Confession: Life has been busy (translation: a mess). I've been waging the age-old battle for work/life balance for nearly a year and sadly, life lost so long ago. It's been sitting quietly like a kid in timeout, scared to make a peep.
My husband did what all good husbands do. He made it work. He picked up my slack and didn't complain that I couldn't do more than lay on the couch lifelessly and watch reality TV or The Voice on DVR after work. He said nothing when my laptop crept into bed with us night after night. He didn't make me feel bad even though the beautiful Calaphon pots I just had to have went unused week after week after week after month.
It was, of course, terribly hard on my pride. I felt so guilty I couldn't keep it all together. The only reason my house stayed even remotely clean is because I clean when I'm stressed. (On more occasions than I can count, Musa has politely asked me to have several seats because I've gone OCD.)
I'm stubborn, so it took me longer than it probably should have to take off my Superwoman cape and admit defeat. The reality was that I couldn't devote the energy to our home that it needed.
Our home had no life because I had no life.
I battled depression and wondered what was wrong with me. I know plenty of working moms ... what were they doing right that I was doing wrong? I had lots of conversations that left me more confused. On the one hand, I was convinced I just needed to work harder, plan better, exercise more discipline. "Set boundaries. Only do what's most important. Trust the Lord," well-meaning friends advised. Still, there were the others who, "couldn't imagine me anywhere other than in the home with such a young child."
I prayed a lot. Cried a lot. Wrestled God for letting me fall flat on my face.
But home would not wait. My son began habitually crying whenever it was time to get in the car - no doubt a result of the 2.5-hour long round-trip to and from work/daycare. But the most horrible part of all, was the day he began crying when we walked up the sidewalk to our home. Every day since, he stops halfway up the sidewalk with our home in plain view, and bawls his eyes out. Gently, I'd try to coerce him into our living room to watch Mickey Mouse, or Elmo, or whatever else would occupy his attention so I could regroup and distract myself from the truth.
My son didn't want to come home.
I couldn't blame him. I was tired most days. Too tired to run or play or go on walks to the park. Too tired to read or engage in any meaningful way. I secretly started the countdown to his bedtime as soon as we hit the door.
Surely, this couldn't be my life. But it was. And even as I write the truth, I fear that you're judging. But sometimes life is hard. Too hard.
I'm just beginning to embrace the fact that I can't do it all and that's okay. I've always been confident in my abilities and I generally believe I can succeed at whatever I really try to #butlife. I'm only one person. I can always have a career, but I won't always have these moments.
So I made the tough but necessary decision to hang up my 9-to-5.
Again. (*face palm*)
"So, what are you going to do next?"
It's generally the second question people ask, right after, "Why are you leaving?!" And it sucks royally not having an answer. I want so badly to be able to say something really cool like, "I'm going back to work for myself," or "I've got a really good part-time gig doing [insert cool thing here]."
But the truth is I have no plans. And just the idea of making plans exhausts me.
So I tell the truth and try to be OK with it because I really don't have the energy to invest in worry.
"I don't know yet. I'm probably going to take some time off and figure it out as I go. Do some writing ... see where it takes me," is the reply I've decided on.
There is much to be thankful for even as I enter another transition. I'm thankful for the opportunity to stay home for a while and figure out life and what's next. I'm thankful (and thrilled) to be married to an amazing husband who holds our family down and gives me the freedom to work or not. I'm thankful for my beautiful son, my life's best work, who gives me so much joy and brings laughter to our home. I'm thankful for God's continued provision for our family despite all the ups and downs.
And lastly, I'm thankful for the wisdom to make hard decisions. Sometimes life is hard. Like now. But sometimes, hard is good. Sometimes "hard" makes you adjust. Helps you prioritize. Gives you perspective.