Saturday, April 25, 2015

Working Hard: It's Taught at a Young Age

My father has worked his whole life. Next week is his last week of waking up in the middle of the night to be to work before 4am. It's his last week of working 12+ hour days. It's his last week of dealing with scheduling, coverage for all the various jobs, and having very few moments for a break or lunch. He is retiring next Thursday and it's 100% well earned and deserved. 
 
My dad has always instilled in me the idea of working hard. Life doesn't come easy to anyone. But life is surely better when you're able to work to support your family to have a lifestyle that you enjoy. Work is even better when it's something that you love doing. 
 
Over the past 8 months, this is something I have really, really struggled with.  Prior to having Elizabeth, I loved going to work every morning. I never dreaded getting out of bed. I never dreaded the long days, the planning, and the stress. I never counted down the hours until it was time to leave. 
 
But when Elizabeth was born, my priorities shifted. My love for teaching is still there, but it's different. It's really hard to explain. I honestly struggle to get out of bed some most mornings. I still get upset saying goodbye to Elizabeth every morning. I drive to work asking myself if I'm doing the right thing by going to work. I do look at the clock A LOT while at work. I sometimes race out of work so I can get to her daycare to pick her up.
 
But over the past week, I've been giving the whole idea of hard work a lot of thought. 
 
Growing up, my dad never called into work. 
Growing up, my dad was never late for work. 
Growing up, my dad worked 40+ hours every week.
Growing up, my dad repeatedly told me to always put 100% into your work, even on your roughest days. 
Growing up, my dad reinforced the idea of being dedicated to your job, always having a smile on your face.
 
So if my dad spent my entire childhood and young-adult years reinforcing all of these ideas about hard work to my brother and I, why am I complaining? Why am I sulking? Why am I beating myself up for leaving my sweet, baby girl at daycare?
 
My dad is an amazing father. He was there for me every moment of my childhood. He took care of my brother and I. He made sure that we were all happy. He made sure his family enjoy life. He made us smile. He made us laugh. He made us a family. 
 
He made us into a family of hard workers. My brother and I have had jobs ever since high school. He never once paid our credit card bill. He never once paid our cell phone bill. He never once made a payment on our car. We were taught to work for what we want. We were taught to work hard and then be rewarded. Nothing comes for free.
 
He was able to do all of these things while working a full-time job. He was able to do all of these things without me every asking my mom "where's dad?" and "why isn't he home?".  He was able to teach me about work ethic and putting forth 100%, 100% of the time. He was able to be there for my brother's baseball and football games. He was able to be there for my dance recital and musical performances. 
 
My dad worked a full-time job throughout my entire childhood and I never once looked down on him for working. My dad supported our family by working and ensuring that we had the money to pay for our house, our food, my high school education, and any of the other luxuries my family and I had growing up. My dad worked hard. He worked very, very hard. 
 
So, as I struggle with being a working mama, I have to take a few moments sometimes to reflect and look back on my childhood. I have to take a moment to think about what wonderful parents I have for raising my brother and I who we are today: HARD WORKERS. 
 
He's right, life doesn't come easy. But life is a heck of a lot easier when you have a job you enjoy and one that is able to help you to provide for your family. 
 
So thanks daddy, for teaching me about working hard. Thank you for teaching me about going to work on those tough days.  Thank you for teaching me that being a working mama is okay and that I shouldn't be beating myself up for leaving our little Elizabeth at daycare.  Thank you for making me realize that I'm providing a comfortable lifestyle for our family. Thank you for teaching me to savor these moments on the weekend when we are a beautiful family of three. Thank you for reminding me that it's okay to have two jobs - a parent to our sweet Elizabeth and a teacher to a wonderful group of students. Thanks daddy for telling me I can absolutely handle both jobs. I know this because if you can do it, I can do it. 
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9 comments

  1. I agree, work is far more easier if you love what you do. It's far too short not too.

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  2. Lovely post. Your Dad must be a great man.

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  3. Love this. Your dad sounds EXACTLY like my dad. I hope someday I can instill the same work ethic that my dad taught me.

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  4. Your dad sounds like a very hard working man! I also agree that work is so much easier when you enjoy what you do!! This is a great and very sweet post!

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