One thing I have noticed since God brought me home is that I am about 100% less stressed out. I'm totally committed to the things of this home and this family, and there is literally nothing else to distract me. I'm sure other people are better at compartmentalizing than me, but when I worked and got home in the evenings I was already spent, only to have to do the things that absolutely had to be done for the next day and very rarely involved anything fun, eventually crashing in a heap in the bed after having grumped at my husband and kids all night. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
So I still flip out on my kids sometimes - this is true. I am so very far from perfect. SO VERY FAR. But...the redeeming but...I am able to enjoy these kids of mine so much more. It's funny. I always preached that being a work-out-of-the-home mom made me a better mom. Some time apart from the kids was exactly what I needed to be great at being a mom. I said this with conviction, knowing full well the stay-at-home mom life was not for me. Even though I'd never so much as tried it on for size save for three months when I was twenty-years old, during which all I could think about was that life was going on without me. It took a two by four to the forehead for me to realize that was flawed thinking. I was kidding myself. I was not a better mom because of my circumstances. I was a grumpy, chronically-stressed, always late one. (This is a personal testimony and not an attack on anyone's lifestyle or choices, lest you feel defensive. This is about me, not about you...whomever you are. Phew, got that disclaimer out of the way.)
I've always attempted to listen to my kids, but the exchanges have a deeper, emotional connection now. The to-do lists, deadlines, re-running phone calls, conflicting personalities that I encountered at work are no longer playing in my mind while we converse and interact. And it's just....nice.
Why am I writing about this now? Because this time two years ago, I just found out that I was losing my job. It was a devastating blow at the time. It was all I had known. I had tried so hard to have it all, and I was about to lose a large part of it - my career. What I didn't know at the time is that God had a promotion in store for me. Yes. I have come to embrace my status as a stay-at-home wife and mom, now homeschooling mom. I have dropped the "I'm an unemployed engineer" tidbit from my conversations. Right now, I'm exactly where God wants me and there is a peace that comes with that greater than any performance appraisal or pay increase I could ever receive.
I really believe that those emotionally taxing few months back at the end of 2010 were all part of God's plan to get me right here, right where I am. He broke me down to build me up. His strength was made perfect in my weakness.
I thought that I would lament the life lost. When I got the news I was laid off, I worried about the loss of "me time." What on earth would I do with my kids at my side literally 24 hours a day? What about the more-than-weekly lunch dates I had with Sam? What about running quick errands on my lunch break? What about all that time I spent struggling through engineering school? Studying for the PE exam? What about that letter that came telling me I passed - that I am a licensed, professional engineer? I cried. Like, real life, ugly cried. That was two years ago.
I'm here to report, now, that I have survived with kids by my side, without lunch dates, without solo errands. The time I spent in engineering school and studying for a licensing exam were important life experiences, but they were not a be-all, end-all. They taught me how to commit. How to go all in. And, that's kind of what I hope I'm doing now. With my family.
So, again, why am I writing about this? This is my thanksgiving post. Late, of course, because some things don't change. Even when your life gets turned upside down.
I'm so thankful to have been brought to a place I never imagined I'd be. Teaching my kids while we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up. I'm thankful to have the unconditional support and encouragement of a husband who, I honestly think, knows what's best for me before I do. And I'm thankful to be gaining security in who I am in Christ, instead of expending energy worrying about what people must think of me. (Turns out, they don't.)
I am endlessly imperfect. My house is a wreck 90% of the time (the other 10% is when Sam does a good, hearty deep-clean). My kids are forever climbing walls (literally). I raise my voice too much. I always burn one side of the grilled cheese. The laundry - oh goodness the laundry. It's everywhere. So are the school books and papers. Then there's Leah crawling around, picking up tiny pieces of carpet lint and eating them. This is a snapshot of my day. And every bit of this is why I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. I am blessed beyond measure.
Today and every day, I'm thankful for peace amidst the chaos.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.