On Monday, I will not be corralling kids, dropping them off at two daycares, then sitting my behind in an office chair for 8 hours. After much prayer and thought, we decided I would leave the workforce and stay at home full time. Our family will no longer feel the Sunday evening rush to prep for the new work week…I’m anxious and excited, to say the least.
The anxiety part is what has been throwing me off my game though. Why, when I am so certain of the decision? It’s change. While I can handle change, I don’t really like it that much. And it’s not just a change in circumstances, it’s a change in identity. I rest on the foundation of my identity in Christ…but my identity in Christ at home full time is different than my identity at work. I know how to psuedo-balance work and home. Do I know how to do just home? Who am I in that role? I was confident in my skills at work and knew what to expect and what was expected…gotta figure all that out now for my new full-time gig.
Unfortunately, I can already feel the ensuing struggles with guilt. Wasting days. Not instilling enough. Hours of TV. Being a mean mommy. A tired wife. Daycare afforded us a reprieve of guilt. The teachers and providers spent more hours of the week with my kids than I did (ugh), so they also had a major role and responsibility. I could depend on them to teach well, feed them healthy things, and provide them with play friends…and plenty of viruses. Ha.
I’m always anxious about the “learning curve” period of any new job or life situation. I’m sure of God’s calling and our obedience and that this is right. But I’m unsure of how daily life is going to look and feel. What’s our new norm? It’s one of those times I can’t possibly comprehend and prepare ahead of time. It’s going to hit me like a glorious ton of bricks the first day…and more distinctly each day after.
But the good. Oh, there is so much good. Staying at home opens our family up to so many opportunities. To serve, love, and be and do life together. I can be there for my husband and children. I will be a homemaker, truly making our home. No, I’m not delusional thinking it will be sunshine and rainbows every day, but it will be so incredibly worth it. The good, the bad, the tired, and ugly. There will be more reasons to recognize and praise the grace of God and His mercies that are new every day.
I am not demanding all women to be stay-at-home-moms or demonizing any mother who is content and fulfilled working outside of the home. I’m grateful to say “been there, done that,” with nearly any work/home scenario. My experience allows me to truly empathize and understand the struggle and the benefits. It was an internal struggle about every six months for me. It’s just that this last time God used bricks upside my head, instead of politely knocking on the door.
For the first time, I stopped. I listened. I quit stubbornly slamming the brakes when thoughts passed my comfort zone. Or when I thought what God was claiming was possible was just too impossible. My thoughts were all over the place.
How could we do that? I couldn’t handle that. We would never be able to do that. It will be too hard. Our situation isn’t that bad. We’re not sacrificing that much. It will get better. But our daycare providers are awesome (they are, but still a justification). We’ll never get out of debt if we lose my salary. We’ll never have our own home.
But like I said, this last time was different. Almost immediately after I started letting go and taking baby steps toward faith and trust, God changed my heart, opened my mind, and reminded me of His promises and goodness. He flipped the script and my internal conversation was totally different.
I will not have any stress from work. I can more readily look my husband in the eye and have a conversation with him. I will have more patience with my children. I can grocery shop during the week. I can make awesome dinners again. I can focus on creating traditions and instilling good habits for my family. I will be more disciplined with my health. I will more naturally support and love my husband.
The new thoughts are multitudinous and cover a wide range of topics. Talk about a lopsided pros and cons list…once written down, the decision was pretty obvious.
So, what is it in your life? Never say never. Stop and listen. Put God to the test. He never fails, and His promises are true. While this part of my journey was major, I still need to remind myself that it’s a journey and He’s not done with me. I’ll never be “done” until I’m gone. I have no idea what it’s going to be next. What God is going to start whispering to me. I just hope it doesn’t get to the point of grabbing my attention with bricks again. Even if it does, I know that it will be completely worth it.
p.s. I will now be able to focus more on Pauline Editing and helping out with editing needs. Give me a shout if you want help. I promise I’ll get back in touch as soon as I’m done playing with the kiddos. ; )