanted to live across the street from my church. I wanted the kids to have a home (not that I’m knocking apartment living – hello built in landscaping and a pool!!) next door to their Godfather. I wanted to be a part of the RCIA team, I wanted to cantor at mass, and take the kids to soccer practice and altar server training – all across the street. But this meant, that I had to give up some things. I wouldn’t be home, then neither would they – they were heading to school. I wouldn’t finish my degree right away – but did I really want to teach? I wouldn’t make dinner every night – but wasn’t eating together more important than whatever Pinterest Pasta dish I could put together.
Bottom line, I say, do what’s right for your family. Leave no stone unturned and explore all of the variables and possibilities should you ever be faced with this. I know that I am showing my boys that Mommy makes sacrifices, tangible ones that they see when Daddy travels and Mommy does everything – and get up to work. They’ve responded in ways I couldn’t imagine. They help me with the dishes, and make comments like “We’re the men of the house and we’ll protect you”. They set the house alarm and walk me up the stairs when the lights are off, because, you know, Gabriel has night vision. So, I’ll wear a bra, and I’ll eat at the cafeteria. I’ll go to Chris’ diner and have an omelette for dinner. We’re together and when we are, it’s meaningful, it’s clearer in my mind that every moment with them is just what it needs to be.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!