I get asked this a lot, often from folks who find out that I take my girls (ages 3 and 6 months) to work with me.

It’s true that things are sometimes a rat race of drippy sippy cups, potty trips, and general disorder. There are times when a parishioner will walk in the office and either laugh in shock or pitch in to help (and sometimes, bless their hearts, both).

As a parish employee, I’m paid a just wage, and I appreciate that. But as a mother, one of my top priorities is being with my kids. I wasn’t sure how it would work with two kids in the office. But I can tell you now, after six months, that it’s as wonderful as it will be when I’m working outside my home.

Due to financial obligations and blah-blah-blah, I will keep working for a while yet. My husband, I think, would also add that it’s probably a good thing for me to work away from home. He told me not too long ago, when I asked him about HIS housekeeping priorities, that he cares about the people in the house, not how the house looks. He got a sunny smile from me, and my anxiety melted away about the ever-present laundry baskets in the kitchen.

But to the people who ask me, with a note of wonder in their voices, how I get anything done, I have a few replies:

My kids don’t know any better. My three-year-old has ALWAYS come to work with Mommy. (The other day, we pretended that it was school, and I was first the bus driver as we drove there and then the teacher once we arrived. This role-playing kept on for a good 20 minutes.) Sometimes she balks, but she would balk at ANYTHING on those days, whether it was the office or the living room that was our destination.
I have learned a lot about being a mom and about what’s important to me in my role as mother through the example of the people I know thanks to my work in the parish. Some of these ladies pitch in and help me, and I’ve discovered a “sisterhood of mothers” that I think would have been a mystery to me without the experience of having little ones at my ankles through my work day.
Nothing says “pro-life parish” like kids in the office.
Nothing dispels your anger like kids in the office when you walk in (unless, perhaps, you are the frustrated mommy).
Nothing warms my heart like Padre with a small person curled up on his lap, as they share a lesson in talking like a pirate or perhaps discuss the deep theological meanings behind dogs taking naps and whether he will be bringing his little Yorkie into the office that day.
Nothing keeps me as honest as having my kids with me in the office.
Sharing my kids with the parish – something I didn’t foresee about this whole arrangement – has blessed me with friends I wouldn’t have had otherwise and has taught me some valuable lessons about the pain of infertility, the struggle of conception, and the joy of children in general.

It’s not always easy. Staying at home with them wouldn’t be easy either. MOTHERHOOD is not easy. God put me where I needed to be, and at least twice a day, I remember to thank him for that.

Now, as to whether anything gets DONE…well, it depends what you mean by “anything” and “done”… 🙂