Dec 14, 2007

Working At Home?

Valerie J. Steimle

I had it all worked out. I would increase my writing income to work full time at home. I would spend the morning hours homeschooling my two youngest children and spend the rest of the afternoon writing for my paycheck. At least that’s what I thought I was going to do. I even started writing an essay for a contest that was centered on women working at home. This is what I had written so far:
“I have seen both worlds. The corporate office with the nine to five hours, the business suits with heels, and the office politics. The rat race of being gone Monday through Friday and getting all the housework and laundry done after hours and on Saturday. And shopping…..what about grocery shopping? I have to spend more time away with grocery shopping. Sunday is the only day I had off.
Working at home has its advantages. No dressing up every day, no driving back and forth in all weather. Content to know that I am doing an important job by being home with my children. My home is clean and in order most of the time. I am sane.
Those are the two choices many women have and sometimes it is difficult to choose which one is the right one. For me it was easy to choose because I had more children than the average modern woman: I had nine. I accepted my calling as a fulltime mother at home even with all of its challenges. I would hear of other mothers getting praises for their work done out of the home but I knew I was doing the right thing by staying home. True, you do get more pats on the back at a job outside the home, but there is a certain fulfillment in being at home.”
Well, not anymore. That dreamed popped and I was thrown right into reality when I could not find writing work fast enough. The only way for me to survive with only one parent income is to work fulltime outside the home. At least that is the way it will be for me for the next few years. Oh, I still have nine children, don’t get me wrong but I just have to change my thinking and how I spend my days. I can’t be home as much as I would like and that will force me to be more creative in getting the house work done.
So now the routine is to get my three youngest up and ready for school, drop them off and drive myself to work. Then it’s come home at 6pm in hopes that the house is in one piece, serve dinner from either the crock-pot I put up in the morning or assign one of my older children to make dinner after they come home and pray they don’t burn the house down. This will be good for them, I know. They will have to step up to the plate and be more responsible. It will teach them independence. But I still don’t like having to be away for so long. For many single mothers, there is no choice involved, you have to work. But the attitude that we can have towards our purpose in life and what we can do for our families can be positive and we can make the best of what is asked of us.


  1. Valerie,

    I can certainly empathize with you. Quite a few years ago, after I had spent 17 years out of the professional loop because I chose to be a stay-at-home mom (though I did have a family-owned bakery), my husband's eyesight was threatened and I decided I needed to get a full-time job. It was a discouraging process which had a wuuunderful ending when I landed a job tailor-made for me, and they hired my 14-year old after school, too! The doctors were ultimately able to save my husband's sight in one eye, and now, almost 20 years later, we work together.

    In the beginning, and sometimes in the middle, things looked bleak, but I saw the hand of the Lord many times in completely unexpected places. I know you'll look back and see the same thing, a few years hence.

  2. Valerie, my heart aches - literally - for you. It's no fun, in spite of all the hype given to the glamour of the working woman, to be gone all day, then have to cach up on everything at night.

    I've probaby already told you that for years my sweet husband joked, saying he would work for twenty years, retire, and let me work twenty. He retired about the time my youngest (7th) started school (long before home schooling was even allowed)and I eagerly started back to college, got a teaching certificate and taught sixteen years. It wasn't something I had to do to survive, but something inside me needed it. Charles had been in Vietnam for a year, leaving me home with five teenagers, two younger ones, and a comparatively limited budget. School teaching did give me almost the same days and hours as my children had, but not the time to get as involved with their activities as I wish I had been.

    All that is water under the bridge, so to speak. We live, learn, and move on. I retired a little over twenty years ago, and still enjoy an independent retirement check coming in, bringing a certain amount of autonomy. My office days were back when I was single during WWII, and for the most part I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    We all simply have to do the best we know how with the experiences given us. Hang in there, and be thankful that this, too, will pass away, and express joy that what you want, you will get. How soon? In my own case, it seems to be as soon as I have learned what I needed to learn.

    (Sorry, I sound even to me like a school teacher mouthing platitudes I've learned to believe.)

  3. My most sincere prayers are with you dear Valerie. Liz and Anna said it all best. I can only imagine the challenges you face. I admire your strength and tenacity. You are a beautiful example for all of us.

  4. Valerie,
    My heart goes out to you. My sister had to work full-time because of her husband's chronic mental illness and then death by suicide. They had 8 children together. Her story is a bit like Job's. She told me she couldn't see ever dating and remarrying, and if Heavenly Father wanted her remarried He would have to "drop a man in her lap". The happy ending for her was that Heavenly Father did just that.
    I've been fortunate to work outside my home only part-time through the years. I, too, home schooled for a few years, but then chose not to so I could continue my own education and because I needed to work part-time. Some of these decisions are so hard to make. There really is just so much of us to go around. We do our best, with faith that Heavenly Father will make up the difference.

  5. Thank you all for your wonderful comments. I know it will all work out and I'll learn what I need to learn during this difficult time. All of your comments were so helpful to read and I just have to keep plugging away.
    (That would be great to have a companion dropped in my lap. LOL--But I feel that the Lord doesn't want me married yet so, single I will stay.)


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