A Year is Not a Moment

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I found out on Christmas Day I wasn’t pregnant. It felt cruel to receive that kind of blow on Christmas. A day earlier or a day later would have hurt, but not like that. Not the way it feels to have your heart broken on “the most wonderful day of the year.”

I felt the initial wave of grief for another failed month. But that grief became compounded when I realized here we were in the last week of 2015. The year had come and gone, but there was no child and no hope for one in the near future.

My year suddenly had a shadow cast over it. I felt the loss of the child that was never mine and the time that had gone by too quickly. In that moment, all I could see was what I didn’t have. And I allowed that to define my year and, to an extent, me. 

I sat in this grief for several days. We were with family, but I cried every stolen moment to myself. I felt so empty and overwhelmed with disappointment. But after a while, I felt desperate to feel better. The crying, the pity party, the agony wasn’t working for me. I knew I was only visiting this pain, but I didn’t know how to move on.

And then God spoke and the word He gave me was: stability. I reflected on my year in the lense of stability and realized what a gift God had given me. In 2015, we didn’t move or change jobs. There were no life altering events. Day after day, we settled into what life-as-usual looks like for our family. 

I needed that. I needed for things to stop moving so quickly. In less than 3 years time, I had gone from single to dating to married. From newlywed to new mom. From the place I had called home my entire adult life to a new, small town. From traditional work to stay-at-home-mom. These were huge transitions, and they made it hard for me to navigate at times.

Having another child is the deepest desire of my heart, but I think God knew better. I think He knew I needed a break from the big changes of life. I needed to find a comfortable place to plant my feet before the ground shook again. 

When I take off the despair, and the grief, and look at my year through the lense of stability, it was an amazing year. 

For the first time, I felt confident as a mom and especially as a stay-at-home-mom.

  
I developed such an incredible bond with Milo. He’s just so much fun; I feel lucky to spend my days with him. 

  
I’ve adjusted to being a pastor’s wife. I didn’t feel the same resentment when things like hospital visits and funerals popped up. 

I had an uninterrupted year of running. And it paid off…big. I came within seconds of beating several PRs and placed at every race I entered.

  
I learned to garden. And learned that I loved to garden. That was a big deal to me. I had never kept so much as a houseplant alive. But my garden thrived and I was so proud of being able to feed my family from it. 

   
 And there were so many more moments. Weddings, vacations, projects that added value to my year. I almost dismissed them all because I allowed my grief to cloud my judgment. My year was good. My life is good. 

  
Here’s to all the moments 2016 has to offer. 

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The Perfect Day

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I’m dreaming about fall. The crispness in the air, pumpkin everything, hoodie weather, apple cider, and the list goes on and on.

I’m looking forward to fall even more this year. You know those days, those dreary days, where the sun barely peaks out of the grey clouds? All you want to do is pull your hoodie on and curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and hot beverage. Forget work, no one should be expected to leave their house on such a sleepy day.

And I won’t have to.

I have no job to force me out of the comfort of my home. It will be great: I’ll put on my favorite hoodie and sweatpants, sit down with a cup of coffee, and stare dreamily out the bay window in my living room. I will think about how gross it is outside and how lucky I am to be inside with no place to go.

It will be the perfectly quiet morning. Wait. Too quiet. Where’s my child? Oh, over in the corner. What’s in his mouth? Is that something in his mouth? Yes, it definitely just shifted. How did his diaper come off?

Get back here! Leave the dog’s food alone. No. Leave it.

Ok, it will be the almost perfect day. I mean, I should have a perfect hour while he naps. Of course on that day, he probably won’t nap.

60 Day Review

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It’s crazy to believe, but I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for two months now. In some ways, it feels like the time has just flown by. In a lot of other ways, I can’t believe it has only been two months. Most jobs will have a review within the first 90 days to make sure the employee and employer are a good fit for each other, so I thought it might be appropriate to have my own review.

I got off to a little bit of a rough start. I think the problem was that I was a little unclear about the job description. What does a stay-at-home-mom do? I found myself torn between varying priorities. Since Nick started work the day after we moved, I felt like it was my responsibility to get the house unpacked. I also felt overwhelmed by all of the boxes, so it felt urgent to get things organized. At the same time, Milo was cutting his first teeth. He was extremely snuggly during this process, which made “getting things done” very difficult. And frustrating. At the end of the day, I felt like I had accomplished nothing. All I did was hold Milo all day. But that was the “mom” part of the job, it just felt so foreign.

Once I got a handle on what I should be doing (taking care of my son first, house second) things started to run a little smoother. Milo and I would take time for a walk every morning, we’d play together in the living room, and then as he napped I would do my house work. The next challenge was the voice inside my head: the one telling me to earn my keep.

It was a phrase I would use with some of my Starbucks employees. If a person felt too entitled to their job and didn’t do much while at work, I would tell them to earn their keep. I didn’t need to keep them around, so if they didn’t want to participate in the work they wouldn’t have a job. I began to fear that I wasn’t earning my keep. I was focusing so much on Milo, but that’s a job that doesn’t really have tangible results. Nick wouldn’t come home from work and see how I was helping Milo cope with teething or develop new skills. I began fearing that Nick wouldn’t see the value in my job; that he wouldn’t think I was earning my keep.

I had to come to terms with the fact that the job of stay-at-home-mom is unlike any other job. The boss, my child, can be very demanding and his expectations can vary day to day. Which means my expectations have to vary day to day. Flexibility is the key to being a stay-at-home-mom and it’s something I will always have to keep practicing.

But l love getting to spend the days with Milo. Watching him learn and explore is the most fun and fascinating experience. We have our routines, like our morning walks, but we also have a lot of diversity in the day. One day I’m baking all day, another I’m cleaning, or we’re out shopping. No two days are ever the same, which I really enjoy.

So while this job has its challenges and at times I feel like I’m not cut out for the work, I believe what I’m doing is valuable and like any other job there is a learning curve. We’ll see what the next 60 days brings.