Ten years ago I made the decision to stay at home with our kids. Since then, I have;
been in tears,
felt like a housekeeper could take my job and no one would miss me,
been under-appreciated in a HUGE way,
been able to train, sometimes 3 hours a day, for my crazy sport
loved it again,
listened to countless books on audible so that I had another person talking to me,
held crying, sick, puking kids and been thankful for my decision,
been available to retrieve a sick kiddo in the middle of a school day,
created a beautiful home that is usually clean(ish),
wondered how all the moms at school pick up look so good,
starting to sound familiar to anyone?...
...I made our kids' clothes because I am at home all day and I figured that is what moms do,
then wondered how my mother and my working friends can do it all,
I generally keep the fridge stocked and dinner on the table,
have become a short order breakfast cook,
volunteer at school,
thought I would enjoy a multi-level marketing business because I could do it at home,
quickly realized I didn't,
become a den leader and a girl scout leader,
given up a lot of myself and not regretted it (most of the time),
watched other moms struggle and
was thankful that I was able to stay at home with our kiddos,
felt totally overwhelmed
and generally tried to do the best job that I could.
I know you are out there with your hands in the air wanting to yell "me, me, me, yep!" Hmmm, if you aren't then I am just going to assume you are, it makes me feel better about myself.
Our daughter just turned ten and I cannot believe that our time with her at home is over half gone. Although I do not doubt that being a stay-at-home mom was/is the correct choice for our family, there has always been a part of me that longed to be working, especially if I wasn't training and/or racing. Satan has constantly crept in telling me that I should be filling every second of my "spare time" with something that can monetarily benefit our family because there is NO possible way that I am doing enough if I, for some reason, have this so called spare time. Luckily for me, these side jobs usually involve my art or cooking or some other activity that I enjoy doing. My coach would beg to differ, but generally, I overwork myself with stuff I enjoy (or have convinced myself that I enjoy.)
Since I retired from run racing and we decided to double our flock from two to four I assumed I was supposed to go back to work. I grew up with a working mom who was nothing short of Wonder Woman, my sister is a professional and well, it seemed like the right and natural thing. What I did not realize was, although I am a college educated and talented woman, I have been out of the work force and am unfamiliar in experiences that employment opportunities consider important. Apparently, there are no paid positions for a stay-at-home mom with character references from Team USA and my cycling team
This week I received my third "sorry but..." phone call. I sat there and thought, "well, shit." Then I cried. I felt totally defeated, like what I have been doing all these years just wasn't good enough. I didn't really want to hear the "don't worry, God has a plan" speech because I know that is the truth and damn it that just was not going to make me feel better. So, I did what all people do, I got my dog and went for a run. Ok, so maybe not everyone does that but we endorphin junkie, torture inflicting, crazies, we run. Don't worry, when I am done running, then I eat, sometimes before and after. My band aid food is peppermint ice cream in case you were wondering and we did not have any that day!
In my world, there are very few things that a run, no matter the weather, with my dog and my headphones plugged in to the kick ass mix that my girlfriend Katie made me, to make everything
better more bearable. Plus, there is something about Christian rock that clears your head. It funny how that works. Combine that run with todays ride in what could quite possibly be the most beautiful road cycling on God's creation and this is what I have come up with:
- I cannot base my identity on what I do, get done or achieve. For me it is my athletics. That is a hard one for me. I am trying to get over it, just be patient and give me time, I really am trying. Over this past week of celebrating the resurrection of Christ I am reminded that, as the song says, I am not loved and forgiven by Him because of who I am but because of what He has done, not because of what I have done but because of who He is! Therefor as much as I want it to be about me, it just isn't.
- My job, which I chose ten years ago, is important. I may feel like it is menial but 416 menial tasks throughout the day make for a pretty big job.
- Make a mental note to keep reminding myself that I chose this job, no application, interview or experience needed.
- I cannot compare myself with the other mothers. I have no idea what their day entails and they mine. Yes, totally easier said than done but damn it, I have days where I just cannot pull of Montana Momma Barbie. If you can, you rock! I choose to surrender myself to His word and know that I can only do what is motherly possible during my days. This also means that you cannot be mad at the people that are out on gorgeous days riding their bikes or running on the road in front of your house while you are reviewing spelling words with your fourth grader or scrubbing bathroom floors. Just me again? My bad, at least I know my BFF feels the same way. You know who you are.
and the work you have been given,
and then sink yourself into that...
Don't compare yourself with others."
--Galatians 6:4 MSG
- Make time for yourself and for your friends. I am the WORST at this, it drives my coach crazy. I sit down for lunch now and consider that "me" time but ask me to be social and that is a WHOA horsey!!!! Even if they are cyber friends, girl friends are a fundamental key to a woman's mental health. Suck it up and get out of your comfort zone once in awhile if that is what it takes. I am so thankful that I took that leap this year.
- Your husband is not a woman, we cannot expect them to listen, answer or care like a girlfriend does! Go back to the statement above and reread.
- Put "Who Am I" by the Casting Crowns on your playlist. Jot down the lyrics for your mirror, your fridge, whatever. The words speak to me and remind me of, well, everything! I am so thankful that I opened myself up to the friendship that I made with Katie or I would not have been introduced to them through the killer mix she made me. Yes, I did just make a 1980's mixed tape reference, but it's true.
What? You want to read these lyrics that inspired the genius behind this incredible post? Well, I have included some of them for your reading leisure at the bottom of this post. As for me, I need to get to the grocery store. Our gigantic fridge is empty. No, seriously, I cannot think of one meal that includes a frozen chicken, jam and buttermilk powder and I have a family to feed.
That is part of my job after all and if you ask my family, it is a pretty important one.
WHO AM I BY THE CASTING CROWNS
Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart.
Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You're
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours
Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again.
Who am I, that the Voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me
not because of who I am
but because of what You done
not because of what I done
but because of who you are