Published February 2015: The Messenger – Faith: A Fresh Take
The Parent SOS
From the time I was a child, I was taught to work hard. This work ethic that was ingrained in me from the start has given me many opportunities to excel at multiple jobs. I’m a go-getter, a type “A” organizer and a loyal employee. I learned this from my mom who tirelessly worked two or three jobs at a time to put food on the table and expected my sisters and me to work just as hard at school, around the house and at our part-time jobs as teenagers.
We did work hard and we still work hard. However, the job of parenting has put my work ethic to the test. As a single mom — just like my mom was during my teenage years — it can be overwhelming to work at parenting alone. I find myself giving in to moments of despair when I yearn for a helping hand with discipline so I can just for once be the “fun” parent.
My high expectations that I have always held myself to on the job spill over into parenting. If I were to give myself a performance review, I’m positive that I would be the overbearing boss who has nothing nice to say. I make mistakes. I lose my patience. I forget to send field trip forms. I rush in to games and practices at the last minute. I buy my kids gas station hot dogs for dinner when our schedule is tight, and I have even run out of gas due to poor planning (and at the worst times).
I’m a parent. I’m human.
These moments of despair and negativity, though, do not improve my job performance as a mom. Instead, my sour mood is contagious, the household becomes tense and before long, everyone is up in arms over something silly like spilled milk.
What I have learned is that it is okay to take a moment or two to wallow as long as you are willing to hand it over to God. The reality is that even though I pride myself on having a strong work ethic, no one works harder to protect us, reassure us and nurture our hearts and minds than God. He is the one who knows when I need to slow down, when I need to take a moment to breathe and when I need to be there for my kids the most.
I just need to listen to him. No matter how hard I work on the job and at parenting, if I can’t fulfill my faith obligations, be kind to others and live by his word, then my performance review and the quality of my life will suffer. Working hard is a desirable trait but working hard without faith is just not an option.
— Shannon Philpott