In a span of just a few short days, two major life events happened. I stopped working after 7 years and my grandfather died.
I have found myself unseasonably tired–bone tired and weary. My emotions are close to the surface, finding tears come at the oddest times. My energy is low and my heart is sad.
I’ve been working towards being a stay at home mom since the day I began working 7 years ago when circumstances dictated that I begin a full-time job when we moved to Florida.
Do I regret working?
No, no regrets.
In these past 7 years, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons that I’m sure I’ll be unpacking for several years to come.
Right now, the most significant observation/lesson I’m carrying with me is this–each season is for a purpose. Without working, I wouldn’t have treasured this new season as much.
I had to walk in the middle of crazy in order to see how sane mundane and ordinary can be.
As a working mom, my life was filled with the search for balance. Balancing time with myself with time with my kids and husband. Balancing healthy food choices with the sacrifice of time to prepare those options. Balancing the self care that running and yoga brought with other care of sports and chauffaur service. Balancing work obligations with home needs. Balancing work stress and emotion with leaving it at the office every day. Trust me, if you’re a working mom, you know this list is just the tip of the iceberg.
Working outside the home led me to understanding my value to staying at home. I had always undermined the importance of staying at home. Sure, I’d read the articles about why kids need a full-time mom (and trust me, those were just as guilt inducing as the ones about why working full time is best for them!). I didn’t fully understand how working pushed me into an unhealthy world of never being good enough. Every spot of my life seemed to tell me, “You’re not doing good enough!”
For me, I’m a full boots-in kind of girl. Give me a task and I’ve give you 110%. That’s a great quality to have. However, when it means dividing emotional energy and time between my first priority (my family) and my work, my family was losing every time.
The grass is not greener over here on the stay-at-home side. I was on bereavement in Ohio for the last week of my work–and arrived home to snow and Spring Break for my kids.
I’m still dealing with a child whose wounded heart ends up lashing out at me most of the time. I’m still attempting to calm the hyper energy of a 5 month old puppy. The bills are still there with less money to pay them. The paint still needs to be touched up and kids are still cranky from lack of sleep and boredom. My empty heart once filled with a BIG presence grandfather is still an open sore.
Yet, in the midst of all this, I think about a quote I read from this amazing book, “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi.
“You that seek what life is in death, Now find it air that once was breath. New names unknown, old names gone; Till time end bodies, but souls none. Reader! then make time, while you be, But steps to your eternity.”
–Baron Brooke Fulke Greveille “Calaelica 83”
Life is short–summed up with just two dates–start and end. It’s up to me to make time while I am here, focusing on each breath before it becomes air.