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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: My very own thing

Vieraskieliset / In-english
1.10.2019 6.21

I re­mem­ber one late eve­ning when I sha­red my thoughts with my hus­band: ”No prin­ci­pal in their right mind should hire a mot­her of six lit­t­le kids. It would be best for our fa­mi­ly that I still stay at home for a while.” I gu­ess I was qui­te con­vin­cing, as my hus­band see­med to be­lie­ve me. By that time in my life I had wor­ked as class te­ac­her for three pe­ri­ods of dif­fe­rent lengths and had then sta­yed at home for four ye­ars.

Stay-at-home mot­her­hood was good for me, but I still re­mem­ber the wist­ful fee­ling I had that eve­ning. My own thoughts see­med to make the doors of workp­la­ces so thick and he­a­vy that I doub­ted I would ever again be ab­le to open them.

But to­ward the end of my ma­ter­ni­ty le­a­ve I be­gan to check for the va­can­cies being ad­ver­ti­sed. I sho­wed one in­te­res­ting ad to my hus­band, and he said: ”You should ap­p­ly to that! I will take my month of pa­ter­ni­ty le­a­ve, and we will then get so­me­o­ne to take care of the kids at home.” Even the big­ger child­ren ent­hu­si­as­ti­cal­ly ac­cep­ted the idea of their mom wor­king. “Well, if that’s how you all feel about it, I will ap­p­ly to that job.” While dri­ving to my in­ter­view I pra­yed that I would get the job, but on­ly if that would be a good so­lu­ti­on for the whole fa­mi­ly, not just for me. I was not the le­ast bit ner­vous about the in­ter­view be­cau­se I be­lie­ved things would go the way they were me­ant to go. I men­ti­o­ned the size of our fa­mi­ly at the ear­liest op­por­tu­ni­ty, but the prin­ci­pal on­ly said they had a te­ac­her with even more child­ren – and I got the job.

My de­ci­si­on to work pro­ved be­ne­fi­ci­al for the whole fa­mi­ly. The pa­ter­ni­ty le­a­ve was a uni­que and sig­ni­fi­cant ex­pe­rien­ce for my hus­band, and all things tur­ned out mi­ra­cu­lous­ly well at home. We hi­red a lady to take care of our child­ren, and she was a real tre­a­su­re. I had been af­raid our kids or the nan­ny might fall ill, but they didn’t. There were ti­mes when I felt that the He­a­ven­ly Fat­her spe­ci­fi­cal­ly wan­ted to show me how wrong I had been with my obs­ti­na­te be­liefs. I had ima­gi­ned that, by wor­king, I would dep­ri­ve the child­ren of so­met­hing, but they ac­tu­al­ly had a good time with the nan­ny. My hus­band al­so saw so­met­hing that I had re­fu­sed to see ear­lier: the child­ren were too at­tac­hed to me. He saw how in­de­pen­dent they were in the mor­ning when I was not around to help them.

When I sta­yed at home again af­ter more than a ye­ar of wor­king, I had to be cons­ci­ous­ly ca­re­ful not to fall back to our old mot­her-di­rec­ted mor­ning rou­ti­nes. Alt­hough I had en­jo­yed wor­king and been ins­pi­red by the chan­ge, it was lo­ve­ly to be at home with the child­ren again. Du­ring that pe­ri­od at home I star­ted my part-time stu­dies, which see­med to sug­gest that it would be good to stay at home even lon­ger. But the He­a­ven­ly Fat­her had dif­fe­rent plans.

On a warm sum­mer day on the be­ach with my se­ven kids I had a phone call from a prin­ci­pal who as­ked if I would come and work for them. I had brief­ly wor­ked in that school ear­lier, and for some re­a­son they now had prob­lems fin­ding a qu­a­li­fied te­ac­her. While on the phone with the prin­ci­pal, I pic­ked up my yo­un­gest kid with poo in her bat­hing suit. I didn’t qui­te feel re­a­dy for work. But I pro­mi­sed to think about it and war­ned the prin­ci­pal that I might not be avai­lab­le for the full school ye­ar. But that did not seem an obs­tac­le eit­her.

The de­ci­si­on was ea­sy when the lo­ve­ly nan­ny we had had pre­vi­ous­ly said she could come back to us. Du­ring this six-month pe­ri­od of wor­king I was es­pe­ci­al­ly touc­hed by the at­ti­tu­de of the prin­ci­pal and the pa­rents to­ward my new preg­nan­cy. They sho­wed he­art­felt ap­p­ro­val. The prin­ci­pal said it was great to have pe­op­le who were still wil­ling to have ba­bies. The pa­rents were gra­te­ful for the time I spent te­ac­hing their child­ren, and I still feel mo­ved by the num­ber of baby pre­sents I got when I left. And how much I had wrest­led with the ap­p­re­hen­si­on that I could not work for the full se­mes­ter! That pe­ri­od of work was al­so me­a­ning­ful for my stu­dies. I wrote the por­ti­on of ap­p­lied re­se­arch for my fi­nal pa­per al­most as a by-pro­duct of my job.

