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To Work, or Not to Work

"The phrase 'working mother' is redundant" ~Jane Sellman

When I was growing up, both of my parents worked outside the home. - my dad in quite a variety of jobs, and my mom as a school teacher. It was something that they decided together was necessary for the survival and temporal well-being of their family.

When their kids were all still quite young (myself about 7, my sister about 5, my brother about 3, and before the last one came along) my dad worked 2 jobs. During the day, he worked for the University of Utah doing something that I didn't understand because I was just a kid. At night, after he was done working at the college, he would deliver pizza for Dominoes. One of my most vivid childhood memories is that of laying in my bed, listening for Dad to come home from work. I knew that I could usually count on cold pizza for breakfast in the morning.

My mom's job as a school teacher allowed her to spend quite a bit of time with us. We were in traditional school, and she taught year-round school, so there were generally a few weeks in the summer when she'd leave us with a babysitter. The payoff, however, was that she was able to be home for 3 weeks with us at various times throughout the school year. She would come help in our classrooms, teach music, help with PTA things, and just generally be around. I still remember during the summer going to her school with her while she'd get her classroom ready for the upcoming year. She'd put me to work making copies, hanging bulletin boards, or doing other things. Sometimes, we'd get a special treat and get to watch The Phantom Tollbooth movie - one of our favorites.

The point of my personal reflection is this: I didn't turn out any worse for the wear. My siblings and I are all well adjusted, contributing to society, adults (except for the last one, at 13 his level of adjustment is still up for debate). My parents, through their examples, taught each of us the value of hard work. We were poor, and sometimes money just wasn't there, but we never knew that. We always had clean clothes, and new pencils to start the school year, and well-balanced meals on the table.

This is why I have chosen to work outside the home. My husband and I don't have children yet. But, we've already decided that I will keep working after they come. I love my job, and I've chosen a career that allows me to work around having a family. Working might mean sacrificing some alone time with my husband. It might mean that he'll have to get up and do midnight feedings sometimes. But we will make it work, and we will always be there for our children.

We will teach them the way that my parents taught me.


Annicka, also know as Pippi Longstocking, is a nurse, wife, sister, and daughter. She and her husband, Curious George, are currently in Act 2 of their life together, in which they are attempting to multiply and replenish the earth.

*Image courtesy of Google

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