Welcome! I’m in the middle of a series about how I decided to become a stay at home mom (SAHM) and the new adventure I’m on as I wrestle with school-age children 10 years after quitting my day job. Join me in my new adventure by reading Part 1 of my story and then follow along as my path is uncovered and discovered.
It’s very strange to be asked what you do in your spare time when you are a SAHM. If you ask me that question, you’ll receive a stuttering, stammering reply. I don’t have “spare” time. I just have time. I learned many years ago that I can spend time like a rich girl spends money; whenever and however I want! Ok, that’s not totally true.
I used to do a really bad job putting boundaries on my day. I realized much too late that I should allow my day to end after the kids are in bed so that I can enjoy my husband and what “spare time” I am offered. I used to have bad boundaries and work constantly. It’s so true that there is always more work to do. Each day is full to the brim and I can’t do and be everything that needs to be done or everything others need me to be. It was freeing when I learned some healthy limitations. It was freeing and super scary when I started asking what I heard Jesus whispering to me, “what do you want?”.
I take my role as a SAHM seriously. I desire to be present and available to my family and the needs of my children because that’s what I do and that’s where I am needed. I made that my job. I consider it a monumental privlige. I have all sorts of personal identity-good and healthy, bad and not healthy- wrapped up in that choice. Detangling them from me has been a process.
As my children grow more independent, I know that they still need me very much. However, their needs are not as pressing as those of the small children I once exhausted my body, heart and mind to raise and nurture. My sleepless nights nursing a child, soothing a bad dream, teaching a child to sleep at all even-they’ve been exchanged for nights of delicious and exhausted sleep.
I’m exhausted because each day holds SO MUCH running around. I’m in the thick of picking people up, dropping people off for before and after school activities, coordinating play dates and special field trips and school party arrangements. I help my SAHM friends in tight spots and my working momma friends in tight spots. (Solidarity ladies-no matter what your day job looks like.)
Life right now looks like a juggler! It’s gloriously fast. I love to go fast.
As my time has opened up in one way, it’s closed down in others. Summer as a SAHM is my pride and joy. It’s my Momma-time-to-shine! But it’s overwhelming having all my people around with their different desires and schedules to satisfy and to try to encourage them to get along with one another all day, every day. I feel like four different people are pulling me in four different directions. Will it always be that way? I know it won’t, and I know I’ll miss our time together.
I have 8 months left of this time in my life before everything changes. This month I register our son for junior high. He came home this week after the middle school representatives came and explained how school works and how to register for classes-and he was beaming. “Mom, at lunch you can get seconds!” and my heart just melted over how adorable he is about food. He’s a big kid and life is just now opening up for him. I get to be here at home to hear all about his day. I get to greet him and talk with him and think through things with him each day. What a job!
Later in this month we will go to our elementary school and register our daughter for full day kindergarten. Right now we have her in 1/2 day preschool-a decision I wrought my heart over. “Should she go full day, or should she go half day?” I have three hours apart from her three days a week and we both love it. It has been exciting and new and full of possibilities for her and for me. As I’ve looked for all my necessary paperwork I will need to submit on her behalf for Kindergarten I hear that growing whisper in the background, “and what will you do Tiffany?”.
UGH. How I hate that question.
I used to hate that question.
After two-ish years of praying, thinking, asking questions, talking and watching other women, God brought me to a freeing idea through a book I read over the summer by Dan Allendar. It’s called To Be Told. In it Allendar offers a scandalous thought to Christians; What if God is inviting us to co-author the story of our life?
What if Jesus is holding out his hand to me with mischief twinkling in his eyes and asking me what I want? Me?
I don’t know what I want.
What a question. What a scandalous thought.
I quit my dream job and gave up all thoughts of jobs or a career path to pour into my kids. I wanted to see everything they did and know everything about them. I wanted to be in every moment. I wanted my life to be used for them. I wanted to cherish and relish and explore and discover them and myself; and I wanted to do it together.
(Join me for Part 3 of my story later this week!)