It's funny how the grass is always greener on the other side, isn't it?
It all stems from a lack of contentment, I suppose. If we were content with what we had and saw it as a gift, we wouldn't constantly be looking for greener pastures.
I realized something about myself last week, last Tuesday to be exact, as I had an anxiety ridden day and felt like life was falling apart around me, although admittedly that's a bit dramatic.
I realized that I like being a stay at home mom. I like being a "domestic engineer" (the more modern, politically correct name for a homemaker).
March was a month of change, change I was excited for and put lots of planning and preparation into.
I started taking classes online, jumping into a year program for holistic nutrition. Simultaneously I started personal training and teaching some classes at the gym a couple of nights a week. I dove into both of these things with great ambition and expectation. Expectation of being able to do it/have it all! It was simple: I would just work hard during nap time provided all three kids would nap long and at the same time, and get up much earlier everyday. Then I could continue doing everything I normally do, plus take classes and work a few hours a week.
After a few weeks of this, something unsettling began creeping in, keeping me awake and sitting in the pit of my stomach during the day. The program wasn't what I expected, first of all. But the unsettling feeling was more than being worried about taking classes that weren't all I had dreamed.
My house was a mess. Not just toys, but clutter. Papers and mail and bills I hadn't had time to deal with. Dishes undone everyday. Laundry forgotten about in the washer. I was spending twice as much at the grocery store because I didn't put time into meal planning and creating an organized shopping list. Meal time was stressing me out (do these people have to eat 3 meals a day?!?!) I was snappy with my girls and neglected to do preschool with them for three weeks straight. I neglected friends. And I was nervous all the time. Somehow, things weren't going as planned. Working three hours at the gym was actually 13 due to the preparation I put into each class/training session.
Last Tuesday as I struggled to deal with all I was behind on at home, I realized how much I love my job at home. My job of raising our three daughters, of being a supportive loving wife, of taking care of the house and feeding all of these hungry mouths. I love it and was doing a crappy job at it, not necessarily putting it on the back burner, but trying to put too many things on the front burner.
I want to do the best I can possibly do with the primary responsibilities God has given me. That doesn't mean not leaving the house or not taking on other responsibilities, it just means not sharing the front burner. Giving that one my full attention, and tending to the things on the other burners as I have time. I do have some spare time here and there, and I tried to fill that time with work and school, and quickly realized what got pushed out: planning our trips to visit the nursing home, calling a friend going through a hard time, writing, praying. When I have a margin in my life, it allows room for serving others and teaching my girls to serve. I want us to live the gospel we say we believe. I truly believe that the things we do every day, whether it's pausing our errands to go through a drive through to get a meal for a hungry person on the side of the road, visiting lonely old souls in need of a child's laughter, or taking daddy a special lunch at school when he's sick...these are what make little disciples. Going to church is great, but it's how we live Monday through Saturday that show them Jesus. And that's what's important to me. I sometimes struggle with feeling unimportant and unrecognized; that I'm just a stay at home mom. That I have to justify this to others. And when I really think about this, I know it's that ugly thing called pride. That in all actuality, motherhood is a high calling, regardless of what others may think.
Now I'm not looking down on working moms! I have many friends who seem to be able to juggle it all. Different personality types, kids older than mine and in school, and differing circumstances that allow them to be wonderful, successful working moms. This is just how I feel at this time in my life. I want to savor this time. Izzie is one, and now that I have an almost five year old, I know just how fast the years go. I want to give my all to this, right here, right now. It took a bit of floundering about for a month or so to realize how green the grass is right where I sit. Do I have goals? Absolutely! I have a journal full of ideas and dreams that I hope to fulfill someday. But today? Today I'll happily give my time to raising up my sweet girls. (And by the way, I'm still doing the gym thing very, very part time. Hey, might as well get paid to exercise, right?)