Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dual Vocations

It's been almost three weeks since my residency ended, and the past two weeks I've pretty much been in my "stay-at-home mom" routine. While it's still very early in the game, right now I love it. I don't miss going to (paying) work and am enjoying the chance I have to attempt to make the house clean and orderly. I enjoy spending time with my daughter and not being exhausted in the evenings after driving an hour from the hospital. Of course, there are rough moments. Nora just turned two, and it seems like overnight she became the classic two-year old with tantrums and obstinacy. My patience wears thin some days. I'm not getting as much done as I'd like to, between fatigue (still! at 16 weeks!) and the explorations of an active two-year-old (she just learned to climb the stairs and she gets into everything, even when contained on one level). However, the good outweighs the not-so-good, and I feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

In a way, I think that I've been struggling between my vocation as a clergyperson and my vocation as a mother ever since Nora was born. I don't believe the two are incompatible, and I know plenty of women who do both very well and even thrive. Their children thrive, too. I admire my friends and colleagues who fall into the above category. I'm just not sure that I'm called to both work a full-time (or even substantial part-time) job AND be a mother. I wind up feeling too torn and unable to do either vocation well. Right now, even if a high-paying, full-time, chaplain job (or the perfect parish) fell into my lap, I don't think I'd want to take it. Seriously. Even if it was "perfect" and the salary was amazing. I want to be able to focus my heart and my energy on my family, and I'm blessed to be able to do so.

I have, under my belt, an education that someone (me and Harry, my parents, some foundations, my paternal grandparents' estate, Uncle Sam) paid over $100K for, five units of CPE, and thousands of dollars and hours and hours of time spent working towards ordination in the UMC. I'm currently on family leave, and have five years (after this year) before my time as a provisional elder "runs out" and I have to begin again. Some might say that I am "wasting" all that I've worked for and not using my gifts. I'd have to disagree with them. I'm sure that Nora and Junior (our current name for baby #2) will benefit from my education and training. I also have the security of knowing that if something happened to Harry or his job, I would be in a better position to provide for my family than if I did not have a graduate degree and subsequent training. Finally, I do not believe that one needs to be in an "official" ministry position in order to practice their vocation.

I don't know how long this current season will last, but for now, I'm content. My family is stable and thriving, and so am I. I feel at peace and am doing what I feel God wants me to do. What more can I ask for? What more can any of us ask for?

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