By Esperanza DeLaLuz
I always wanted to be a mother. I actually wanted to have a dozen children like in the book “Cheaper by the Dozen” by Frank Gilbreth. There were eight kids in my parents’ family and, to this day, I consider those seven siblings some of the best presents my parents ever gave me. I am blessed to have seven people who are so loyal that I can count on them for any necessity, and now I will never find myself helpless and stranded.
But I am the oldest child. At one point in my life, in my first marriage, it seemed possible that I would find myself a divorced single mother. My babies were 2 years old and six months old. I was looking at having to support myself, and basically being gone so much that someone else would be raising my babies. I could not imagine how I could bear to do that. Because I had seven younger siblings still at home, living in my parent’s home other than temporarily was not an option at that time, and I was devastated. Fortunately, it did not happen, and we worked things out, for the most part. But I still remember the gut-clenching fear I had then.
Part of this was that I had not prepared myself to have any kind of decent paying job, had not finished college, and was not confident that I could even provide for myself, much less two children. I had only ever prepared myself to be a mother. I felt then, and still feel that this is the most important and most rewarding career a woman could ever have. But I also feel that in this present world, a woman who has no options in the event of a death, divorce, or abandonment, faces an incredibly stressful future.
Due to this background, I encouraged my daughters to get enough schooling completed that they did not have to let fear of not being able to provide for themselves convince them to stay in a situation which was dangerous or unhealthy for them or their children. Having a solid education is excellent preparation for motherhood itself whether or not a profession becomes a necessity. Consider how children are blessed to be raised by women who have a depth and breadth of knowledge! Motherhood is the most important work of all, and worthy of our best efforts.
It is easy for a working mother to fall into the trap of putting the demanding boss, the interesting job, the extra income, as such a high priority, that she delays or limits her opportunities to be a mother. Mothering will always be the highest and holiest calling a woman can pursue. Of course, it may be necessary for survival or personal sanity to have outside employment. I am not in any way demeaning the choices of those mothers who also work outside the home. There are many women who work and parent successfully. I am constantly amazed at, and frankly in awe of women who successfully do that.
But I do believe that of the two jobs, mothering is the one that matters. Years from now, it is unlikely that your other job will affect the world anywhere near as much as the job you are doing at home as a mother. So keep on doing what you do and remember it is SO valuable.
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