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BRING IT ON
Should I Put My Career on Hold to Raise Children?
Pat answers your toughest e-mail questions.
QUESTION: I worked two jobs, putting my husband through law school. Now he is doing very well, practicing in a great firm, but I feel like it's my turn to continue my education to become a trauma nurse. However, we have a two-year-old son who my husband insists I stay at home to raise. Pat, I love my husband and my son, but I feel like my time is slipping away to finish school. Is he wrong to ask me to put my career on hold, or am I just being selfish?
PAT ANSWERS: That's a hard one, isn't it? I had a wonderful mother and my mother was rather prominent in the social scene in Washington. She was an accompanist to a violinist and they did concerts together and she sort of put everything that she had like that on hold to raise her child. Some of the things that may have come about in my life I owe to my mother, who just spent a tremendous amount of time praying for her son. She was there for me. Ruth Graham said that this is more important than any other career, bar none, looking after a child. You have in your hand the next generation. Trauma nurses are important. My wife has a master's degree in nursing, taught nursing, was a nurse, but raising our children, I think, was much more important. She never neglected the children, to my knowledge, in exchange for her "career." So putting that on hold until your child is up and around, in my opinion, is far, far better.
But many women don't want to do that. They will not sacrifice what they consider is their personal career and, therefore, they'll put their children in daycare; put them in the hands of people who don't love them and care for them as much as they do. It's a difficult thing. Sometimes if you have a mother that's around that can look after your child and give your child the same nurture you do, it might be appropriate to go back and get some education.
But being a trauma nurse, in itself, is a very demanding profession. You're talking about long, hard hours. You'd be exhausted with the work you do. And what my dear wife used to do; she always came back from the hospital with somebody's staph infection. It was unreal what the stuff would be. You're exposed to all kinds of things in hospitals and it's pretty hard to get rid of all of them, so it isn't a fun profession.
When our child was older, my wife went to school untll 3:00 p.m. She was teaching in a community college, so she taught. She'd take the child to wherever she had to go; go teach; be home; the child would come home, and there was a normal family.
Please, for now, put it on hold for that child. I think he'll thank you, she'll thank you and you will thank the Lord you did it.
QUESTION: Recently, my father's friend touched me inappropriately and made an unwanted advance. This has caused a real strain in my relationship with this good friend. Should I tell her what happened?
PAT ANSWERS: attracted to young ladies 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, whatever. You say, 'Well, you're old enough to be their father.' That may be, but they're not their father. And so these things happen. Now what do you do about it? Do you tell your friend? I think you'd be better to tell your parents and see if they couldn't settle the problem. It's tough for a young girl in that situation. That father should not do that. But one thing I think you should do is stay out of that home and away from him, because one thing will lead to another and he will get you in a compromising position that you will not want to be involved in and it could get rough. You don't want that to happen. I do believe I'd give a head's up to your own parents, and you do it in a nice way. Chances are they'd say, 'I know she's your good friend, but you have got to stay away from there.'
QUESTION: I'm a 30-year-old mother of three and happily married. My father abused me physically, mentally and sexually as a child. I have never confronted him and wonder if I should. He still abuses me emotionally. Now my children want to spend time with him and get to know their grandfather. As a Christian, I need to know how to handle this situation.
PAT ANSWERS: On that one, you need the wisdom of God Almighty. He tells us to forgive, and we are to be forgiving and we are to be loving, but apparently, that father hasn't learned anything. Did you ever tell your mother what was going on? Now you're 30 and you didn't say that your father and your mother were divorced, so it means that if you're 30, your father is -- What? -- 60, 65. I don't know how old he is. He could be in his 50s. But you need to tell your mother. And don't put yourself in a position where you've got to do the confronting. You're at a disadvantage. He's got a power hold over you, and you don't really need that. I wouldn't let my children get involved with somebody who's an old lecher, who did to you what he did, because if he did it to them, if he's a pedophile by nature, he'll do it to your children as well. You've got to explain it to your husband and you've got to explain to your mother what's going on. Don't say, 'I just don't want to go with Daddy.' 'Well, why not? What's the matter with you?' 'I don't feel right about it.' I mean, that won't work. Lay it on the line. Then if you feel like confronting him, confront him. He needs to find Jesus. You need to be on your knees praying, 'God, save my father, that he might come to you and repent of his sins and be born again.' That's what he needs.
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