It was the company’s 10th anniversary, and the kids and I were excited about attending the Open House at Daddy’s workplace for lunch! A pig roast, cupcakes, coffee, fruit trays, pretty balloons, banners, and friendly staff greeted us. This was going to be fun!
Last year, the company celebrated its new location with similar fanfare so I knew what to expect. I counted on my husband being busy giving customers, visitors, and suppliers tours of the facility; any time he managed to sneak out and eat with us would just be a bonus.
Sure enough, he was busy. I could tell on his face that he so desperately wanted to join us, but I shot him my best “It’s okay. I understand. I’ve got this.” glance.
I made my way through the food line pushing a double stroller transporting our 2-year-old and 6-month-old while whispering to the almost 6-year-old and 4-year-old to stick close to Mommy. Balancing a diaper bag, purse, and four plates of food, I breathed a sigh of relief as I spotted a table with four empty chairs. We maneuvered our way through the crowd as smoothly as possible and sat down to eat our lunch.
Then the 4-year-old wanted some pop. We never drink pop at our house, but I wanted to make the occasion special so I decided it would be okay, just this once. He could split a can with his sisters and therefore be only 100% hyper instead of 300% hyper.
But, who would sit with the kids while I went to get him his drink? Would they be okay by themselves for two minutes?
Of course, they would be, but would people think I was being irresponsible if I up and left 4 children aged 5 and under?
I wasn’t sure.
Should I take all the kids with me for one can of pop? I just came back from getting them their food and that was a feat in itself.
Maybe we could grab a can on our way out.
But then they would want to drink it in the van…
and that would mean they would probably spill…
and that would mean I’d have more work to do when I got home in addition to the wash that need folding, groceries that needed to be put away, kids that needed to be tucked in bed for their afternoon naps, supper that needed to be made, a kitchen floor that need to be swept, and gardens that needed to be weeded.
And who would notice if I did all these things? Probably no one, but they would notice if I didn’t.
Right then and there I wished I could trade jobs with my husband.
I could see him out of the corner of my eye, chatting and smiling to customers. He has great dimples and great social skills; he was appreciating other people and they were appreciating him, neither of which was happening to me.
Jealousy took a hold of my heart and I felt the weight of Eve’s curse: “your desire shall be for your husband…” (Genesis 3:16)
In that moment, I wanted to wear nice clothes that didn’t get pooped on, stretched out, and used as a Kleenex by someone else.
I wanted to have conversations with people, adults, that were above Grade 3 level, and that didn’t include the question “Why?” every two and a half seconds.
I wanted to wake up to an alarm clock that beeped instead of a baby that wailed.
I wanted to get paid with cold, hard, cash.
I wanted to have a coffee break at 10:00 every morning without having to heat up my coffee thirteen times and change a diaper in the middle of it.
I wanted to be noticed, appreciated, and valued.
I wanted a real job.
But, in God’s good providence, I don’t always get what I want, and in this case, He gave me something much, much greater than I can even grasp.
Sure, my uniform might not be all that pretty or professional, but it bears badges of honor that tell the world I am incredibly loved on, literally.
It’s true that I have to answer approximately fourteen thousand questions every single day about the world and the God who created it; people, and why they do what they do; animals, and what they eat and where they live; machines, and how they work and how to fix them.
Well, I don’t have to. I get to, and it’s one of the grandest privileges and greatest responsibilities mankind can ever have.
I could outsource this part of being a Mom (and at the place of my husband’s employment that day, I thought that’s what I wanted) to a daycare or a school with teachers – you know, people with real jobs.
But that’s just it: answering fourteen thousand questions a day is a real job that I, little ol’ me, have been commissioned by the God of the Universe to do. For better or for worse, I am shaping and molding four hearts and minds of the next generation. (Proverbs 22:6)
I could “snooze” the steady, rhythmic beep of an alarm clock that doesn’t get louder or more demanding if I leave it alone, but waking up to a wailing baby means I have a baby! A baby! How many parents wish they had a wailing baby to care for? How can I favor beeping over such an adorable bundle of cuteness that cries because she needs me? She notices, appreciates, and values me. Isn’t that what I wanted someone to do? (Psalm 127:3)
Cold, hard cash; it’s nice to have, and it’s nice to spend, but once it’s gone, it’s gone, and when I’m gone, I won’t be able to take any money or any of the things that money has bought with me. Money is such a temporary part of my existence that it’s lure should be ludicrous. Not so with my children. Their souls are eternal; they are the only things, by the grace of God, that can come to Heaven with me. Isn’t that worth working for so much more than a piece of paper that moth and rust can destroy and thieves can break in and steal? (Matthew 6:19-21)
Is motherhood a real job?
You tell me.