Do you have any big decisions or transitions staring you down lately?
This year is a transition to a huge reversed-life decision for me. As a mom of young kids, I decided to continue working. But, today, I’m a Stay At Home Mom.
You might have mixed responses to a decision like that. Maybe you think staying at home is wonderful. Freeing. A blessing. Orxhausting. Isolating. Mind-numbing. To me, it’s all of those things.
I wrestled and fought and cried over the decision, and I chose it with both sadness and gladness.
Deciding to become a stay-at-home mom was a bit of a grieving process for me. But thankfully the decision was just that, a decision.
One thing really guided this tough decision. More on that near the end.
I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom.
Although some people love it (dream of it, even), I knew fairly early in my motherhood journey I wanted the best of both worlds.
After the birth of our first child, I enjoyed the back and forth of work-life to mom-life. To my pleasant surprise, I still loved working.
I really believe working made me a better mom — for a season.
Plus, I felt good at work.
I don’t feel “good” at motherhood. I feel appreciated at work. Motherhood can be thankless, sometimes. (Although my sweet 3-yr-old “I love you mama’s” are quite delightful.)
To make it even more difficult, I worked for someone that wasn’t just an employer, but also a dear friend. For over a decade, I was Carey Nieuwhof‘s assistant. He is doing such good, important work, and he’s a joy to work with. (Most days, right Carey? ?) I couldn’t imagine not throwing fuel on the flames of what he’s doing.
At the start of my 3rd maternity leave, I gave a resounding “don’t worry, I WILL come back!!” And, I did. My return to work was fun and fresh and I loved the team and the mental space. I jumped into work, all-in, for the long haul — in my head.
Then I started juggling bus routes. And daycare drop offs. And runny noses to the power of three.
Then daycare closures. And covid tests. And bills for unused daycare days. Add bleary-eyed after-hours hours after bleary-eyed after-hours hours.
Do you ever so badly want something to work, you fight for it long past its expiry date?
My energy hit an all-time low, as did my income. Not because I wasn’t well paid, but because I was paying for double-time daycare I couldn’t even use. In the covid era, the lingering cough is unwelcome.
Always needed somewhere I wasn’t.
Why I Chose to Stop Working
As though God slowly pried one finger at a time off this thing in my life I so deeply loved, I finally had to acknowledge that… maybe… working wasn’t working.
I threw punches and flung fits over it, I did not want to quit.
I believe in a personal God that is more than a great power in the universe, but a God that wants a relationship with us. And so, I wrestled with Him over this.
I eventually came to the humbling conclusion that at this point in my life – this stage in my family – this moment in time – this struggle in my soul – home is where I need to focus.
This decision-making magic guided me more than anything else.
Although this was not the path I wanted to take, it was the path I found peace.
In my experience;
Peace is the greatest gift God gives us in decision-making.
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”– unknown
“…in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7
There is this peace of God that never ever leads me astray. It’s difficult to describe – have you ever experienced it?
We don’t necessarily find peace on easy paths, sometimes it’s found through tears and trial and exhaustion (like mine). Maybe it’s often found that way.
It’s the deep calm within that assures your decision. It’s the absence of a caution flag gut-check. That sweet spiritual resolve that settles in after the decision is made.
Have you ever experienced peace in your decision-making? How would you describe it?
Deciding to be a Stay-At-Home Mom is a decision I made with both sadness and gladness.
It doesn’t come as easy to me as it does for some. Perhaps I find too much purpose or identity in work. Or perhaps I find too much fulfillment in productivity and appreciation. Perhaps those are topics for future posts.
But, I choose to trust that meaningful professional opportunities will be ready for me when I am, and I thank God for the opportunity in front of me. For this “Domestic Monastery.”
I believe in the purpose of this season, even while I struggle. And I believe in the assurance of the peace of God, even when all is not calm.
I will embrace this season in front of me. That doesn’t mean I won’t thrash or struggle or feel miserable some days, but it means I’ll keep listening, learning and leaning into what God is doing in my heart right now.
Are you facing a big decision right now? What guides you?