Thursday, November 17, 2005

Division of resources

Last night I was talking with my husband about my visiting teaching companion. She is really a go-getter, and at first she comes across a little intimidating. Now, after a few months visiting together, I am starting to get to know her better and see what's real and human about her. I like that. But she's still really a go-getter.

The advisor I work with in my calling in Young Women is the same way. She is the force behind anything getting done with the girls. Sometimes so much so that I wonder why I am there. I love them, and I teach a lesson and help with some things now and then, but really K is the motivator for Personal Progress, class presidency meetings, activity planning ... you name it.

I told my husband, "I think they know that they have to put me with someone who can really get things done, because I just can't devote that much attention to my church callings now that I'm working."

He said, "Now you know why men are such slackers about home teaching, and never have fancy centerpieces." He is the eqp right now and of course constantly stressing about what slackers the elders in the quorum are. Poor guy ... that is not first on his list of stresses, either. I feel bad for him. Although by 11:30 last night he was getting so negative that I had to tell him it was getting annoying and he needed to knock it off and let me go to sleep.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before we got to that point, we had a big discussion about whether that's really true. Did I really have more time available before I became a working-outside-the-home mom? Do moms at home really have more time available than their husbands?

I think the answer is no. Mothering two children full time (and more) was just as time-consuming for me as working full time and mothering in the mornings and evenings. After all, I'm still on duty from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; it's just that my duties are different.

The point of divergence is flexibility. As a mom at home, I could take two hours in the middle of the day to go visiting teaching, or to a young women's presidency meeting, or to make phone calls. In spite of my whining that my children controlled my life, I had the final say on the calendar and schedule. But now, for example, if I schedule visiting teaching for a Tuesday at lunchtime, and my boss calls a meeting that conflicts with that, I'm out of luck.

If it's still the first week of the month, that's fine. I just reschedule and go on my merry way. But if it's the last week of the month, uh-oh.

Bottom line: you have to be really, really organized to be a working mom and get your church callings done (and not let your house go to complete pot, which topic we will save for another day). I am not really, really organized. I wouldn't even say I'm organized at all, except at work, where basically all I have to worry about are e-mails and files. But thank heaven, I have a companion and an advisor who are. (In fairness to me, I have to acknowledge that they are both older stay-at-home moms with one or zero kids left at home. So of course they can get a lot of church work done!)

Anyway, it comes back to what I said before about the real reason the Church does not encourage women to work outside the home. If we were all at the office, then who would do Primary and Young Women? It's kind of a joke but it's kind of true. And it also makes me think about why Young Men and Scouting organizations often have a lot of problems. Our current ward does not, but I've seen it way too many times.

And by the way, I never ever ever have a fancy centerpiece.


SalGal said...

Hey, remember when Brian got called to be 1st counselor and I flipped out because next comes eqp? The eqp is moving in January. I can't wait to see how my prediction turns out.

I still don't think you are capable of having a messy house. I know this for a fact because of that one time we showed up unexpectedly on our way back from L.A. and you were out tying grapes. You are so right about not nescessarily having more time because you're a SAHM, your duties are just different. Not less.

Have a safe trip!

Ana said...

Uh, you know why the house looked good that day? Because GLENNY is a really good housekeeper and it was a Saturday and he had probably just cleaned everything up! I am not a good housekeeper! I swear to you!!!

Talk about tying grapes makes me excited for winter. The fog, the quiet, the cold ... yeah! I can picture myself out in the vineyard right now!

Jamie said...

wow did this post hit home! very timely as I return to FT work outside the home. It IS flexibility that is the difference between being a sahm and wohm. Organization too, that is SO true. BUT, know what I miss the most about my 5 mo of sahm status? The flexibility it offered me........

I showed my kids the "mom is working again" job chart and they were not at all amused. Then I told Aaron that I will REALLY miss him now that I am working.. It was easy to juggle being mom and "dad" with him overseas working when I had the flexibility to change gears when I needed to but now I am juggling one more ball and it is intimidating to say the least.

I am SO glad I know I can come here, read your blog and feel very much less alone! xoxo