Here you'll find current musings, as well as the archives from two blogs of yesteryear: YoungMarriedMom and What I Learned While Writing a Novel. Please comment and share. We love well when we are in conversation with one another.
Last week I had an unexpected but super fun work engagement change our schedule, big time. What I thought might be a morning and maybe an afternoon away from home turned into three full days and two evenings. Which meant that three days of business as usual with the little man turned into half a week with him in New Jersey, living the life of a “real” working mom for the first time.
I don’t know that I would have proposed the arrangement on such short notice, but with a fantastic grandma, who happens to be a teacher—and thus has summers off—it seemed like a good deal for everyone. Jacob and his grandparents got some great bonding time, and I got a taste of what it’s like to be away from my baby all day.
Though I spent time with the Peanut in the mornings and the evenings, getting him ready for the day or for bed, and playing some too, it was nowhere near as much time as we normally have together. Thankfully our workspace was close to my parents’ house and I was able to nurse Jacob once each day, when he needed it (the bottle was a no-go). Still, I’d never before experienced that seeing-him-again-at-the-end-of-the-day thing, and while it’s sad to be away, that moment when we were together again was awesome. The kid has a killer smile.
Because Jacob is eleven months old, nursing less and napping more regularly, and because there was family around to care for him, I avoided the stress I imagine other working moms encounter when choosing childcare for their little ones, post-maternity leave. Knowing how I tend to over-think things, and considering how stressed I am about Jacob’s allergies and what to feed him both now and when he weans, I would guess I would have slept close to never throughout the childcare-choosing process, if John and I had decided to go that route. Kudos to those who do it with such grace and trust!
I know and respect moms who work in a more traditional environment than I do, and I’m grateful to have a glimpse into what their days are like. To some extent, I think I’ve always understood why some mothers go back to work, when it’s not about money. Before we were married, John and I knew our plan was for me to stay home when children came along, and try my hand at freelance work. But when the time came to make the transition, I really struggled with it. I legitimately had my dream job. But I knew that what God had given, God could take away, and this was a time I could exercise my trust in Him in a real and tangible way. I also knew that if I didn’t trust in Him, if I went back on what I’d promised my family, we’d all lose in the end.
Having eight hours a day to concentrate on something with only minor interruptions and to dig into a project I believe in and see my contribution make progress was great. I see how valuable that time can be in maintaining psychological balance in one’s life. I’m still working on work/home priorities and balance, and while I am grateful that I am blessed with the work I have, it’s tough to fit it all in sometimes. Having a chance to really do one thing at a time was kind of refreshing.
Still, it’s not what’s right for me full-time right now. I know that at some point all our kids (God willing!) will be in school, and if I choose to go back to an office environment, hopefully what I’ve been doing in the meantime—both my freelance work and raising kids/managing a household—will help make that a possibility.
I’ve been singing “Amazing Grace” to Jacob a lot lately, and these verses sum up my experience pretty well:
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.