I’m linking up today with The High Calling where we’re talking about working for free. Come on over and join in!
The alarm clock sounds usually a bit after seven, but some mornings it comes as early as 5 or as late as eight. There isn’t music in the typical sense, instead it is the sound of baby giggles and goofy noises as the big boy entertains the little boy in the room next door. Down stairs the girls still slumber peacefully and wont make their bed head appearance for at least another hour.
I stretch and blink at the warm rays that filter through my window like liquid gold and though I would give anything for just a few more minutes, I roll out of bed and make my way to the crib. My day begins with toast and bananas for them and a strong cup of black coffee for me to peel off the layers of sleep from my brain. As we juggle the morning mayhem the day suddenly stretches on, and before I know it, it’s time for lunch and runs through the sprinkler, and I wonder where the time has went and look down at my still pajama clad self. The work day is well underway and I’m still wearing sweatpants and a rumpled tank top, my hair pulled into a loose pony with wayward strands tickling my nose.
I will be the chauffeur, the chef, bad cop, the probation officer and unpaid ring leader of this four man circus. By the time my husband gets home I’ll (hopefully) have showered and will be begging for a moment By. My. Self. and another cup of coffee from the pot that (thankfully) keeps filling.
When summer comes to an end though, the chaos will change. I’ll don my other work clothes and manage the mayhem to daycare and school and get off to the other job, the one that pays. Sometimes I think the biggest difference between the job that pays and working for free is the stress level. There seems to almost be less when a paycheck is tied to the end of the month statement. There are not the sibling fights and “he said, she said” or the time outs and mid-day meltdowns (normally) as there are during my unpaid work days. But the funny thing is, they both come with benefits.
One is tied to monetary gain, with a health insurance plan and a retirement that someday will matter. But the other fills my phone with pictures and my heart with memories. And the reality is, even though they sometimes drive me batty and I wonder what in the world I was thinking when I signed those adoption papers, I often regret the moments away.
I love my job, both of them. I love watching students learn and grow and become confident and competent nurses. And I love watching my kids grow and learn and become compassionate and caring people. Is one better than the other just because there’s a paycheck involved? No, I don’t think so. They’re both meaningful. They’re both important. They’re just different. One pays in ways the bank likes, and one fills the bank of my heart. So even though it may seem like I work for free for part of the year, my spiritual bank is full.