For years, I thought there was nothing I wanted more than exactly what I had. I was a stay-at-home mom, mostly, with a dash of freelancer thrown in for stimulation and spending money. It was an extreme privilege to be home with my kids before they started school, and even when they went to school, to be the one who could be home when they were sick, maintain their busy schedules, and keep the house in check. It was a role that I felt defined me, and one I very much took pride in.
But then one day things inside me changed.
In December I started applying for jobs, determined to find the perfect fit. I’ve found what I think is an amazing job outside the home, and I wanted to share some things with you.
Stay-at-home parents: your job is endless. There is no time to breathe, your workday never ends. There will always be chores to do, errands to run, children to taxi, and guilt. . . oh, so much guilt. Should you work for an income? Should you work for more income? Are you fulfilled? Are you enough?
Work-outside-the-home-parents: There is no time to breathe, your workday never ends. There will always be deadlines to hit, projects to complete, housework to be done, children to feed, places to go, and guilt. . . oh, so much guilt. Should you spend more time with the family? Are you doing too much? Are you doing enough? Are you fulfilled?
I am entering my third week of this new adventure and it feels as though I’m breathing fresh air for the first time in years. It also feels like some days I have no time to breathe. I had no idea how much I needed this new challenge in my life until I dove into it. I’m also more tired than I was with a newborn, and can’t figure out exactly how to juggle all my responsibilities now.
There is still cooking to be done, bathrooms to clean, laundry to do, floors to be cleaned, chores to be done, groceries to be gotten, errands to run, activities to attend, but now I’m supposed to fit it all into the hours of 6-10pm, at which point I collapse into bed wondering what I’ve neglected to do that day.
You know what my seven-year-old son said to me when I told him I need him and his sister to become a little more independent now because I’m just run ragged?
One day at a time, Mama.
How wise he is, how powerful his advice. One day at a time.
Our children are young for such a short time — every single cliche about the way time flies is so true, it’s nauseating. The floors don’t need to be cleaned today, and the kids can eat breakfast for dinner three times a week. Perfection isn’t the goal here, happy memories are, for all of us.
This new challenge is exactly what I needed, but it comes with a steep learning curve, and my new mantra is simple:
One day at a time.