Paying Attention

// From the Archives //


I've read so many "to the working mom" articles and blogs. So many. Every time I cry. Real talk here!


I always had a working mom growing up, but she was a teacher and had the holidays and summers with us. My husband is a teacher now, and so let's just say, I am jealous. I wish I could have that time with my family. So much. 


But because of my experience, all I could ever see myself doing was being a working mom. In fact, confession, I have been judgmental of SAHMs before (as they have probably been judgmental of me, too). "Why won't they downsize or only drive one vehicle or be minimalists or homeschool so that she can stay home? Staying home is so much better for the kids. Why would you want someone else raising your kids?" "Why won't she go work? Her family needs the extra income, and she just sits at home doing nothing!" Sometimes I even think we cannot ever fully understand one another or coexist, which is obviously not true. 


But let's just be real here for a few moments. 


Both things are so hard. SO HARD. Motherhood requires more sacrifice than anything ever will again in your whole life. It is an honor to do it, one I never take for granted, but man it is hard. The hardest thing I know I have ever done. 


And y'all, It's 2018. Can we just agree to be kind to one another? Who cares if you stay at home or go to work, breastfeed or bottle feed, wear your baby or carry your baby! Who the heck cares!


We would all be better off if we lifted one another up instead of tearing one another down. Maybe we mothers would not feel so alone if that actually happened.

 

I am going to admit something. I never saw myself staying home. I never wanted to. But going back to work after maternity leave is always soul-sucking for me. (Sorry for the dramatics, but that's how I roll.)  I have gone back this week. I have grieved over this for a few weeks now. Being at home has been hard but so sweet for my soul. 


I love home. It is my place. 


Being with Eden has been so life-giving. So kind of God to have that time.

 

I cried so many tears saying goodbye to my two month old little girl on Monday morning. It felt like a part of me left that day. An emptiness filled the space. An eerie quiet. 


And I wanted so desperately to seek ways to work from home in that moment (as I have in many other moments). I wanted to be the person I had judged because the emotional pain of leaving your baby is indescribable. And the exhaustion that comes from the crazy, chaotic mornings and nights is not for the faint at heart. And maybe God will allow me to do something one day with more home time.

 

But you know what? I was listening to a podcast the other day. I am loving The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Go subscribe. Listen to it often. It's my favorite. The other day her guest was talking about the kindness of God. This whole conversation was mind-blowing for me. It is episode #220 with Tara-Leigh Cobble. SO GOOD. 


But one thing she said about God's kindness will be something I never forget. She said that God is faithful to the things He says He will do, yes. That is the baseline, the very bare minimum of what God does for us. His kindness is above and beyond. It is the extra, the stuff He just does because of how much He loves us. It is the cherry on top. 


On Monday I started thinking about the ways He was showing His kindness to me. He always uses my cousin Melissa in such fun and unexpected ways in my life (like the time He told us we would have a third baby through her! HA!). She texted me in the first hour of work to check on me. 


I am not one to say, "I'm good," if I am not when people check on me. So I was honest about how I was feeling going back to work. She encouraged me and felt like God had wanted her to check on me specifically that day. What! Talk about the kindness of God. The tears came again! (It's not hard to make me cry)


I saw the kindness of God in laughter and joy with my coworkers, with a feeling like I never left. 

I felt His kindness in my morning podcast and in the Psalm I was in for the day. 

I felt His kindness as I snuggled up on the couch with my girls that evening and sang "Jingle Bells" together. 


God did not have to provide a job for me. He did not have to provide maternity leave. And he did not even have to give me children. Those things were not promised to me. How kind of Him to provide them! And how kind of Him to love on this broken mom heart when I had to leave my sweet baby girl. How kind of Him to bring laughter and comfort in my tears! 


My life at the moment may not be exactly how I would like for it to be. I may not financially be free to work from home or spend as much time pursuing some of the dreams as I would like. I may miss my kids like crazy. I may miss home like crazy. I may be feeling restless and ready to start the next thing. I could choose to stop there and sit in that yucky. 


But at least I have a job. Some don't. Some can't.

 

At least I was able to have children after three miscarriages. So many are battling infertility. 

At least I have a beautiful home, no matter how imperfect it is. So many are sleeping on the streets tonight or on a friend's couch because they can't afford a place. 

At least I love the places my children are during the day- softens the blow of not being able to be with them. Some are not this lucky.

 

And if I can choose to pay attention to the kindness of God in the midst of all of the things I wish were different in my life, I can find gratitude. And if I can find gratitude, I can find joy. And if I can find joy, I can learn contentment. 

And if I can learn contentment, I can be filled with a "peace that passes all understanding" in the broken going-back-to-work heart. 


And hopefully that peace will overflow to those around me. Because they need it just as much as I do.


 

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13 

                                 

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