My husband and I have three biological children (5, 3 and 5 months). We are foster parents but do not have any foster kids in our home at this time.
During the past 6 years of pregnancies and parenting, I have had a variety of job combinations.
I have worked full time outside of the home with my kids in daycare.
I have worked full time remotely (inside my home) while I was pregnant with my first kid.
I have worked three part time jobs while my kids were in part time daycare so I could be a part time stay at home mom.
I have been a full time stay at home mom.
I have been a 90% stay at home mom.
I tell you this so you know that I have tried a bunch of different things. I didn't do this to intentionally find out what works for us, but I have definitely learned a lot over the years about myself, my kids, my marriage, and how we all function well together.
And, let me tell you, it all changes. I had to change as life changed.
I used to feel guilty that I didn't have a set career plan. I used to feel like if I changed my mind, or our family needed to pivot, that I was somehow failing. Or admitting fault. Does anyone ever feel like that?
It's almost as if I had no respect for the fact that God gives us seasons in our life. I don't mean winter and summer, I mean weeks, months or years when one thing works, and then all of a sudden, it doesn't. When a spouse and children are involved, navigating those seasons is way more complicated. And humbling.
When I worked full time, it was difficult to handle the logistics and the emotions of full time childcare. There were a lot of tears. There were a lot of rushed, frustrated conversations. There was not much quality time.
You see, this season was not just hard because I had to get used to a new job and a new schedule.
It was hard because we had our first foster care placement (two 17 year old girls).
It was hard because I had to take care of my son after a minor surgery.
It was hard because my son received a diagnosis of an SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder).
It was hard because I had to completely shift the way I parented in light of SPD.
It was hard because I had an awful 8 weeks of pregnancy.
It was hard because I went in for an ultrasound that showed no heartbeat.
It was hard because no one tells you how to deal with a miscarriage.
It was hard because I had to make the decision to walk away from a job that I was actually good at.
But, I had an amazing team in that season.
The women at my daycare lifted burdens off of my shoulders I didn't know were there. The occupational therapist who worked with my son and I after he was diagnosed with SPD absolutely changed my life. When my husband and I felt clueless, we could look around and see we were not alone. And even more than that, we could get a break! Going to work felt like taking a breath. It felt like pressing pause on the diagnosis and the tantrums. A relief from the questions that never seemed to be answered. And we could take a break, because we had a team around us.
Some people may think it's awful that I needed a break from my kids, especially in the midst of a brand new diagnosis. But I hope most parents realize the importance of taking a break. Whether it is for 8 minutes or 8 hours a day.
And then the season changed.
I focused more on being a stay-at-home mom. I didn't think it would be rainbows and butterflies, but it felt like a season I needed to step into based on the needs of my kids at that time.
Am I thankful that our financial situation allows me to be a 90% stay-at-home mom? Yes.
Do I want to decrease that percentage very, very soon? Abso-freaking-lutely.
My husband and I have come to the conclusion that me being a stay-at-home mom may not actually be best for us in our current season. And that certainly doesn't mean I'm selfish or a crappy mom.
That means that we keep our eyes open to what is working and not working.
That means that we keep our ears open to what opportunities God might be whispering to us.
Stay-at-home parenting is not even close to the top of the list of things I'm good at. And I'm okay with that. As long as I'm aware that I AM good at other things.
I'm currently in a season of:
What the fruit am I doing? What do I want to be doing? What FREAKING steps do I take to get there?
And then every roadblock or tough day sends me back to thinking...
SEE?! This is why I should just power through this season of tiny people. I should enjoy this stage. I should ignore my dreams and goals and the tiniest nudges I feel from God because there is no time or space for me to be anything but a mom right now.
It's crazy how I believe God made everyone intentionally and uniquely with gifts. But then when I consider my gifts, I decide that there isn't space or time.
Well that's just bullshit. I know it. You know it. God knows it.
Maybe your dream is to start a company.
Maybe your dream is to work part time outside the home while also doing the stay at home mom thing.
Maybe you LOVE being a stay at home parent. Or maybe you don't but you consider it an honor to do that right now.
Maybe you are in a role (corporate, creative or care-taking) that does not bring you joy, but you are hustling behind the scenes to pursue your dream.
Maybe you are somewhere in between these things.
Freaking awesome! Just do what you need to do. What you want to do. What you were made to do. Make space for it. And don't let anyone make you feel like you are not measuring up.
In fact, take that ruler they are using and smack them in the face with it.
Your kids will be better if they see their parents embracing who they were made to be in each season. It will change, you will change. And that's okay. In fact, it's beautiful.
A FEW NOTES:
1) Being a mom is enough of a job on it's own. The phrase "just a mom" can seem offensive, but it doesn't have to be. If you want your sole focus right now to be on momming - more power to you! Do what you think God created you for in this season. Embrace it. Do it well.
2) I understand that people look back on seasons of parenting and miss it. I've experienced it a few times, even though my kids are still young. But be careful with the "enjoy it now!" and "don't wish away these little years!" comments to moms that are exhausted and really pissed off that they had to wipe someone's butt and then also get slapped by that same person who will likely throw their food on the ground. It is rarely encouraging. It is mostly just frustrating. I feel more loved and cared for when people validate me in feeling like some seasons are really freaking hard.