Summer has begun, and I have found myself splitting my time between my family and my job. Mormon familyI love my children, as most parents do, but financial obligations keep me working away from home, especially since I am a  single mom.  On the home front, some women feel trapped staying at home 24/7 and feel the need to work to keep their sanity, while others have no choice but to work or there would not be enough money to live on with one income. Single moms, like me, find there are a lot of ‘must dos’ that include both extra duties at home, along with the necessity of bringing in money.

A look at the Pew Report,  Research and Demographic Trends, tells me I’m not alone in this predicament. Many mothers are torn between spending time with their children and having to work. I’m only at work part time, but many moms work full time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 59% of women now work or are actively seeking employment.  This definitely can put a damper on the fun stuff for summer.

This is a dilemma for many women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). We want to take care of our children, and there is a huge emphasis on success in the home, but by the same token, we are sometimes called to help support our families. It gives me great comfort to know that the Lord will bless me through whatever means I can find to support my family when prayerfully considering all my options.

“The Lord knows … that through circumstances beyond their control, some mothers are faced with the added responsibility of earning a living. These women have God’s blessing, for he knows of their anguish and their struggle.”

With my working hours I have to schedule my time even for ‘spontaneous’ activities, like dropping everything to go to the beach (only an hour away), or spending time playing board games indoors when it’s too hot outside to do anything else.  So these indulgences may look spontaneous to the kids, but they take a lot of background planning. These are the memories my children will take with them once they are on their own. I want to make sure they happen.

This week my fourteen year-old son wanted desperately to play Risk™. Now anyone who knows that game knows how long it takes to finish. I don’t even like playing, because it’s just a war game, but he really wanted to play. So I set an hour and a half aside for two days to play. I was actually winning on the first day when the next day my son took a lucky turn and beat me in an hour.

I also strive to make time for the public library. We are lucky enough that our local library sponsors weekly activities geared towards teens and young children throughout the week to break up the monotony of long summer days. Working advises working moms with flexible schedules to opt to work earlier hours so summer fun can start after the work is done. Involving children to help with the house work also makes more time for summer activities. Working claims that even with kids home all the time, and the difficulties caused by mom being away at work, it’s still a calmer period than during the school year, a good time for organizing for the more hectic months that begin in the fall.

In a few weeks my boys will go to camp for a week. This gives me some time to add more work hours and get a few projects done I had set aside for awhile. Mixing work and summer fun has its challenges, but it’s a break from the regular school year. The goal is to make it a happy and memorable one.

So here I am in the middle of the summer,  planning my time between children and work, and enjoying both as the days fly by, because soon my two boys will be on their own, and I will have to divide my time between working and doing other things — who knows what.  But for the moment I am content to go to the beach and play Risk, no matter how much planning it may take.

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