By Corrine Forbes
It is 2:30 AM and my alarm is sounding. I nurse Andrew one last time as I head downstairs to start the coffee and get ready for work. Occasionally, Sophia will wake and either plead with me not to “go count bugs” at the lab or she will hug and kiss me goodbye and wish me a good morning at work.
Quite often, I spend brief amounts of time straightening up the house, doing dishes or a load of laundry before loading up my breast pump, packing some food to eat while away and heading out into the darkness to drive into Ann Arbor. I use my commute into and home from work for prayer and meditation, managing my home and family calendar in my head, meal planning, brainstorming various ideas, listening to books on CD and making mental “to do” lists. This is my early morning routine every Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
I work as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist for St. Joe’s (at Warde Medical Lab) in the Molecular Biology/Virology lab. At any given moment, I could be diagnosing an 8 week old baby with RSV, and 8 year old child with B. pertussis (whooping cough) or an 80 year old adult with seasonal Influenza.
I help patient’s manage their viral load statuses (HIV, HCV, HBV, CMV, BKV), families discover if they have a genetic predisposition to clotting disorders, parents discover if they are carriers for one of over 1000+ Cystic Fibrosis genome mutations and women to discover if they are positive HPV carriers, which can lead to a predisposition for cervical carcinoma (just to name a few of the things we do). I work 32 hours per week, and over half of those hours are clocked while my family is still in bed sleeping.
I work 32 hours per week, and over half of those hours are clocked while my family is still in bed sleeping.
The other half are spent with daddy “tag-team” rearing our children during the morning hours, 4 days a week. I pickup Sophia from pre school at noon and we head home to meet Ade and Andrew so that he can leave for his job as a Soft ware Engineer with Servant Systems in Chelsea.
My mommy day at home continues…playing at home, running errands, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the house, play dates with friends, doctor’s appointments ballet and swimming lessons, pre-school functions, lunches, dinners, baths, bedtime (I go to sleep at the same time as Sophia and Andrew) and continued nighttime parenting. As you all know in your own lives, the list is endless.
Ade and I spent 14 years together before embarking on the journey of parenthood. When we found out that we were pregnant with Sophia, we were elated and eager to become parents. We talked extensively about debts, income, goals for our family and rearing of our children, medical coverage for our family (my career provides all of the benefi ts for our family) and many other things. We sought God’s counsel and prayerful guidance as we laid the desires of our heart (and future) before the Lord. We knew that we wanted to raise our own children, especially in the early years.
Ade and I spent 14 years together before embarking on the journey of parenthood.
We prayed that the Lord would show us a way to do so if I was meant to stay in the workforce, by giving us employers who would meet our scheduling needs so that we could meet the needs and desires for our growing family.
Choosing to work outside of the home aft er one becomes a mother is a very tenuous subject, and one that I quite frankly hesitate to talk about in certain circles. Although it’s easy to toss around Proverbs 31, Titus 2 and 1 Timothy 5, I feel that it is a highly personal decision between the Lord and the respective family and is one that should not be taken lightly.
It opens oneself up for harsh comments, criticism and judgment from others. Quite often, it separates us as mothers rather than uniting us (a ploy of Satan?). I loathe the atmosphere of “taking sides.” To me, I believe that we should be more concerned about nurturing the hearts of all mothers, rather than judging them, regardless of preferences or choices they have made.
I loathe the atmosphere of “taking sides.” To me, I believe that we should be more concerned about nurturing the hearts of all mothers, rather than judging them, regardless of preferences or choices they have made.
For those of you who know me (overly sensitive!), this article was extremely difficult to write, but I felt called to tell my journey. I quite often feel as though I straddle both the “Stay at Home Mom” and “Work Outside of the Home Mom” roles. Sometimes I feel like I fit in to both “groups” and sometimes I feel very much alone, like I don’t belong anywhere.
I wish that these labels and barriers could be removed from the realm of Motherhood, and we could all just accept and support each other for who we are, but alas, we live in a fallen world.
If someone were to ask me currently what I do for a living, I would say that I have been called to a dual career…one of Motherhood and one as a Scientist.
Motherhood obviously trumps anything I do in the professional realm now (I love being a mommy!), but I still feel a calling to the Scientific community. God planted the love of the sciences in my life as a little girl and I hope to pass this love on to my children. One of my most cherished Christmas gift s growing up was a chemistry set. The complexity and biological miracle of the human body never ceases to amaze me (what an awesome Creator we worship!).
God planted the love of the sciences in my life as a little girl and I hope to pass this love on to my children.
The Lord showed me many years ago, that I am really working in the mission field in the scientific realm. Not only are women working in the “hard core” sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, etc) a rare commodity, Christian women working in these fields are even more rare. I have had more opportunity to be a witness to my faith at work than any other time or place in my life. The Lord has also used my scientific background to serve Him twice in Africa and in myriad other roles.
What if some Christian women and moms are called to work outside of the home? What if their contributions to the workforce are needful? What would happen if we removed Christian women and moms working outside of the home and their culture-shaping voices from politics, medicine, the sciences, law, the media, the boardroom, NGO’s or education (or MOPS international?)?
With returning to work after starting a family, I’ve willingly chosen to give up much in other areas of my life in order to focus on my role as a Christian mother, wife and friend. I very rarely spend time on the computer. I almost never watch TV (one show every couple of months). Facebook is limited. Sleep is not very plentiful. I make the most of every minute (no idleness in the Forbes home!).
I’ve lowered my standards a bit for what a messy house looks like and how oft en things actually need to be cleaned. I don’t keep up with “pop culture.” My yoga, running, reading and crafting have taken a backseat for the time being. I am tired.
With returning to work after starting a family, I’ve willingly chosen to give up much in other areas of my life in order to focus on my role as a Christian mother, wife and friend.
Instead, I live in the moment and focus on the things that matter in my family and daily life: playing and listening to music with my children, going for walks on our property together for exercise, cooking healthy and homemade nutritious meals for us, sitting on the couch and reading children’s books together, baking in the kitchen together, eating family meals, encouraging and talking about our Christian faith with our children, traveling and adventuring together, spending lots of time in God’s beautiful creation, finding small ways to volunteer and serve others during this extremely busy time in our lives, catching an occasional coffee, glass or wine or meal while catching up with friends, talking in front of the fireplace, creating memories.
This is what matters…