From Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler's Soul

Working It Out

My mother is a poem I’ll never be able to write, though everything I write is a poem to my mother.

Sharon Doubiago

Everyone experiences them—one of those weeks when it seems that every step you take places you two steps behind. Finding myself at a low point and particularly discouraged, I wondered if it was time to re-enter the work force. Time to get out of the house.

Because I’d chosen to be a stay-at-home mom for several years, I waged an internal battle. Would I be able to reenter the workforce if I waited longer? Would my skills be outdated? Was what I do at home really important? Did I even matter?

The following Sunday was Mother’s Day. Still feeling down, I slouched in the back row of the church, next to my daughters. As part of the service, our pastor invited the younger children to the front of the sanctuary. Our little Jenny, four years old, joined them.

After speaking a few minutes, the pastor asked the kids what they’d like to be when they grew up. Enthusiastic hands shot into the air. Eager answers abounded.

“A fireman.”

“A teacher.”

“A doctor.”

“A hero.”


He positioned the microphone in front of Jenny. “And how about you? What do you want to be?”

I held my breath, never certain what our blonde dynamo would come out with.

“When I grow up,” her sweet voice was clear, “I want to be . . . a mother.”

Silence reigned for a fraction of a moment, and then the congregation chuckled. Our pastor recovered from his surprise. “That’s a great choice, Jenny.”

No one noticed this mommy in the back row dabbing away her tears. I had arrived at church service unsettled, uncertain and filled with discontent. But I left in peace, finding joy in the confidence that for now, I was doing exactly what I was called to do.

Gloria Wooldridge

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