Lisa Bauman, just another typical working mom Editor’s Note: When I asked Lisa Bauman to be on this issue’s cover, it took her awhile to agree. I explained I wanted people to read her story and know they are not alone. “I don’t feel like I am any better than any other working mom,” she said. “There are a lot of heroes out there. We are all in the same boat, doing the best we can.”
Sometimes we, especially working mothers, feel we are the only ones experiencing guilt and stress. It helps to read about others going through the same thing. I didn’t ask Lisa to be on the cover because I thought she was better than anyone else. I asked her because I know her, she inspires me and I want her to inspire you.
Lisa Bauman’s typical day begins around 5:30 a.m. “I spend time with my school work – I’m relearning,” she said. “I haven’t taught earth science for 12 years and there is all this new stuff – science changes!”
About the time Elise, her oldest, and she are headed out the door to Horizon Middle School, the two youngest girls wake up. “They have to have their mom time when I’m supposed to be leaving,” explained Bauman.
For the first time in twelve years, Lisa is working full-time and the whole family is adjusting. Bauman has four daughters between the ages of twelve and two, and her husband, Bill, is the Operations Director at the Bismarck YMCA. The whole family’s busy schedule pulls Bauman in several directions every day.
“I teach phy-ed right away in the morning, then four science classes,” she said. “I work until about 5:00, then it’s off to three different pick-ups.”
When she’s not coaching, picking-up or dropping off, Bauman and her family try to squeeze in dinner together and have some family time reading books or playing games before bed. Still, not every child gets all the ‘mom time’ they want.
“Grace and I started a notebook where we write each other notes every morning,” said Bauman. “She gets left out a lot since she goes to Centennial. Elise gets to come to Horizon with me.”
Bauman also writes her husband notes on their white board about who needs what for the day ahead. “I don’t think you can be a working mom without a husband who understands what a sacrifice it is for the mom,” she said. “Bill has really filled in the gaps and he understands that the kids also need time with their mom and the housework might have to wait – at least most days”.
Bauman met Bill when he was her boss at the YMCA and she worked as the Day Camp Director. “He was so shy,” she said “I don’t think anything would have happened if God wouldn’t have put us in the same office. We worked side-by-side that summer. I fell in love with him when we did Christmas in July and he was the Santa.”
Her first teaching job was at Shiloh Christian School teaching physical education part-time. When the school needed a science teacher, she added that and worked there full time for about 8 years. “When I had Elise, I cut back,” said Bauman. “When I had Grace, I cut back even more.”
The school decided they needed a full-time teacher and three days later, Lisa had a job at Spirit of Life church in Mandan. “I think God had another plan,” she said. Her new job running the church’s children and youth programs was supposed to be 15 hours per week. But Bauman soon felt there was a need to develop a family program. “I ended up working many hours away from my family on Sundays and Wednesday nights,” she explained. “If I was teaching, I would just be gone when they’re gone and the extra money would come in handy.”
However, when Bill was diagnosed with cancer, it was a gift for their family to be immersed in that church community. “Blessed are the poor in spirit – I always had trouble teaching that, because I didn’t get it,” said Bauman. “When you’re that low, that down, there is nothing else you can do but rely on God. He is there more than you ever imagined.”
“There wasn’t a day that went by – I would get up and think, Bill is at radiation at 3:00, I have to pick up Grace from school and Claire is going to be napping. How am I going to be three places?’,” she continued. “It never failed, somebody would call, ‘do you need anything today,’ or they would stop by at just the right time. We felt totally wrapped and protected.”
It was also the job flexibility at Spirit of Life that made it possible for Bauman to stay home and care for Bill when he couldn’t get out of bed for three months. Having mom at home, but unavailable at times, was especially hard for Claire who was just one and a half.
“Someone would have to take her downstairs while I was caring for Bill, because of the sterile environment,” she explained. “Then we traveled a lot to Rochester. She is the one that never wants me to leave.”
In the middle of the cancer treatment, care and recovery, Bauman discovered she was pregnant. “Her name is Hope and that is just what she brings,” she adds. “She wakes up happy, goes to sleep happy. Bill finally got it about a year ago when he said, ‘I think Hope is just straight to me from God, just my little gift.’”
Although Bauman was the primary care giver for her family during Bill’s cancer , she learned many lessons from those who supported her entire family. “I was so humbled as others reached out to us during Bill’s cancer. So many taught us what it means to love. Members and staff at the YMCA and Spirit of Life Parish brought meals for three months straight, money came in from strangers and neighbors cared for our yard. I learned when I cannot, God and his people can,” she said. “Cancer is an unbelievable journey. Through its trials, ups and downs we are refined and learn we truly do not have control, but must accept so much of this life. Thanks to the lessons learned by my Mother, and the God who will carry us through, Bill and I can honestly say we are thankful for the lessons taught by our walk with cancer. My life is better post-cancer than it was before cancer.”
Currently, Bauman is dealing with a challenge many others are also facing. “We are in the ‘caring for your parents’ and ‘caring for your children’ stage of life,” she explained. “We learned so much when we were the ones being cared for. It has become an awesome opportunity to teach our children how to care for others. It has been so rewarding to see the compassion in their hearts lead them to reach out and care for those they love.”
Of course, at times she needs a break and Lisa has developed many outlets to ‘let off some steam.’ She has great friends who are willing to meet early in the morning for prayer and coffee. “I can’t wait to meet with them and often cry out some stress or listen to theirs,” she said. “Women need other women. If you don’t get that time to talk, you lose your balance.”
Bauman sneaks in workouts with her PE class or takes the family to swim at the Y. “I’m always looking for time at Mom’s cabin, a bike ride, walk or a minute to bump around a volleyball,” she said.
Another release is being a part of a praise and worship band that plays at the Youth Correctional Center once-a-month. During the trip to Mandan, she and Bill are actually alone in the car and have some time to connect . Bauman also considers the time she can spend ministering to the youth a gift. “Those kids are awesome and keep us counting our blessings,” she said.
Bauman also considers teaching a great benefit. “I always wanted to be able to be with my kids as much as possible,” she said. “Teaching does allow for that, at least in the summer. And, one of my favorite things is watching people find their potential. Everyone has gifts, talents and abilities. Most of the time, they just need to believe they have them and gain the confidence to use them. I hope my classes allow my students to believe they can, and they leave my class surprised at how much they know and can do.”
But Bauman’s top priority is still being with her family.. “I just love it when we can all hang out in the living room and watch the little ones dance or attempt their latest gymnastics move,” she said. “On warm summer nights, we love to eat outside and spend the rest of the night in the backyard playing volleyball, jumping on the trampoline, or playing on the swing set or in the sandbox. These are the moments I wish I could stop time and just soak up the goodness of being together.”
She has a long list of ‘things to do,’ but Bauman is always reminded of what it most important in life. “There are so many things I want to do, but I realize there are seasons,” she said. “Right now my job is to make sure my kids feel as much love as possible and become the best teacher I can in the time that I have. We have to accept the season. I would like to be more involved in the church and community, but for right now it’s about my family, my job and serving God in the “little ways”.