I’ve been working full-time for nearly two years now and the thing I hate the most is the fact that five days of the week I have to get up, get ready, and be out the door by 8:00. Winter, summer, fall, spring—it doesn’t matter. Saturday is still precious, but the impact of one Saturday a week seems to fade when compared to the relentless onslaught of early morning wake-up calls. You would think that I would be used to mornings right now; I’ve been getting up insanely early for years. When I was 11 I got an early-morning paper route. I would wake up at 4:45 in order to have time to carefully fold all the newspapers, place them in bags on my bike handlebars, and ride around the neighborhood delivering them. I only quit the paper route when I started high school and four years of early-morning seminary. Then I went to college and had to wake up early to get to work or class on time; that was followed by my mission, where the mandated 8 hours of sleep every night and regular sleep and wake times were healing after years of sleep deprivation. I had a few years off before having children, and we all know what kind of havoc children can wreak on parents’ sleep. 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
Kristie is a proud graduate of Utah State University (GO AGGIES!) who also holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah. Her passion for finding the perfect recipe for chile verde is matched only by her intense dislike of folding laundry; nevertheless, she remains determined to perfect the art of properly folding a fitted sheet. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart (who, through all of this, cheers for the BYU Cougars) and blogs about the adventures of parenting her spunky three-and-a-half-year-old redheaded daughter and one-year-old son with the most delicious chubby cheeks at www.paddyandkris.blogspot.com.
“Unsettled!” I announced, and I felt that sense of relief wash over me that comes when I finally catch that elusive word that has been dancing on the tip of my tongue, just out of reach. “I am feeling unsettled.” My ever patient and long-suffering husband nodded appropriately, good-naturedly enduring yet another soliloquy from me as I struggled to articulate how frustrated and helpless I felt.
He had heard this tearful rant in one form or another countless times in the 5 months since our first baby had reached that inevitable 12-week-old milestone that sent me reluctantly back to working full time. I was sour, irritable, and generally unpleasant about the whole situation; even though I had known throughout my pregnancy that my returning to work was just part of our family’s economic reality, I continued to harbor some sort of vague resentment that the stars of the universe had failed to magically realign themselves in a way that left me, well, independently wealthy, I guess. Continue reading
Today’s guest post is from Jennifer Merrill, who describes herself this way “I am a mother of four beautiful daughters, ages 8, 5, 2, and 8 months. I sometimes cringe at the amount of pink, glittery princess things in my house because everything else in my life is male-dominated. I am a mechanical engineer, heavily involved in the Boy Scouts of America, and I love superhero movies and Star Wars. Thankfully, my 2-year-old loves cars.”
When I was younger I dreamed of having the perfect LDS life. In this dream, I would be the stay-at-home mother of several children with a husband who had a great job so we could afford anything we wanted. I went to BYU thinking that I would find a returned missionary and we would be married by the end of the first semester. Isn’t that what happens to everyone?
When I turned 21, I was still single and the Spirit prompted me to serve a mission. My dream changed slightly, but I still envisioned living the perfect LDS life when I returned. Then I graduated and I began to realize that my future husband may take a while to find me. In the meantime, I started down the path of a full time career. Continue reading