Wondering if Any of it Makes a Difference

I wonder sometimes about making a difference. Wiping fingerprints off the walls and sweeping behind the toilet can be thankless tasks. Making dinner usually gets a few comments, though not all of those are compliments. “I don’t mean to hurt your feelings,” my daughter said one evening, “but dinner tasted a little burned.”

There are also comments about the quality of the ingredients (“I don’t like beans”) and requests for special accommodations (“Can I have mine without the tortilla?”). None of those make me feel loved and appreciated. Sure, my kids are well fed, even if they don’t eat burned beans and tortillas, but is any of it worth the effort?

I started out, in the time before kids, as a speech pathologist. My goal was simple. I was going to save the world through speech therapy. In my fresh-out-of-college world, people got better. I wasn’t always prepared for the reality that “getting better” is sometimes a very subjective assessment.

A child who spoke his first word at age 4 is still better than at age 3, but that one word doesn’t go very far. A stroke patient who regains the ability to swallow pureed food is still better than he was on a feeding tube, but even filet mignon through the blender isn’t much fun.

When the children came along, I was on a new adventure, planning to save the world through parenting and homeschooling. I was going to do all of that while juggling a part-time career. An eternal optimist, I like to call myself. As a small-business owner, I could set my own hours, take my children to work with me and bring along their school work.

My office closed just over a year ago, a circumstance of a shrinking economy and lost contracts. I focused on home and family, and I loved it. I could snuggle a restless child at 2 a.m. without having to worry about the morning alarm clock. We cleaned out bookcases and discarded the mountain of mostly finished workbooks. And then, it was time to go back to work.

Tearing myself away, even for a few hours a week, has been difficult. My career as a speech pathologist is kind of like a jealous mistress. Wanting all of my time, she calls to me with interesting cases and prospects for improvement.

Once at home, the order is reversed. Baking cookies and reading books is more pressing than getting ready for work. My 2-year-old says, “I want to go wif you,” and I melt inside.

It is the dilemma many mothers face, trying to balance work and home. Here I am, walking the tightrope, hoping to make a difference — one patient and one burned burrito at a time.dandelion-111014_640

I wrote this a few years back when going through a transition. I find myself in a time of transition again, and while the circumstances are different, the questions are the same. Life is funny like that.

Follow Me

Rose Godfrey

Rose Godfrey is a freelance writer and speech pathologist. Rose writes about an eclectic mix of topics that all have an underlying theme of family and relationships running through them. Rose draws upon everyday life lessons to teach her children at home and as an inspiration for her many stories.

Her most recent book, Start Homeschooling Today: No Experience Required provides a simple set of instructions that will give the beginning homeschooler the tools and the confidence to begin homeschooling successfully.
Follow Me

Latest posts by Rose Godfrey (see all)

About Rose Godfrey 26 Articles
Rose Godfrey is a freelance writer and speech pathologist. Rose writes about an eclectic mix of topics that all have an underlying theme of family and relationships running through them. Rose draws upon everyday life lessons to teach her children at home and as an inspiration for her many stories. Her most recent book, Start Homeschooling Today: No Experience Required provides a simple set of instructions that will give the beginning homeschooler the tools and the confidence to begin homeschooling successfully.

2 Comments on Wondering if Any of it Makes a Difference

  1. Dear Rose, it has been a long, long time since I stopped by, and it’s incredible (or perhaps it isn’t…) to see how Moms to any number of children, all over the world, are facing the same questions/dilemmas. Since I got married, I never worked outside the home on a regular basis… and I still feel like I’m juggling. Baking cookies or taking care of the yard? A homeschooling assignment or getting everyone bathed while there’s plenty of hot water from the solar heater? Dusting or cleaning the toilet? (toilet wins). And those are just normal days, not Passover cleaning or moving house in a frenzy of packing boxes and garbage bags. I don’t know… I honestly don’t know if I’m doing enough, being the imperfect Mom who reads stories, hands out writing tasks, bakes cookies, takes walks, and sometimes breaks down and yells and then feels guilty. All I can say is that I’m hanging on to G-d, every hour of every day.

    • Oh, Anna, you do such a beautiful job. I think there is beauty in the struggle, in the waking up every day knowing that there will always be more dishes to wash and clothes to put away. Someday, if everything is clean all at once and the cookie jar is empty and the smudges are all off of the windows then it means that my home is empty. So we sweep up the crumbs and hope to reserve a few minutes each day in order to recollect our thoughts, and we get up the next day and do it all over again. Our payment? A few sticky kisses, a funny drawing to hang on the wall, sleepy “I love you”s that are whispered at bed time. Keep hanging on dear friend. We are all imperfect. Anyone who thinks she isn’t is delusional. Or very heavily medicated. Or both.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*