Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Be All You Can Be

Here is what my husband's day looks like. He get up at 5:30 and leaves the house to catch the 7:00 am train. He commutes to work a total of four hours a day, four days a week. During his train commute he works on his lap top computer. He has a high pressure job, and all day long I know he works very hard. One day a week he is able to forgo his commute and work in his home office, but even these days he barely has time for lunch. He likes his work and enjoys his vocation, but he definitely has a challenging life. I know many others live challenging, productive lives as well. Many men and women have demanding careers that require much skill and responsibility.

I think about this sometimes when I read various parenting magazines in waiting rooms of doctors' offices or while getting the kids' haircuts. It always amazes me how the articles describe the work of a mother as almost unbearably demanding or suggest it is the most difficult of jobs. The articles sometimes suggest that putting dinner on the table, getting the laundry done, or even getting showered and dressed in anything beyond sweats is almost beyond reach of accomplishing with any regularity.

Now I certainly have had some bad days and even weeks when life seemed overwhelming, times when getting the basics done was a real struggle. Of course, we all have, it is part of learning and growing, and just managing the challenges of life. However, when I read the magazines it is no wonder that the employed women and men of the world, who are not home raising a family or keeping a home wonder what we do all day.

The popular notion is that our husbands come home to a messy house, no dinner, and their wives wearing sweats, which begs the question, just what do we do all day anyway? I am sorry to say that even some of my favorite parenting resources, especially regarding attachment parenting and breastfeeding, fall into this mindset as well.

Although we will never escape having "one of those days" now and then, there really is no excuse for not living out our vocations admirably. Being up and dressed and ready for work is not a unique idea, and there is no reason at home mothers are exempt from this task. Having some degree of organization to our home and to our day should be a minimum expectation we have for ourselves. Keeping up with the laundry and preparing dinner for our families should naturally fall to the parent at home, and distractions like attending play groups, cruising the internet, or attending field trips may be keeping us from these important tasks, that when left undone, leave us feeling discouraged and unprepared.

Our vocations, as Catholic mothers, are noble and worth giving our best too. We need to see it as real work and rise to meet the challenges of each day. We need to prioritize and do the first things first, and learn how to better manage our obligations as any professional in the workplace does. God calls us to give our best to every task, every day, no matter where we do our work.

Peace, Hope