My story began in July 2010 when I found out I was pregnant and realized I would soon face the decision of whether to stay at home or continue with my job. For as long as I can remember my desire in life was to stay home with my kids. Before I was even married I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. It just seemed like the only option to me. Then when I got pregnant I realized that decision wasn’t as easy as I once thought it would be. I never imagined when I got pregnant that I would be at a job that I loved and enjoyed going to everyday and would get sad thinking about leaving it.
I also never imagined that. I would gain 40 pounds during pregnancy. Clearly pregnancy held several surprises for me. But that is neither here nor there.
Throughout pregnancy this question of whether to work or stay home was always at the forefront of my mind. I felt like I had a jumble of questions and thoughts going through my head at all times:
How can I leave my brand new baby with a stranger?
Will I miss adult interaction if I stay home?
I’ve always wanted to stay home, how can I even think of working?
What if I quit my job that I love and then hate being home and now I don’t have a job?
How can I possibly think I will hate staying home? I will be with my baby. This is my dream.
What if I quit my job and then we have unforeseen expenses come up and we are struggling on one salary?
How can I say I have faith if I don’t believe God will provide?
How could I give up a great job that I love in an economy like this?
How can I think about the economy when it comes to my baby?
Does it make me a bad mom to even consider working?
And so on and so on and so on.
It really was exhausting living in my mind during that time. Actually I think it was exhausting just living WITH me during that time. Just ask my husband.
All these questions were weighing on my mind on a daily basis, and I still wasn’t coming to a decision easily. For a while I avoided the subject all together. Avoidance is my spiritual gift. I can avoid anything like a champ.
But obviously, avoiding the issue wasn't going to solve anything in this situation.
Eventually I was offered a part time job at my current place of employment and I could not have been happier. It seemed like the absolute best solution. I would still be contributing money to our family income while keeping adult interaction in my life, and using skills that I spent four years at college obtaining, all the while, still spending time during the week with my baby. It really seemed too good to be true.
I have now been back at work for a little over a month, and while I’m still in the early stages of the back to work process I can say that this new lifestyle is working out wonderfully. I work 20 hours a week at the beginning of the week leaving me with the remainder of the week to fulfill my SAHM dreams.
I have to say, nobody, I mean NOBODY was more shocked than I was when I realized that I loved working part time. I had excepted to go through a period of being down about it and wanting to give up and thinking it was too hard to balance with all of the motherly duties that life entails, but in a weird (and ironic?) way I have found going to work to be good for me.
Yes, it is hard to balance everything that life holds. Cooking, cleaning, spending time with God, spending time with my husband, exercising (remember that 40 pounds?), reading books that I want to read, blogging, and the various other things that life throws at us along the way all the while balancing being a new mom which we all know is no doubt a full time job in itself.
I am coming to terms with the fact that I will never feel that I have everything perfectly balanced. There will be times when my house is immaculate and clean as a whistle, yet I haven’t exercised all week.
Or I will be on top of my game in the exercise area but I haven’t cooked all week.
I am learning to relax and not try to do it all. And realize that each week is a fresh start. Just because I didn’t cook last week doesn’t mean I can’t meal plan this week and get back on track.
I will admit, there have been times when I have felt guilty for enjoying work. I’m not sure if I actually feel guilty or if I feel like I’m supposed to feel guilty? I enjoy my time at work and then wonder if it’s wrong that I enjoy that time? Shouldn’t I be sitting and crying about how much I miss my baby?
I do miss him, but I also enjoy the time at the office. Which is why I feel like working part time offers me the best of both worlds.
Plus, as with everything this is just a season of life. This is something that I feel like God reminds me daily and it has helped me get through so many areas of my life. Believe me there were many times prior to going back to work that I pouted and had adult versions of a "temper tantrum" but ultimately I knew this was what God wanted for our family in this season and I could sulk about it, or choose to follow Him and learn and grow. He has shown me that just because I think I HAVE to have something doesn't mean it is the very best for me or for my family. If I seek to find my happiness in Him and not my situation I will truly be happy. And I am.
This is what works for us now and I love it.
Maybe one day I will have it all together. My house will be clean all the time, I will cook nutrious and delicious meals every single night while finding time in my day to exercise, do my devotion and spend adequate time with my husband all while reading the latest and greatest books, oh and being a #1 mom all the time.
Ha! Probably not. But a girl can dream!
Here is a picture of Eli and I at my office a couple of weeks ago. I had to go in for a meeting on my day off so little man went with me. Being a working mom is also all about being flexible!!!