Motherhood is my chosen career, and has been for the past twenty-two years. I quit the corporate world five weeks before our first child was born and except for a few, very part-time endeavors, and two years working while my husband was underemployed, I have been a full-time wife, mother and homemaker. It has been the best choice for me.
I suppose one reason women like to work is for the regular paydays and the feelings of worth that come from daily seeing the fruits of your labors. Motherhood and homemaking are not like that. Paydays are infrequent for the first eighteen to twenty years of a child's life; the work is endless and unappreciated.
BUT! When the paydays do come they make it all worthwhile. I had a huge payday this year on Mother's Day when our daughter, Noble, spoke in church on the subject of "What I've Learned From My Mother." She described things I'd forgotten about, or things I hadn't known were important to her; and I sat there listening to her with tears of gratitude running down my face, knowing that I (with my husband and God) had created, reared, taught and trained this competent, intelligent, talented, beautiful woman. What a payday!
We have one daughter and four sons. When they all were young, that is under ten, my husband and I would say "They are on a nineteen year training program, we have to be patient because they're not done yet." It helped us through many rough times raising them, and to be honest we still aren't done, as we have an almost eighteen year old boy, an almost fifteen year old boy, and the youngest boy who will be thirteen on Sunday. We are, justly we feel, very proud of our two oldest. Noble, who recently left for Air Force Recruit training, and Elder PW who is serving a two year mission in Argentina.
When I took Elder PW to the Missionary Training Center I felt a great sense of accomplishment, of a job well done. I had successfully taught, trained and prepared a son to serve the Lord as a missionary. I admit I cried when we dropped him off, but they were tears of joy at being able to give my son to God. People asked "Are you sad to have him go?" To which I'd reply "No way, this is what we have wanted his whole life." Likewise, when we took Noble to the hotel for her to leave to go to Basic Training I thought "How can I be sad? She is not leaving in anger or rebellion; she is not leaving to go shack up with some jerk; she has made a well-thought out, prayerful decision to serve her country." I miss her terribly because we got to be such good friends this past year, but I can let her go knowing I gave my best effort to teach her the gospel and to train her so she can successfully navigate through adulthood.
Parenting, or raising childing as it used to be called, is hard work, with no weekends, sick time or holidays. It is 24/7, 365 days each year. It takes creativity, perseverance, patience, forgiveness, and a whole lot of other character traits. Fortunately you can develop those necessary traits on the job, rather than coming to the job fully equipped.
For me the paydays, which are hugs and kisses, notes and cards, verbal thank-yous, infrequent though they are, make all the sacrifice worthwhile. Seeing the fruits of our labors when our children become competent adults is the best payday of all so far. I have heard that being grandparents is even better. Looking forward to that!