elissaeastToday’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.

After high school I was accepted into Business at university but was not able to afford it so I got myself a job in a bank instead. I loved my job and working with all of those numbers. I worked my way through up the corporate banking ladder. I took some time off for a mission and then continued to climb that corporate ladder on my return 18 months later. As I climbed the ladder I met and fell in love with my future husband. After marriage there were health issues that prevented pregnancy so I continued up that ladder again. Most people presumed I was a career woman and not interested in a family – but they were wrong – it was all I wanted. By the time I was in commercial finance – handling large commercial lending transactions – I realised that everyone the same age as me that I worked with had that degree I had always wanted – and it had not got them any further ahead of me.

It was at this point I finally fell pregnant. I was overjoyed. As I shared my excitement, my work colleagues all said I would not last as a stay-at-home mum. They said I would be back as I would miss the excitement of work too much. I loved proving them wrong.

But money was tight – I could have gone to work and earnt a lot more money but instead I took in ironing that I did at night while my baby slept. As my family grew so did my ironing job.

I then got introduced to party planning and I did very well. I would tuck my kids into bed, leave Dad in charge and then head out to another party. The money (and a car) came in and I was thrilled, I was getting recognition, money and having fun. As my business grew my children grew up – soon my kids weren’t in bed when I left, I was walking out the door when they needed help with home work and reading. It broke my heart to leave them – so I left my business (and handed back the car) instead.

Once they were all in school, I picked up part-time job, only working during school hours. This worked well and I loved the job but as the children continued to grow so did our expenses. I soon realised I needed full-time work to cover the bills. This was the hardest choice – I didn’t want to take away from my time with my children and they hated their brief stints in after school programs. How could I work full-time and still be there for them? Then Heavenly Father opened a window for me. He opened up a job for me at my children’s school – doing the school’s finances.

I go in to work early (straight after family scripture study) and my husband packs the kids’ lunches and drives them to school, starting late at his workplace. I then finish early and take the kids home. I never miss an assembly – I know all of their teachers and everything that happens to them at school. I am home for their homework and to chat after school and cook a home cooked dinner. I love balancing the finances of the school and the challenge that comes with it (and the way the numbers are like music to me still) but it is not where I get most of my happiness and sense of accomplishment from.

I never had the career in economics and finance that I dreamed about when I was in high school – but I proved my Economics teacher wrong – there is something you can do that brings satisfaction and you don’t get paid for. Motherhood.

July 17, 2013


  1. Michelle L.

    July 19, 2013

    Thank you so much for your beautiful writing. You’ve illustrated so well the concepts of blooming where you are planted and reevaluating your family’s needs when needed.

  2. Amira

    July 19, 2013

    I love that you had an answer for your Econ teacher. And I love that you have been able to work out a system that’s good for your family and you personally.

  3. Kellie

    July 19, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with motherhood, paid work and the processes, costs and benefits of revaluation.

    I work full-time as well, and am delighted that my work hours have changed to similar to yours – I’m now often home before my youngest, and I love it!

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