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Being a mom is the best

Originally Appeared in : 9924-11/21/19

I’m a few weeks away from finishing my first semester as a full-time college professor. In August I started this job at the local university, teaching a full load — three sections of a public speaking class and two sections of a journalism class — and loving it a bunch.

 

Last year I was adjunct faculty at this same school, teaching two classes each semester. When I applied for this job, I was definitely nervous about the increased load. Five classes sounded like a lot, and I wanted to make sure I was up to the task.

 

Also, somehow in the midst of applying for and getting this job, I signed a contract to write another book. How exciting. It was almost eight years between books one and two, and now I’m writing a third again so soon. I’m also considering one other big project which I’ll tell you about at another time.

 

I’ve also decided to say no to speaking at conferences and retreats for the remainder of the school year. As much as I love the opportunity to go out and speak, I want to somehow, in the middle of all these other commitments, be home with my husband and children. This is our son Augie’s senior year of high school, and it’s such a fun, grand time that I don’t want to be on the road and worried about missing anything.

 

The best part of all of this? The focus of my next book is all about avoiding burnout, a primer in how not to get overcommitted in life.

 

Are you done laughing? Neither am I.

 

Seriously though, it’s a perfect time to write a book like this. In the middle of a million grand and small things going on, I’m chipping away at reflections on how to manage how and when to say yes and no. It’s really keeping me honest.

 

One of my journalism students came by my office recently to do a quick interview of me, for my class. I don’t force them to make me the subject of their stories, but since she asked I happily obliged. This young woman is a married mother of two small children. On this particular morning, she had to bring her babies with her to my office to conduct the interview.

 

As she sat there and asked questions and recorded them on her phone, she also mixed a bottle for the baby and kept the toddler occupied with headphones and a tablet. She was juggling all these things and asking me about my career path and projects and life.

 

I had to admit that this was the very first year I finally stopped describing myself as “mom” when people asked what I did. In fact, up until being hired full time for this job, I would say something like, “well I’m a newspaper columnist and a television talk show co-host and a book author...but really, I’m just a mom.”

 

Just a mom. That’s what I would say.

 

I didn’t mean it in a derogatory way. I meant it with all the love in my heart. And I still do. I just figured my boss, the chair of the communication department might not want to hear me telling people I was “really, just a mom.”

 

But as I watched that young mama working to get her degree but also to keep babies warm and dry and fed and occupied, and I realized there is nothing basic about it. And I told her that, when she asked about my achievements. Of all the stuff I’ve done, being a mom is still the best.

 

God has been so kind and generous and opened so many doors for me professionally. I’m blessed and honored to write and speak and encourage — but I’m blown away by the gift of motherhood.

 

All you mamas out there who feel like life is passing you by, keep up the good work. You are doing awesome. It is noble and wonderful and the best use of your time. All the other stuff is excellent, too, don’t get me wrong. But make no mistake: being just a mom is just the best.

 

Rachel Balducci is a wife and mother of six. She and her husband Paul are members of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Augusta, GA. Her latest book, Make My Life Simple, is available on Amazon.

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