Lorren Lemmons is an Army/dental school wife, bone marrow transplant nurse, and mother to a very energetic 8-month old. A country girl from Idaho, she is now learning to love city life in Los Angeles. In her abundant spare time (ha!) she loves to read, write, watch Dr. Who, and eat strange and exotic food. She blogs about books at http://thestorygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com and about everything else at http://whenlifegivesyoulemmons8.blogspot.com.
I listen to the voicemail, tension hunching my shoulders. I’ve been waiting for this call for two weeks, but I’ve still managed to miss it. The HR representative’s introduction seems to last minutes rather than seconds. Finally she says, “I have good news. Bone Marrow Transplant would like to make you an offer.”
My first reaction is joy. This is my dream job – a nursing position in the area I am passionate about, located in a prestigious hospital with an award-winning training program. Our bank account is growing emptier, and my husband and I have been praying that I would find a job for months. The fact that those prayers have been answered with this job is a blessing that I hardly dared ask for.
However, as I watch my son smiling and giggling because he sees that I am happy, I pause. For the last six months, I have been with him every waking moment. We’ve experienced the greatest trials of my life, including emergency room trips, hospital stays, and postpartum depression. Becoming his mother amplifies all my joys, too – my marriage, my faith, the simple beauty of the world, all are more powerful as I experience them through the paradigm of motherhood. How will taking this job alter our relationship? Am I a bad mother for leaving this beautiful baby for a full-time job? Continue reading
Sandra Tayler is a writer of essays, speculative fiction, children’s fiction, and blog posts. Her writing can be found at onecobble.com. When she is not writing, Sandra divides her time between four children, a cartoonist husband, a business, two callings, a scattering of friends, a neighborhood, multiple online communities, some hobbies, and a cat.
“Thank you so much for all of your help this year.” My son’s fourth grade teacher told me earnestly as she extended a little gift bag toward me. It was the last day of school and I’d walked into the classroom to retrieve a forgotten backpack. The room was stripped of its purpose, almost barren, with desks stacked in one corner. My hands paused before reaching to accept the gift. Her thanks were heartfelt, and I knew they were undeserved. I’d assisted in a classroom science day and attended one field trip. These activities had been in direct response to my son’s needs, not motivated by a desire to help. I’d filled my time with work, illness, more work, a sibling whose needs chewed through more emotional time and energy than I had to give, and yet more work. The work paid the bills and since I was self-employed, incomplete work paid for nothing. My son had been a trouper, calm and cheerful, until the strain started to show in a dozen little ways both at home and at school. So I had carved out the time to be there for him; helping in the classroom was purely ancillary.
“Really?” I wanted to argue, but the word stuck in my throat, caught by the same emotion that was pricking at my eyes. I got thanks for an effort which amounted to being physically present. Surely effusive thanks and praise should be in answer to a true effort from me, not the bare minimum that I had given. Continue reading
Today’s guest post comes from Elissa East, who describes herself this way: “I am a lifelong member of the Church from Australia. Born in Perth and now living in Canberra, I have always lived in small branches or wards. I served a full-time mission in Sydney, Australia after which I met a wonderful man whom I married in the temple, and now have with 3 children and work full-time as a Business Manager at my children’s school. My favourite calling is teaching early morning seminary. I love to sew, cook, watch Dr Who, and read.”
I loved Economics in high school. The numbers and the way they all worked were like music to me. I will always remember though the day I proved my teacher wrong. He was trying to prove that anything worth doing has a monetary value attached. He asked us to raise put hands if we could think of one job we would want to do that you did not get paid for. I was the only person that raised their hand “A mother,” I volunteered. He was stumped – it was the first time anyone had ever got him on that question. Continue reading
The author of today’s guest post has asked to remain anonymous.
Friendly fire: inadvertent firing towards one’s own or otherwise friendly forces.
The words were said so quickly and with such ease I was shocked. We quietly went about our work; busy with our hands in service for our children. A young woman, with preschoolers, asked me about my work and told me she was, “fascinated by working women.” I replied, “It’s really hard. If you can stay home with your children do that. Go to school or learn a trade and go back to work later if you need to or want to.” Then another young woman joined the conversation, while still busily working, and said, “Besides, the children really suffer.” She immediately realized what she had said with little thought to the company she was in. We made eye contact and then went back to our work. I don’t remember where the conversation turned next; I only know where my heart has turned again and again since then; the “friendly fire” rhetoric against the working mom leveled by those who should be friendly forces and who often intend no harm. This rhetoric knows no individual circumstances and only levels generalized judgment or “friendly fire” causing harm when there is no enemy in sight.
“Besides, the children suffer” were words heaped on the words of a co-worker who, just weeks before, on my first day back at work said, in reference to his wife’s ability to stay home with their child, “You can really tell the difference between the children of working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.” I was stunned at his rudeness and the inappropriateness of his comment. Continue reading
While I was growing up I didn’t really have a clear picture of what kind of career I wanted as an adult. For a number of years I wanted to be a marine biologist because I loved the ocean and was fascinated by whales. Then I got into harder science and math classes in high school and felt like I just couldn’t keep up. My senior year in high school I had to write an essay about my future career plans; I wrote about becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom, but it was mostly just to annoy my English teacher because at the time I assumed that my extreme nerdiness would always keep me from getting married. I applied for college at BYU, was accepted, and spent my first three years trying to figure out what I wanted to major in before settling on English because I really liked books. I still had a hazy idea of my future and assumed that after graduating I might find some kind of office job because that was the kind of job I worked while I was an undergraduate.
After my junior year at BYU I left for a mission in Spain, and then returned to BYU and got married less than a year after coming home. At the time of my wedding, my husband and I both had about two years of school left. We took classes together, each worked part-time, and then had our first child three months after we both graduated with our bachelor’s degrees. We spent a lot of time talking about our future; we weren’t sure what we wanted, but we knew that we both wanted to be equally involved as parents and that neither of us should have a career that took precedence over the other. My husband went back to BYU for graduate school a month after our daughter was born; I studied for the GRE and worked on my application, and the next year started a master’s degree in Spanish at BYU. We only had one small child and my husband was in graduate school, so getting a master’s degree at that time was actually a fairly easy decision for me to make. Continue reading