Over 13 years ago, I made a choice; a choice to stay home with my baby. And that choice continued after each baby. 5 babies later, I am eternally grateful for the wisdom in that choice and that God provided my husband a job that allowed me that decision.
Many times over the past 13 years I've questioned it. I wanted vacations and nicer clothes. I wanted a car that was reliable AND had air conditioning. I wanted to go to the grocery and NOT have to calculate every thing I added to the cart to make sure I wasn't over budget. I wanted to get my nails done and a pedicure. I wanted our kids to be able to go to the best camps and extracurricular activities. I wanted our family to eat out at a place where the kids meal didn't come with a toy. I wanted to buy toys just because not just at Christmas. I wanted to be recognized for the intelligent woman I am. I wanted to be recognized period. I wanted. Somedays I wanted a lot. BUT, for the most part I was content. Because it was the choice that we made for our family. It was the value we decided on. I had every single second with my children. I did not miss a single first. I went to class parties. I held and read and wiped and napped. I dried tears and giggled and ran and played and I would not change an ounce of that time. Ever. I would choose to be broke all over again to have that experience with my children because that...that stuff lasts...pedicures fade, children that spend thousands on sports camps end up never playing the sport again at some point. We lived life together. I am so very grateful for that.
So as all five headed to school and the opportunity to work outside of the home presented itself, the idea was exciting. I still had strict criteria though. I had to be home when the kids were home. I had to have the same breaks and days off as they had. I needed to make X amount of dollars to help make ends meet. Not too much to ask, right?! The job didn't come. For over a year. A few opportunities presented themselves and the temptation of taking a job even though I wouldn't have the same schedule as the kids presented itself. A few opportunities that would require evening time or weekend time came along. Then this summer I interviewed for the perfect position for me and our family and I didn't get it. School started again and I was jobless. So I waited and prayed. I prayed and waited. I knew we'd make it whether the perfect job came along or not because countless times over the past 13 years I have watched our God provide for us.
Last week I got a call....about that perfect position I had wanted earlier in the summer. It was at a different school closer to home. So even better. I tried not to get my hopes up. I prayed and knew that if this was what God wanted for us, He would make it happen. I was offered the job on the spot. I cannot help but feel like God is honoring the many sacrifices we have made over the past 13 years being a family of 7 on one income. It's not like all of the sudden it's pedicures for everyone, but I will be contributing and talking to adults and wearing grown up clothes. It meets all the criteria that echo our values. Same schedule as my children. And you know what? He is SOVEREIGN!!! I didn't get that job I wanted this summer because this one is even better for us. His hand is all over it. Thank you, Lord!
So I joined the forces of working women this week and so far, I've survived. I've become a commuter. 1 hour and 10 minutes. A week. Round trip. 7 minutes from my garage to the door of the school 5 days a week and home again. The worst part are those few hours right after school that just stink. The ones where everyone needs help with homework and everyone wants a snack and one needs to find their jersey for practice and the other needs helping filling their water bottle and you need to stop all of that and load everyone up to pick up another from practice and then they all want dinner and you are still standing at the island in your work clothes having to pee since you walked in 2 hours ago.....yeh, that two hours....well I'm trying to remind myself that it stunk even when I wasn't working and that it just seems like more because you are exhausted from re-entering the workforce after almost a decade and a half of not being there. I'm telling myself that the exhaustion will get better or I'll at least forget what it felt like to feel less exhausted. And if that isn't the case, don't you even ruin that little pipe dream for me. I know I'm all about being authentic but I want to live in denial if this isn't going to get easier because right now it's that hope that is keeping me going:)
The good news is I love my new job. It is a perfect fit for me. I can bust out the work and leave it there. The kids are doing great with the schedule and adjustments and the people I work with have been fabulous and welcoming. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity. I am blessed with a husband that throws in laundry and hasn't complained that the house looks less than stellar and he ate subway for dinner this week. I'm sure one of these days I will be able to stay awake long enough to actually have a conversation with him too. Since yoga pants and flip flops have been my wardrobe of choice, I got some new clothes that no one has ever worn before and two pair of shoes this week. That is more than I've gotten in the past two years combined and I can now look cute 4 days in a row. So if you see me out and I look all crazy, it's the 5th day. I cannot promise hip and fresh on the 5th day.
I'm sure there will be some bumps in the road and the transition may not always be pretty but for right now, at this time in our lives, this is what works for our family. It's kind of nice to be known as me and not so and so's mom or Trevor's wife. I am just thankful for a position that I can enjoy and allows me the privilege of keeping mom and wife as priority #1.
For you young momma's that are staying home, I encourage you to stay the course. I know it is incredibly hard and there is no one around to give you a merit raise or a certificate for breaking the record of diapers changed in a single day. I know you do not hear enough how appreciated the sacrifices you are making are. I know that somedays you feel completely invisible....but I see you. I know you. You are amazing. What you do is profound and beautiful and so worth it. I know you are wearing a top off the clearance rack at Target and a pair of shorts your rich sister passed on to you after she was done with them. I know you used a box color on your hair and it is swept up in a ponytail with a little bit of baby's breakfast in it from that cute at first but quickly annoying phase when they learn to vibrate their little lips together. Oh, I see you. I know that you cannot possibly answer another question today because your toddler has asked you 70 and it's only lunchtime. I know you feel responsible for the rest of these tiny people's life. I know how heavy it feels. I see you. I recognize the hard and often thankless job you are doing and please know that God sees you. Please know that what you are doing is irreplaceable in the life of your child. God will provide. And someday if you ever choose to go back to work, something will be there. All in His time. And it just might be the position you have thought all along you would like and would work for your family. We all have our seasons. That first one lasted 13 1/2 years for me.
Praying for all you mommas out there. Working outside of the home or in it. It's hard stuff.