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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The decision.

When I was pregnant with Reagan, I knew I wanted to savor as much time as possible with her. But I also knew I wasn’t ready to be a stay-at-home mom. At least, not fulltime.

From what I hear from my friends who are stay-at-home moms, staying home is not an easy thing to do. Rewarding? Yes. Easy? No.

In all honesty, I needed a slower transition than going from fulltime legal assistant to fulltime mommy. Though, as I like to say, I think every mom is a fulltime mommy. Even when you are away from your kids, you are still mommy. Still planning meals; still diagnosing mysterious illnesses; still praying over them; still considering their needs. No. No mom really leaves all that behind just because she works out of the home.

For the past 2 1/2 years, I have been working 3 days a week. Reagan goes to a daycare that she really seems to love. I go to a job that challenges me, affirms me and earns our family money. And it has been, for the most part, a wonderful arrangement for us. It has worked and worked well. Reagan has developed some good social play skills and I have been able to pull in some money which we have saved quite diligently for our family goals. And I don’t know that I would go back and change any of it if I could.

Of course, when I made the decision to go back to work parttime after her birth, there were varying “opinions” voiced to me. Some people thought I was doing a horrible disservice to my daughter - because they stayed home with their children and had made that decision. There were others who thought I was definitely doing the right thing - because they had worked to some degree while their children were young. I’ll admit, some of these people were really hard on me and whether they tried to or not, they made me feel like I was putting my needs ahead of those of my daughter. Which is ironic because none of them actually knew all the reasons behind our decision for me to work parttime.

But in the end, I made the decision that was best for all of us. Our decision for our family. And I don’t think I made the wrong one. I don’t think someone who makes a different decision is wrong, either.

Brian and I had always wondered what would happen when, Lord willing, we had another child. Would we be able to financially afford it? Would I be in the right place emotionally and mentally to be a stay-at-home mom? Would it all work out? When we got pregnant this time around, those questions demanded answers.

We tried very hard to seek as little advice from others as possible as we made our decision. That sounds ridiculous, but its true. We wanted to make the decision based on US, our family, and not the widely varying opinions of people around us. I believed very strongly that God would somehow lead us into His will and make all the answers clear in His time.

He has. After much praying and discussing and leaning on the Lord, we have decided that is time for me to leave my parttime job as a legal assistant. It has not been an easy decision. But it is the one we really truly believe is best for our family at this point in time.

It is a scary time to be thinking about reducing income even further. Job security is something no one takes for granted. Income is something not nearly as many people are blessed with right now. I imagine more and more families are feeling pinched - just as we are. And to say, “God provides” is certainly true. But to not utter the phrase flippantly and irresponsibly is another matter. He does provide. Just not always as we think He will. I believe God provided for the family who loses their home to foreclosure, though that’s certainly not the provision they were hoping for. You get my drift.

And I’ve heard all the many phrases, “You’ll make it work. You just will.” I’ve uttered them myself many times when questions of financial standing arise. I’ve also heard the phrase “Its so worth it”. I’ve said it myself. I don’t disbelieve those statements.

But.

Its really hard not to respond defensively when people react to our news with relief and a sudden out-pouring of support. Because I think Reagan is every bit as special and wonderful and “worth it” as any other kid. I didn’t use my job to escape her. I didn’t keep working because I couldn’t “hack it” as a fulltime mom. I didn’t harm her by “missing” the first 2 1/2 years of her life. And I can feel the walls rising when I feel like someone is implying or thinking any of those thoughts.

I find a lot of comfort in talking to women who have walked this road. One in particular talked with me on Sunday and just really helped me voice my thoughts and concerns without any judgment or criticism whatsoever. She had wrestled with this same decision. She knew the battle inside of me. She had been on the receiving end of all the hurtful comments and harsh judgmental words. I felt safe telling her how I was feeling and what I was thinking. It was refreshing. I also find comfort in my friends who recognize that we all do what is best for our families - and sometimes that means very different things. I’m glad to say that I have several close friends who have never made me feel bad about myself - even if they have chosen other paths.

At any rate, I know change is upon me! I know that life will soon take on a very different tone and rhythm. I know that it will be a big adjustment. And I believe it will be a very rewarding, yet challenging experience! It is a great leap of faith. One not to be taken without a lot of support. I plan to work up until the baby comes and then begin a slightly altered role as stay-at-home mom of 2. I’m looking forward to it, too.

Its not easy to stay at home with your kids. Its not easy to work out of the home and have your child in daycare. Its not easy to leave a job you really love and are good at. Its not easy to continue working when your children are young. But we aren’t looking for an easy way out. We’re looking to do God’s Will. Loving each other no matter what that Will may be is the challenge and the calling. I’m thankful to have been loved through it all by supportive family, friends and coworkers. I’m praising God for the gift of His guidance and peace in this decision. And I’m prayerful that He will continue to guide me as I alter this course.

4 comments:

Rochelle said...

Standing ovation! :) Specifically to making your decision based on how God is leading YOU. Not how He is leading everyone else.
And I totally identify with your last paragraph. You've said it better than I've ever seen it ... Thanks!

Miz Jean said...

Thanks Rochelle! I'm glad to have the decision MADE and not be contemplating it any longer. Feels good to have a direction.

Stephanie said...

Jean, loved your post :) I will leave you with words that have been a healing balm to me lately....

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives GENEROUSLY to all, WITHOUT FINDING FAULT, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he should believe and not doubt..."

James 1:5-6

You asked, He gave, and you chose to believe Him. There is no shame in that :) Congratulations on making a big decision and believing the Lord in it. I think you've been a great working-out-of-the-home Mom and I think you'll be a great working-in-the-home Mom. Just think of all the great blogging opportunities to come :)

Miz Jean said...

Steph, thank you SO much!