I know I am be­gin­ning to re­pe­at my­self, but I want to men­ti­on that I am, on­ce again, pon­de­ring what to do next fall. This time is dif­fe­rent, ho­we­ver: I now re­gard my own thoughts as be­liefs rat­her than facts. I do think about the dif­fe­rent op­ti­ons, but the sig­ni­fi­can­ce of faith shi­nes over eve­ryt­hing el­se. I can be­lie­ve that things turn out well wit­hout my wor­rying too much. I do not al­wa­ys know what is best for our fa­mi­ly, but the He­a­ven­ly Fat­her knows.

To sum up, I could say that I find it a bit dif­fi­cult to le­a­ve home and go to work. I re­mem­ber how I lo­ved the fee­ling of co­ming home from school as a kid. We cal­led for mom as soon as we had ope­ned the door. My mo­del is my mot­her, who was such a great stay-at-home mom. I have not come even near to her le­vel or ex­per­ti­se. But I have be­gun to un­ders­tand why. I know I am per­fect­ly ca­pab­le of run­ning my fa­mi­ly, but I have not been ab­le to hang on to the things that ins­pi­re me per­so­nal­ly the way my mot­her did.

I have re­a­li­zed that fa­mi­ly wel­l­being does not de­pend on whet­her you work at home or out­si­de home, but rat­her on whet­her you have per­so­nal ways to find ins­pi­ra­ti­on and ener­gy. I can now ful­ly ap­p­re­ci­a­te my mot­her’s ”trips to the Ca­na­ry Is­lands”, which me­ant that she withd­rew in­to her own works­hop to paint por­ce­lain or make li­fe­li­ke dol­ls of all her child­ren. And there were all those cour­ses that she took: from ma­king lamp sha­des to de­sig­ning pre­his­to­ri­cal ob­jects. I can ima­gi­ne the ent­hu­si­asm that made her get up ear­ly on Sa­tur­day mor­ning and drive so­mew­he­re in­to the count­ry­si­de, where she would, in pel­ting rain, fire in a pit the clay ob­jects she had made. She truly li­ved by one of her fa­vo­ri­te sa­yings: ”You re­main yo­ung as long as you are ins­pi­red by new things.”

It was lo­ve­ly to hear my mom tell about her own mot­her. How grand­ma had come in from the barn and said: ”I will go out for a while to get some fresh air.” My mot­her al­so said that she finds even a short walk in fresh fo­rest air in­vi­go­ra­ting and ref­res­hing. Next time when I go for a fo­rest walk my­self, I will re­mem­ber all those ge­ne­ra­ti­ons of wo­men who have rec­har­ged their bat­te­ries with the small things that they have per­so­nal­ly en­jo­yed.

When our fa­mi­ly be­gan to grow, I was swept away by the cons­tant dai­ly bust­le. My eve­nings were full of the ac­ti­vi­ties of our child­ren, and I was unab­le to car­ve out enough time for my­self. I en­jo­yed being at home and ap­p­re­ci­a­ted the im­por­tan­ce of my work, but there came a time when I be­gan to feel I was mis­sing so­met­hing. It took me a long time to ad­mit that stay-at-home mot­her­hood was not enough for me. Nor did I feel hap­py with just jog­ging and ot­her phy­si­cal ac­ti­vi­ties, no mat­ter how good and im­por­tant they were. I be­gan to won­der how my child­ren are see­ing me and what kind of a mo­del I want to give them. A friend of mine desc­ri­bed her fee­lings in that same si­tu­a­ti­on: ”I no lon­ger re­cog­ni­ze my­self among the pi­les of di­a­pers.”

I doubt I could ever ma­na­ge to make the kind of re­cog­ni­zab­le dol­ls my mot­her made, but I have been ins­pi­red by stu­dying and wri­ting while being at home. While wor­king, I have de­ri­ved ins­pi­ra­ti­on from the work it­self. It is great to lis­ten to ot­her pe­op­le tell about their per­so­nal sour­ces of ins­pi­ra­ti­on. They usu­al­ly have a spe­ci­al spark­le in their ey­es, which shows how sig­ni­fi­cant those things are. Some pe­op­le en­joy so­wing clot­hes, some love in­te­ri­or de­co­ra­ti­on. We mot­hers are so dif­fe­rent.

It is not al­wa­ys ea­sy to find ”yo­ur own thing” when you are sur­roun­ded by that pile of di­a­pers. But I do re­com­mend that you start se­arc­hing, if you feel even the ti­niest in­te­rest in so­met­hing that is truly yo­urs. And don’t be af­raid of pos­sib­le obs­tac­les. There may be real out­si­de obs­tac­les, but most of them pro­bab­ly come from in­si­de yo­ur own head: “I wouldn’t have time for it any­way, I can’t do it, I wouldn’t know how, I’m not re­al­ly in­te­res­ted in anyt­hing”. You do not know what you can do, un­less you try. Good luck for yo­ur se­arch!

Text: Vir­pi Myl­ly­nie­mi

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal blog post here.