I first started working for Florence Crittenton when my oldest son was eight months old. We had chosen to move home to Montana after I begged my husband to move for my dream part time job. The mission of Florence Crittenton has always been near and dear to my heart and when offered the job, I saw no other choice.
I had spent eight long months as a first time mother in a city where I knew very few people and my husband was working an average of 72 hours per week. I had no family near and very little support on my journey through being a first time mom and it was grueling. I fumbled through making decision the best I could and when I finally was offered the opportunity to take a job that didn’t make me feel guilty for leaving my son, I took it. While putting my mind to something other than being a mother, at my job, I learned some valuable lessons as a mother that make me teary eyed to think about.
It was just a month into working at Florence Crittenton when a client stopped quickly in my office to ask a off hand question about money (as I work in Finance), I answered her question with the typical “You and your case manager can come back and we can help you… etc. etc.” What happened next has resonated with me and is continuously the story I tell many people just WHY the work we do at Florence Crittenton is SO important.
She asked me about the pictures of my son that I had up and how old he was and some other typical mom-to-mom questions. I answered, happy to share the details about my son. Her face suddenly turned concerned and she said “Sometimes I am afraid that I am doing it wrong, being a mom, I mean.” I laughed out loud and I told her simply “Me too, I think it every… single… day.” She looked at me, with a need for reassurance and asked, “does it get easier?” I did not laugh this time, I simply told her “Yes, yes it does. And the most valuable thing I have as a mother is support. We have an infinite amount of support at Florence Crittenton, specifically for you.” She left my office with the cheer, typical of a teenager, moving on quickly from what I felt was a heavy conversation.
What resonated with me was this; it does not matter if you are 15, 23, 34, or 45… being a first time mother is difficult. Now, being a mother of two, I have learned being a parent in general is difficult. You second guess yourself constantly. Am I doing it right? Will my child be okay? Will I be okay? These feelings and fears are universal. What gets us through it is the support of other people, especially other parents. Yes, yes you are doing it right. Yes your child will be okay. Yes, you will be okay. That is what Florence Crittenton has to give, the support that all parents need. It took me no time at all to see that and I am forever grateful.