Monday, October 12, 2015

What Matters Most

I finished up my maternity leave about two months ago, and went back to work.  I was having a really rough time with it, and so I wrote myself a little letter.  I'm reading it again, today, to remind myself that being a stay-at-home mom isn't the only way I can be a GOOD mom.  If life isn't exactly how you planned, and "perfect" just doesn't seem to be working out, I highly suggest sitting down and writing out the important outcomes you want and you may realize that they can still be achieved (and possibly already are).

Dear Nicole,

I know you are about to go back to work and your maternity leave is ending.  I know this is breaking your heart, because you so desperately want to be home with your children and serving your family from home.  I know that it is no fun to have to go back to work. 

I want you to remember that you don't have to stay at home to bless your family.  By going back to work, you can be a blessing in so many ways.  The most obvious way is financially.  This is a blessing to your husband as he transitions to a new career.  You are taking some pressure off of him to be the sole provider while he is starting out.  You are helping your whole family by easing the stress of making ends meet.

You going to work also allows your chilren to grow in their relationships with other caregivers, namely, their grandparents.  This is quite a blessing for them to have a relationship with their grandparents. 

You are blessing yourself by spending time doing work you enjoy and are good at.  And, in turn, this blesses your home by giving you a "break" from your home, in order to enjoy it well while you are there.

And while, of course, I hope you are soon able to stay home with your children, please know that you are not wasting away their childhoods by having to work.  You are still their mom and can still enrich their lives in so many ways.

Remember your list of "What Matters Most."  Each of these things can still be attained whether you are working or staying home.  So when you are feeling discouraged because you feel like the important things are being overlooked, remember what the important things are.  Remember your list:

What Matters Most
  • My children are loved
  • My children are healthy
  • My children are confident
  • Our home is joyful
  • We seek God
  • We love others
  • Our basic needs are met
  • We have quality time with each other and with those we love

Good luck as you return to work, and try not to be discouraged.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Relationship Reset

3-year-olds are hard.  They are just plain hard.  Add postpartum hormones and a new baby...Well that's just a disaster.  And the truth is, things have been strained.  There have been raised tempers, lost patience, yelling, time outs and the gamut.  And many days, I'm left with the feeling of just being a huge failure as a mom.

But then, we were presented with this lovely day.  We spent the morning with friends at the park (activities are paramount for survival).  I committed to no TV during nap time, giving me time to regroup and rejuvenate.  And the baby chose to sleep for a good long while after the 3-year-old woke.

And then, he told me he wanted to sit in my lap while we watched Octonauts.  This is a scarcity lately, as it's hard to hold a toddler in your lap while rocking an infant.  So, with the baby still peacefully sleeping, I sat him in my lap.  And instead of "multitasking" on my phone like I normally would (because really, how many times does one REALLY need to watch an animal in scuba gear save sea creatures?), I put my phone away.  I soaked in his sweetness.  I wrapped my arms around his little body.  I breathed in his scent.  And even though he smelled slightly like a wet dog (as 3-year-olds often do), I still just basked in the moment.

And then he said, "I don't wanna ever go away."  And I didn't want him to either.  And we watched those scuba diving animals save sea creature after sea creature and soaked each other in, resetting our relationship and giving us a chance to start again.