A long, long time ago, in a not so distant galaxy I used to have a job. That paid. It was a lovely bank job, using furniture that was not duct taped, enjoying the latest in technological devices, all with a boss that thanked me for my hard work. Then there was the money I received, every week! And the health insurance, retirement plans, vacation time and sick days. There was opportunity for advancement and reimbursement for educational costs.

So how the heck did I get here – sitting on a chair with ripped upholstery, using a pc who’s operating system will self-implode in exactly 9 days? It’s not like I don’t work. I work very hard at my jobs of parenting, homeschooling, community volunteering, coaching robotics and lactation counseling, not to mention house, yard and lately even road work. I don’t get paid a cent for any of it. Does that mean my work is undervalued? Am I receiving an appropriate compensation plan?

Here’s how I view  it. I can look at my kids and see intelligence, integrity and good health. That is absolutely the best benefit package I can imagine. I see my 11-year-old son tirelessly mentoring his robotics club, my 9-year-old-daughter helping out as a mother’s helper for our neighbors, and my 9-year-old son blossoming as a humble athlete. If I can ignore the lack of new material goods in my home; if I can forget about a vacation and try to remember that I live in vacationland; if I can just look my kids in the eye and know I did my best, then it’s better than any paycheck I ever received.

Mary Thibodeau-Gagnon

Mary homeschools her two sons in a rural area of Maine, while her daughter goes to school. She strives to meet the needs of all her kids while maintaining her sanity.