When I was a senior in high school way back in 1992, a group from my senior class, maybe the yearbook staff—I don’t quite remember—assigned a “Most Likely To….” title to everyone. These titles were things like, “Most Likely to be Rich and Famous” or “Most Likely to Become President” or “Most Likely to Own a Business,” and so on.
When I was informed of my assigned title, I was taken aback and quite offended. Can you guess what they gave me?
Most Likely to Be Barefoot and Pregnant!
Really? Me? That’s the best they could come up with?
You must understand that I was a college-bound, highly motivated student, graduating second in my high school class. I was president of the student council and involved in band, tennis, church youth group, and various clubs. I had no plans to birth a bunch of kids or be a (gasp!) stay-at-home mom. I was going places in life.
I let the “powers that be” know of my disgust at the offensive title they had bestowed upon me, but my complaints fell on deaf ears. I was branded, and there was nothing I could do about it. (Now to their credit, I did have a brief engagement to a young man from my church at the end of my senior year, which was later broken off, but even so, I didn’t feel that my title was justified.)
I went on to college that fall and took full loads, even through the summers, so I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in only three years, with a GPA of 4.0—Valedictorian of my 300+ member college class. I was still motivated and still going places.
I had something to prove. I had to show those label-givers at my high school what I was really made of.
Behind the scenes of my life, though, God had been working. While in college, I volunteered at a local crisis pregnancy center, to try to make a real difference in saving lives from abortion. Two ladies who worked at the center really took an interest in me and in my life. They were both young moms and they both homeschooled their children. I fell in love with what I saw as I spent time with their families.
Their children were so smart and talented and well behaved. My friends actually spent most waking hours of every day with their kids, something that was a bit foreign to me. In fact, I don’t think I had ever even heard of homeschooling before then. As was common in that time, I grew up in daycare centers, public schools, after-school sitters, and then was often a latch-key kid with my siblings. We had a strong, close Christian family, but my parents both worked outside the home while I was growing up.
I went on to finish college and was accepted at a seminary in Kentucky, where I planned to pursue a master’s degree in counseling. However, because God didn’t provide the funds for me to go and I didn’t have peace about taking out loans for it, I decided that seminary wasn’t in His plans for me. So I started my career, and I no longer crossed paths with my homeschooling friends, but the memories would linger and slowly take root in my heart and mind.
My first job was in social work, and I specialized in meeting the needs of home-bound patients through a local home health agency. It was challenging work, and I spent a lot of time on the road by myself visiting patients across five counties, but it was rewarding to help people and get acquainted with some wonderful members of the older generation. They had valuable wisdom and insights that would help to shape my young world. I moved on to a job in a financial ministry after doing social work for two-plus years, where I continued to grow and learn and make a difference in people’s lives. I enjoyed pats on the back, promotions, and the recognition that comes with being a capable employee.
A couple of years into my career, I met my husband. We had a short, whirlwind courtship and married seven months after our first encounter. As a newlywed, I was completely against expanding our family (not that Trevor was in a hurry, either). People seemed to ask us constantly when we were going to have a baby (Just an FYI: that’s NOT a polite thing to ask a young couple…..there could be infertility issues or any number of other reasons why they aren’t reproducing, not to mention that it takes time just to figure out how to be married, without adding the stress of a dependent little creature to the mix.).
It got so bad that every time someone would ask when we were going to start having kids, I would say that we were extending it six more months, just because they asked. But as the years went on and we were in the midst of building our home, the “baby bug” started to bite. A co-worker had wisely told me early in my marriage that it bites everyone eventually. I didn’t believe her at the time, but she was right.
So about 4 1/2 years after our wedding, along came baby #1.
Then 22 months later came baby #2.
Just 23 months after that, baby #3 arrived.
Nineteen months later, baby #4 went to heaven while still in my womb.
Baby #5 was born 13 months after that.
Because we were just halfway through building our home when our first baby was born, we still needed my income (we had committed to build our home debt free). I’m so grateful that my employer allowed me to work half-time from home for a couple of years. But for the last 12 years, (in addition to continuing to work a little from home for that same employer) I’ve had another job title:
Domestic Engineer, which includes, but is not limited to:
and on occasion, mechanic…..all rolled into one.
I’m convinced that it’s the hardest job on the market, hands down–unbelievably harder than any job I had before or could imagine having. I’m on duty or on call 24/7. I’m forced to put other little lives ahead of my own, to die to my selfish self daily. I’m responsible for shaping four little people into responsible, intelligent, caring, productive adults. It’s rough; it’s thankless; it’s exhausting. Did I mention thankless? No more awards or accolades or promotions. On top of all that, the pay stinks, but the rewards are out of this world. Literally.
I must apologize to those in my senior class who so prophetically pegged my future all those years ago. You were right. I admit it.
Barefoot and Pregnant? I would say most definitely so. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. For “children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him……Blessed is the man [woman] whose quiver is full of them.” (Psalm 127:3, 5a)