Written by Donna Schaper
"What misery . . . I am like one who gathers summer fruit, there is no cluster of grapes to eat and none of the early figs I crave." - Micah 7:1
My granddaughter told her mother that she didn't like her mother's "workiness." Eva is 4. Why not? asked her perplexed mother, who of course assumed that she was being a bad Mom for going to work. There are so many ways to be a bad Mom or to think you are a bad Mom that she had lots of options for exquisite guilt. Most mothers experience this self-questioning four or five times a day. Eva had a different point. She wanted to talk about her mother's costumes. "I only like the clothes you wear for workiness, not the work."
It is almost the end of summer. The back to school outfits and ads are out. What would be different than the misery of guilt? That guilt about whether we are being good parents, or workiness parents, or well-dressed parents? We could learn to remember what Dr. Spock of yore said. "If you love your children, you will probably be just fine as a parent." We still love them when we go to work. Or don't go to work. Or wonder when they will go to bed and give us time to eat an early fig. We love them ineptly because we were probably loved ineptly.
What else could be different? Economic justice could remove the boot from families where two people have to work to get by. Eva is right in her dislike of workiness. It is not in her best interest.
When all we have is love, O God, show us that it is enough and let that satisfaction motivate us to change the way so many of us have to work. Amen.