Stuck at Work for the Holidays

Have to work on a holiday

 

“Oh there’s noooooo place like wooooorrrrrrrk for the holidays…”

Wait.  That’s not how the song goes…

It can be difficult enough as a working mom to occasionally (or always!) deal with feelings of guilt and disappointment when dropping a child off at daycare or missing out on a poetry recitation at school, but these heart-wrenching emotions only intensify when that mom finds she is scheduled to work on a holiday or Holy Day.

Over the course of my working adult life, I’ve spent time in the retail and healthcare industries. Both are notorious for scheduling staff ’round the holiday clock. Granted, I think we all want there to be docs and nurses available if we have to rush a sick child to the ER on Christmas Day, but I’d be willing to bet a few of those folks are somewhat preoccupied by their waiting families at home – and with good reason. As for retail, REI made headlines this year when they announced they’d be closed on Black Friday. I’m not going to lie, this is a trend I hope will gather some major steam in the coming years. In the meantime, here are a few techniques I’ve picked up through working through the most special times of year – like that Good Friday four years ago where I spent the day at work fuming about missing the 3pm Veneration of the Cross. (I really identified that day with Christ’s lament, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do [by making me work today.]” I mayormaynot be paraphrasing.) Continue reading

Living the Liturgical Year With A Fork And A Knife

As a mom of four who works outside of the home, it’s always particularly challenging for me to try and find ways to bring the Liturgical Year of the Church alive for our family.  A few years ago we decided that we were determined to do a little something special on favorite feast days during the year to drive home the idea that our Church is a Church of celebration.  There is much throughout the year to celebrate, enjoy, and live our hope in joy!  We started out slowly, celebrating each child’s patron saint’s feast day.  We usually do this by making cupcakes or letting the child pick what we eat for supper that night. Slowly, we began adding little crafts or special foods for other feast days.  Along the way, I have come to realize that the easiest way to highlight a feast day is by preparing foods for supper or dessert that accurately portray the type of cuisine local to the region where the saint lived.  For instance, on St. Joseph’s feast day (March 19th), I make my good friend’s recipe for mostaccioli as an homage to his popularity in Sicily.

Mostaccioli for the feast of St. Joseph....mmmm
Mostaccioli for the feast of St. Joseph….mmmm

Another time, we had goldfish crackers on the feast of St. Anthony, which led to a great retelling of the legend where the saint couldn’t find anyone who’d listen to his sermons – so he went to a nearby stream and preached to the fish!  One day when I was feeling particularly adventuresome, we invited a few friends over to make cornbread and wooden spoon dolls to celebrate the feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.  Most of the time, though, dinnertime is the best time to enjoy saint-centric conversation and foods. Continue reading