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In hindsight, I made bad choices

Norma Najacht
Published: Thursday, February 20th, 2014

When my three sons were little, I spent an afternoon with them at a roller skating rink in Pierre while Charley attended a meeting. I took turns with each of them, holding them up while I attempted to teach them how to rollerskate as we went around and around the rink all afternoon. 
When we finally turned in our skates at the end of the day, the girl behind the counter told me she had never seen such patience.
Patience? I had thoroughly enjoyed spending that afternoon with my children and, while I’m not sure any of them caught on to the skill or thrill of skating, that wasn’t the point. 
I was a working mom. 
An entire afternoon spent with my children — doing anything — was precious time indeed and to be treasured. 
It was the 1970s and we young mothers had been “liberated” from the humdrum of staying at home, keeping house and taking care of children. All my friends worked and, at the urging of my husband, I, too, entered the work force. The money came in handy as we had been struggling to make ends meet on Charley’s meager salary.
But liberated? I found myself tackling a full-time job and then coming home to piles of laundry, a house that needed cleaning, meals to fix and three young sons to nurture. On top of that, we were being told that we needed to “find time for ourselves.”
I remember asking a friend of mine, also a working mom, when she found time to do laundry. She responded that she needed to ask someone else, as she hadn’t figured it out yet, either.
But mostly what got lost in the shuffle was that which meant the most to me — time with my three sons.
Years later, after my sons were grown, I attended a dinner for state officials in Nebraska. I sat next to a mother of several small children who had just gotten hired to a prestigious position with the state government. She was naturally quite excited, but the job  entailed quite a bit of travel away from her family. 

When my three sons were little, I spent an afternoon with them at a roller skating rink in Pierre while Charley attended a meeting. I took turns with each of them, holding them up while I attempted to teach them how to rollerskate as we went around and around the rink all afternoon. 

When we finally turned in our skates at the end of the day, the girl behind the counter told me she had never seen such patience.

Patience? I had thoroughly enjoyed spending that afternoon with my children and, while I’m not sure any of them caught on to the skill or thrill of skating, that wasn’t the point. 

I was a working mom. 

An entire afternoon spent with my children — doing anything — was precious time indeed and to be treasured. 

It was the 1970s and we young mothers had been “liberated” from the humdrum of staying at home, keeping house and taking care of children. All my friends worked and, at the urging of my husband, I, too, entered the work force. The money came in handy as we had been struggling to make ends meet on Charley’s meager salary.

But liberated? I found myself tackling a full-time job and then coming home to piles of laundry, a house that needed cleaning, meals to fix and three young sons to nurture. On top of that, we were being told that we needed to “find time for ourselves.”

I remember asking a friend of mine, also a working mom, when she found time to do laundry. She responded that she needed to ask someone else, as she hadn’t figured it out yet, either.

But mostly what got lost in the shuffle was that which meant the most to me — time with my three sons.

Years later, after my sons were grown, I attended a dinner for state officials in Nebraska. I sat next to a mother of several small children who had just gotten hired to a prestigious position with the state government. She was naturally quite excited, but the job  entailed quite a bit of travel away from her family. 

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