Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Find Some Peace Tonight

One of the few photos of me since I became a mother of four....

Today was one of those days. I think it actually started last night. I was surfing a Web site with salary information for public employees. These weren't just any public employees. They were people I work with, know and love, in some cases, and in other cases, not so much. Let me tell you: the disparity in wages is just unbelievable.

I finally hauled myself off the Internet and into the shower, where I continued to think about how some people are paid far more than they are worth and how others never will be paid what they deserve. Because, really, aren't we all human beings? Don't we all bring something useful to the table?

And I've said it a hundred times in my life if I've said it once: I hate money. I hate how money makes people mean. How it prompts people to do things they shouldn't do and give up things they should never give up. How it defines us and how it divides us.

I often struggle with my status as a part-time working mother. I'm not a working mother in the way those that work full-time are working mothers. And I'm not a stay-at-home mother, since I'm gone from my house for ten-hour days three days a week to work. I'm in the middle. And while I would love to make more money, I do believe I have the best of both worlds.

But as the Sarah McLachlan song goes, There's always some reason / To feel not good enough / And it's hard at the end of the day. I think that's where I started this bad day, in thinking, while toweling off after my shower last night, that my salary was somehow subpar, that if I could just muster up the energy, the drive, the gumption to bite the bullet and go full-time, we might just realize our dream of moving to the country. That the kids could run and play outside in their own trees and on their own acreage and that they could finally have the pets they want.

So I went to bed in a funky mindset. Thankfully, I was smart enough to know it. I started to craft a prayer to make myself feel better and bring myself back into the happy place of gratitude. "Dear Lord, thank you for this husband, this good man, lying to my left, snoring. Some military women don't get to hear their husband's snore for months at a time. Thank you for this healthy baby snoozing in his bassinet to my right. Some babies aren't so healthy. Thank you for my kids sleeping peacefully in their beds. Some kids don't have safe, warm places to sleep..." And it helped.

Alas, I still woke up today to rain and gray skies both inside and out. It was a day for napping on the couch, for giving in to gloom, for being a quitter. But I couldn't be a quitter, because I am a mother.

So I struggled through my blues, and it wasn't pretty. I had a fight with Max and needed hot tea for my sore throat because I yelled at him so loud. What is wrong with me? I nursed and cajoled a baby to sleep about eight times, only to have his older brother Colby shriek so much that he woke him right back up at least half of those times. My bad mood seeped into Lily, who was a bull all afternoon.

And now, hours after the kids have gone to bed, my head is still pounding.

But I know there will be days like these. It's one of the tough things about my job as a mother. The one that doesn't pay in dollars, but in hugs, kisses, heart swells and pride. The one job I know I am meant to do.

While I am not paid what I might be worth, I value motherhood. I know there are so many of you in my shoes. I get you. I appreciate the job you do in trying to raise kids that will be a part of a better society. We should all be millionaires. In the ways that matter, we already are.

Elevating the status of mothers everywhere starts with us. We have to value our work and each other and get this done.

May you find some comfort here.

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