This might appear a ploy to boost readership. I assure you, the open letter format is shamefully last year, so you can be sure that in its tired, continued use I am sincere. Plus, how many other married Catholic, non-contracepting, working moms of child-bearing age who don’t want to be working moms could there be that aren’t somehow already my relatives?
This letter comes to you from the state of ponderous melancholy that can only be brought on by proctoring a 4 hour standardized test. It is made up of most of the things I really needed someone to tell me each time I have had to return to work with a broken heart and another new baby. If you don’t fit all of the above descriptors, but you find something in here that speaks to you, good! We aren’t SO different.
Dear Broken- Hearted Mama Returning to Work,
I know you want to stay home with that baby and pour yourself completely into your family and your home. I know a stow-away baby sock in your work bag is enough to transform you into a weeping mess. I know that the crying each day went on weeks longer than most people are aware. I know that you feel your heart has been ripped from your chest.
I know that you are not doing it for play money, vacations, or so that you can hire a maid. I know that you feel like other stay at home moms who sacrifice look at you and determine that you could have stayed home if you were willing to make some sacrifices. I know you calculated every last rice-and bean-eating, one-car-family scenario and still came up short. I know that some of those existences would be possible if you and your spouse could guarantee that you wouldn’t have any more kids, not because raising them has to be so expensive, but with a bazillion dollar deductible, birthing them is. I know that you are in this situation because you and your husband are doing your best to be open to God’s gift of life and His will for your marriage. I know that you are doing it because you have no other choice.
Just know that you are not alone. Know that there is a redemptive aspect to your suffering being apart from your babies. Know that this pain is something you can offer up each day for the souls of your little ones. Know that it will always bring more good than harm for you to stay faithful to the teachings of the Church. Your work is your cross that you take up daily to join in the suffering of Christ who ached and bled and died for love of you.