Friday, January 20, 2012

Who wudda thunk?

A tired woman flopped her blonde ponytail over the counter, as her eyes gazed downward toward the floor.  Her one hand rested on the counter and her other hand adjusted the double mechanism that held the life-giving nutrients for her baby.  The mechanism made a certain pulsating sound, methodically yet faithfully pumping her life's energy into the two little bottles that would feed her baby tomorrow.

The young woman was tired.  I knew that feeling.  I remember thinking of a huge checklist of things I needed to do when I was done feeding that baby.  At the top of the list was always eat and sleep.

But for this woman,  it was different.  She wore a red badge.  The counter was the women's locker room.  Her eating and sleeping would have to wait.  She probably had a 4:00 meeting.  When she got home, she had to fix dinner or read to her little boy.

So, while I was getting myself ready to teach my pilates class, I smiled at her and made conversation.  To lighten up the awkwardness, I said,

"I fed five of them.  Two million gallons later, I'm still here to talk about it.."

To which the normal response is "Wow!" and then a barrage of questions.

And I answer them, encouraging her in what she is doing for her baby.  Granted, I'm not a la leche league activist or something.  I'm just a mom who knows what its like to make sacrifices for her children and family.  Taking time every day to go down and pump (twice a day!) is a huge commitment.

And if you had told me (even 10 years ago) that I would somehow be in the locker room encouraging working mothers, I would have been shocked.  Wasn't it my duty to somehow be on a crusade to get everyone home with their children, homeschooling, supporting their husbands??

And yet, here I am.  I never once chastised her or even insinuated that what she is doing is wrong.  In fact, I just tried to be an encouragement.  And God gave me the freedom and peace to do just that. (And she told me so!)

So, what's the change?  Do I no longer believe in moms staying home or homeschooling for example..??  How far have I come off the wagon anyway?

If I've come off the wagon (at all) it is to this end-- to stop promoting my crusades and start promoting the Gospel of Christ.  And trust me, I always have a crusade.  If it is not pilates or organization or educating your children or feeding them better or reading aloud or ....  (whatever this week's crusade is).  In fact, a week without a new crusade means I'm sick or depressed or something.

So, I have to work against many things (internally) to just come apart from all of that and just feel the pain of someone like my little friend from the locker room.  I don't even know her name.  I can tell you the name of her husband and children, though.  That is where her heart is, and that is who she talked about.  I can tell you the sacrifices they have made to take care of these children in addition to the daily pumping.  

And so it is.  Do I think by my loving and caring for this little gal that there will be a mass exodus of stay at home moms into the workforce?  No.  If anyone is tempted to do such a thing, let me say this.  I have hardly ever met a young woman, working full time,who wouldn't love to be able to be at home with her little ones, even part time.  So crusading and preaching does no good here.  Their own exhaustion is their teacher.  And the degree to which their needs v.s. wants have dictated this decision is theirs to bear alone.

And so now, against all rationale, I have an outreach with career mommies.  Who wudda thunk?


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Barefoot Hippie Girl said...

I think that you are on the right track! She needed encouragement, not a lecture. I think being at home is the ideal, but it isn't always possible. We need to have grace with people, love them, and let God work when and how He wants to. I think your encouragement probably went much farther than a sermon ever would have.

Janice said...

Great post Jenna. Breast feeding and homeschooling are not going to be sub columns in the book of life. Ultimately though the crowns you cast at His feet will not be about that either but rather about the souls won for Christ. Not to demean all our efforts to raise our children for the Lord :) said...

Such a good post! Thank you for sharing your life in such a vivid we were in the locker room with you. You provide a good example to follow. Makes me think of "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus'sake." 2 Corinthians 4:5

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Mrs. Parunak said...

Great post and great attitude! I'm glad you could encourage a weary mama.

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