Peg: My mulitasking mom #AtoZChallenge

P is for Peg: My mulitasking mom. Sixteenth of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

My mom Peg was also career building during my early teens (1963-65) — but unlike Dad, she had other pulls on her time.

So Mom developed her School Music Educator career more slowly — while also meeting the demands of motherhood, an active social life and volunteer work at our church and a local hospital.

Our family circa 1964. That’s me,14, standing behind Mom,38, with the rest of our large family. Somehow my multitasking Mom managed to skillfully balance motherhood, work, fun and volunteering in a way I did not fully appreciate in my early teens. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Mother of five: from teen to toddlers

At home, Peg was a no-nonsense mother. Caught up as I was in my early teen world, I sometimes bristled under her demands to keep my grades up and to generally behave myself at school and on the block (enforced by occasional groundings).

But looking back, I am now amazed at all that she accomplished while simultaneously raising five children — who in the early 1960s ranged from a teen to toddlers, as shown above.

Back to teaching

Once my brothers and I were in school, Mom commuted to Ithaca College at night for her masters in Music Education — and also substitute taught in the Endwell public schools.

Sheet music, metronome and a flute-like recorder. There was always a metronome ticking away at our house to keep time for our music lessons. Mom coupled motherhood with building her career, getting her permanent music teacher certificate in 1964 and returning to teaching when my sisters were still little. The flute-like recorder was one of Mom’s favorite instruments, which she continued playing until well into her senior years. Photo: Pixabay

After Mom finished grad school, my sisters were born and she was back to homemaking again full-time. Nevertheless, she made sure to get her permanent music teacher license, which was awarded in 1964. And while my sisters were still little, she resumed teaching in the local parochial schools.

Life of the party

Yet it was not all work for Mom — who was then in her late 30s. At a Malverne Road reunion a couple of years ago, our across-the-street neighbor told me an entertaining story about what Mom and the other mothers got up to during their weekdays at home.

Moms cocktail hour. At a recent block reunion, a neighbor told me, “Peg called around and said she had seen a recipe for a new cocktail and wouldn’t we like to try it?” The moms had such a good time they secretly repeated their cocktail hour on occasion. And here I thought it was only the kids on our block who were sneaking around to have fun! Graphic: Pixabay

“Peg called around and said she had seen a recipe for a new cocktail and wouldn’t we like to try it?” she told me. “So after our husbands left for work and the children were in school, Peg had us all over one afternoon and we had a great time with that new cocktail!”

Such a good time, in fact, that they secretly repeated their cocktail hour on occasion. “And we made sure to clean up and get back home before our husbands and children returned,” emphasized the neighbor.

Well, well. And I always thought it was only us kids on the block sneaking around to have some fun!

Volunteer work

Peg (Laurence) Charboneau (c. 1964). School photo of Mom during her Endwell teaching years. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Yet even with teaching and raising a family, Mom also found time for volunteer work.

For years, she used her music skills to lead the choir at Endwell’s Christ the King RC Church — and thus expanded her social life.

I  still remember the friendships Mom made with couples from church who came over to play board games with her and Dad — laughing and carrying on and keeping us kids awake until all hours!

Mom also served as a Pink Lady hospital volunteer one night a week — and she had to stand up to Dad to do it, because he thought she should be getting paid.

Multitasking Mom

In short, during my early teens my mom Peg was multitasking long before the word was invented — and doing it in a balanced way. A bit of homemaking, a bit of work, a bit of fun, then giving back with some volunteering — yet all the while incrementally building the School Music Educator career she would eventually return to full time.

Up next, Q is for Questioning everything. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time!

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17 thoughts on “Peg: My mulitasking mom #AtoZChallenge”

  1. Oh Molly – your Mum sounds like she was a great role model and yes, made sure her life was balanced. Not always an easy thing to do. I look back and think how amazing my mother was in what she did and yet she had only one kid – me. I was obviously a lot of bother 😉

  2. Wow… your mom certainly multitasked with five children. I think the women if their era were stronger than today. Good thing your mom had no hobbies organ than her happy hour… good for her! Isn’t it always fun to discover a fun tidbit about mom that you never knew!

    1. I think the fact that Mom was a music teacher helped. She was used keeping order in large classrooms — and directing student and adult chorales — so she brought those creative, crowd management skills to bear around the house, too.

  3. She sounds like an impressive woman. It is so interesting how we don’t always appreciate it in the moment but when we look back with the wisdom of age we have a renewed respect and appreciation for our parents. My Mom balanced running her own hair salon with motherhood with apparent ease although I’m sure there were many challenges along the way. Weekends In Maine

    1. The mom who told me the cocktail party story ran her own salon across the street. My block was filled with enterprising moms — great examples for us girls who grew up there.

  4. Your Mum sounds amazing and definitely was multi skilled and sounds a great multi tasker. Even though she had so much going on, it sounds like you children were much loved. I laughed at the cocktail story and your indignation that’s it wasn’t only the teenagers getting up to a bit of mischief. Love it!

    1. I am also amazed that Mom drove an hour each way to attend grad school at night. Years later, she told me that my elementary school principal recommended she get her masters to build her career — and she took his advice to heart.

  5. I’m impressed by your mother’s multi-skilling and commitment to getting her Masters. I’m sure being expected to be responsible as one the older kids must have been tedious at times for you.

    It seems most mothers manage to multi skill these days between work, family, and community activities. I remember our youngest being peeved with me, in her late teens, because I was involved in too much church and school volunteering as well as work and family.

    I loved the story of the cocktail afternoons but not as much as I liked your indignation that the mothers were having their own hidden fun!!

    My US pen pals came from Girl Scouts…just think what an opportunity we missed.

    1. Yes, I had to pitch in at home — but I was so used to it, I didn’t give it much thought. Also, in my early teens, avoiding one’s parents as much as possible was a prime goal — so having a Mom in school and preoccupied with my younger sibs was a plus for me!

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