My son came into the world on December 18th, 2015 and it was the most magical and transformative experience for me. When I saw him for the first time, it awakened a part of me I never knew existed. I became a mother. The pride and joy I have for Oliver cannot be contained, and I unapologetically parade it with me wherever I go. He is the best thing I’ve ever done. Parenthood has disarmed me. Everything that once was fierce and resolute is now a puddle of love and surrender. When a little someone is part of you fused with your dearest life-partner, and comes out of your most vulnerable hour, you have no choice but to give in to the deepest, most exhilarating feelings of joy and tenderness.
My husband had saved up three weeks off so we could spend that sweet, special time together. It was beautiful, hard but incredibly important. I am so glad we decided to forgo vacations and miscellaneous getaways so that he could have that time to see Oliver in his first month, and I needed the help being a new mama. (Parents who don’t have the privilege of doing that, my heart goes out to you. These are the topics that make my blood boil. I believe someday all families will be taking care of to properly welcome their children into the world in this country. I digress.) Those three weeks flew by and that evening before Stephen’s return to work, my stomach and heart were in knots. I knew it was going to come. The regret, the pricks of feeling left behind. They echo back to feelings I had as a child, but they also are just part of who I am, my DNA. I like the action. I like working. I like being busy. I love being productive, checking off lists, and working until the sun goes down. I don’t necessarily think it’s completely healthy, but I do think there’s merit and strength to that hard working spirit that was passed down from my father. Staying home with Oliver was no easy decision. I never, ever wanted to be a stay at home mom. Even when we were thinking of getting pregnant, I made that clear to my husband. When we conceived and found out, I reminded him of that. I’m pretty sure he has heard it over and over again, like a broken record that I repeat, I do not want to stay home! And then I had that sweet, fragile, soft, vulnerable, and angelic baby boy. My heart was plucked out from me and hung out for all to see. I couldn’t just walk away every day and let someone else be there for all his firsts, to connect with him for more minutes than me, to be his primary caretaker. When I tried to plan who, where, or how we would have someone else watch him, the jealousy and envy grew up inside me like a weed, shortening my breath, and I knew that person or place wouldn’t last my wrath. It wasn’t fair to do that to anyone. I knew I was called to stay home with Oliver. (This is not for everybody. I do not judge a parent who works full-time and pays someone else to take care of their children! God uses all things, and he can work through all situations. This is a case by case basis, friends. Please, don’t read more into this than a decision for our family.)
Staying home has been nothing less than challenging. I am so grateful to do it. Everyday. I don’t want to go back to work right now, at least full-time out of the house “work.” I will find that something else do from home until the kid is in school. When the time comes for when I start leaving the house without needing a sitter most of the time, I will GALLOP. But until then, these days are LONG. The interim is mundane. Life is so daily. But that is in any field of work. Going back to my barista days, yes there were the fun parts of making drinks and chatting it up with customers. I “miss” those days. Then I think of the dirty coffee smell, the nasty bathrooms, the mopping of floors, piles of dishes (you think it’s messy at home??? Go work in a restaurant!), and the cruel customers that drop F-bombs over mistaken orders. There were long days of wanting to be anywhere but behind the corner. I felt the same as a nanny. I was OVER playing Chutes ‘n Ladders and dealing with someone else’s kid’s bad behavior. College felt similar. The endless piles of homework and reading, the neck and back pain from sitting through classes & study sessions, and the tortuous group projects where you did 90% of the work but got the same grade as your lazy partners. What I’m saying is, wherever you are, there are long days. This doesn’t give an excuse to be stuck in the job you don’t love, but if it is the job you need to be in right now, the “stepping stone,” per se, those long days are important. I’m so grateful I won’t be a stay at home mom forever, but until then, I need to be all in where I am at now. All is worship, I don’t believe there’s a separation between what’s sacred and secular. Jesus died and paid for the hope and glory to be on earth, transforming us and the world around us. That needs to be lived and expressed in all we do. So, as I am in this season, I need to embrace this place and live out that kingdom mindset in my time at home. It’s not my first choice, but it is where God has asked me to be. Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh, and in a strange turn of events, God patiently provided Jonah the opportunity to realize he was called to go there whether he wanted to or not. Instead of choosing someone else, God got Jonah’s attention, through his own detriment. He was swallowed by a whale. He had nowhere to look but inside the belly of a fish to realize God wanted him to go. I don’t want to end up in that predicament! I am listening, Lord. Help our attitudes, eyes, ears, words, and heart to be postured in humility for what you are calling us to. Whether it’s a prestigious position, janitorial work, “bean counting,” or to the domestic life, help us worship you. May the hope of your grace give us joy.