Right before Halloween I saw a woman at Target that I used to work with. She looked a bit harried. No, she looked downright frazzled and worn. I asked how she was doing, and she gave me the obligatory “fine” before going into why she was at the store and rushing to get out:
“Girl, yeah I still work there. Um, hum,” she said as she pierced her lips and rolled her eyes. “I have four kids, so going to work is a break for me, though. I’m at Target to get Halloween costumes. They have costumes for Trick or Treating, for a party at school and one of them has a birthday party that I had to get a costume and a gift for. Yeah, girl. When I get home, they be wanting to climb on me and get hugs and help with homework. I say, ‘Ask your daddy. Shoot. I’ve been working all day.’”
“All right, girl. I’ll see you later. God bless you, okay?”
“All right, Rhonda. See you later.”
And I hope to see her later to tell her, “That ain’t right. It ain’t right that you are 1) working a job to get away from your kids; 2) working hard to get your kids multiple Halloween costumes; 3) working hard to shun your children’s affection; and 4) working hard to avoid helping your kids with homework. It just ain’t right. This is not the working hard that a mother should do.” Many of us are hard workers, working hard at the wrong things and not having the energy to work hard at the right things, like cleaning our homes, nurturing our husbands and children, and being a reliable and trustworthy friend. This just ain’t right!
The best question to ask is “Is what I’m choosing to do most beneficial for what God has called me to do?” This was the question that stood out in my mind when I had to make the decision about feeding and educating my first child. It was breast milk v. formula and home school v. public school. I had good reason to choose formula over breast milk because Joshua could not latch on. And every indicator pointed to God guiding me to home school my attention craved child. I chose to express my breast milk so Joshua could have the best food available to him and to home school though I felt ill-equipped and non-desirous.
On many occasions I felt like my old colleague. In fact, I would say about Joshua’s clinginess, “He didn’t get the memo. The (umbilical) cord has been cut!” In my flesh I didn’t want to express milk and THEN have to feed my baby or homeschool. Using formula and sending Josh to school would have been more convenient for me. But I knew breast milk and home school would be best for him so I worked hard to give him both. We all must decide what’s most beneficial in order to accomplish what God has called us to do and not what we want to do. Working hard ain’t easy, but doing so for the right things saves a lot of time and energy and truly pleases the Lord.
Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith