[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] S [/dropcap]o this week has been a challenge. I think I hit the lowest low of being a mom on Tuesday when I took my boys to R’s new preschool. And I’ll spare you all the dramatic detail, but I walked out of the preschool with a wailing baby in my arms and a heart that was sad, embarrassed, conflicted, and full of guilt. Our drop off did not go well at all and I got into it with the teacher while E sat in the hallway wailing. Not cool. A lot of things upset me about the experience, but the main one being that if I did not work, I wouldn’t be choosing to put my 3 year old in preschool. I would have chosen to wait until he was 4 and fully potty trained. I would have taught him from home and done all the fun activities of going to the library, going to reading groups, going to MOPS, going to lessons, etc. each morning. Yet that hasn’t been an option for us.
My personality is the type where I let things build and build and build until something eventually proves to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. When you live in the pressure cooker situation that we have been in, it’s a constant choice to present everything over to God. Yet somedays, emotions just get the best of me and I succumb. I have never desired to work and be a mom. I have desired to volunteer my time to serve/help/benefit others, but I’ve never been career oriented. And I’ve had so many people tell me that moms of little ones should not work, that we should have made better choices so that I could stay home with my babies, that they don’t understand why I don’t just prioritize my kids over our finances. And I’ve silently taken their judgments and criticisms. I stopped reading all parenting books as they were all saying the same, and I instead chose to read books, magazines, articles, etc. that spoke kindly to working moms. Yet I also realized that a lot of these were written for career driven women who wanted to work or who wanted the fancy house and car and clothes and so had to work to pay for them. Nothing about our house, car, or clothes is fancy. In fact, there is no room in our budget for clothing for Mark and me. We work to pay for our house, utilities, food, and to pay off debt from loans. That’s it.
And I know that somewhere out there are lots of moms who work and who play the balancing game in order to get their children fed. I know there are single moms who would love to be at home instead of sending their children off to daycare. I also know that there are many women who perfectly understand the weekly routine of rushing out the door every single morning to get kids to their designated places and then get themselves over to work. I also know there are women who play the balancing game much better than I do. I’m sure there are moms who are able to still teach their children at night while cooking organic, yummy dinners, and who are able to get out the door in the morning with hair done and jewely on. I’m just not one of them, and I’m totally okay with that. I don’t carry any guilt or would have/should have/could haves. I’m doing the best I can do.
Yet I also know that sometimes in life you have to just stop and say okay, we’ve been doing this situation for 4 years now, and by God’s grace, it has worked out. By God’s amazing grace, He provided a job for me where my babies were able to stay with me every day. By God’s grace, I haven’t had to do the daycare experience as my family has been so gracious in giving up their mornings to watch my oldest son. However, I think I’m starting to realize that it’s okay to say in your heart, God, it’s time for this to change or that to change. It’s okay to say Lord, You gifted me with these beautiful boys and with the desires to do these things, and it’s time to focus on them. It’s okay to figure out what works best for your family and to make the decisions to make that happen. There’s so much pressure in this day and age of trying to be this and trying to be that. Yet something that I’m learning from my husband is that peace in our home is our priority. I’m gradually changing from a stressed out, frazzled lady to a person who is able to commune with her God, get her help and strength from Him, and place her hopes and desires in His hands to work out while living life and being obedient. (I hope that makes sense.)
The beautiful home, the nice cars, the stylish clothes and perfect decor have never been Mark and me. (Yes, when we were single, we were able to dress more smartly than we do now, but we’ve traded that for raising two cute boys.) Living lives in which we walk in obedience to God’s heart, walk out our callings, use our giftings, raise loving men of God, and cultivate relationships is our heart’s desire. Living in a home where our kids are loved, encouraged, and equipped to be victors in this life is our desire. Living out the abundant life of love for Him first and other second is also our desire. And I know we’re headed for more and more of that.
I also know that mommy guilt has no room in my life. Losing my peace due to built up frustration also has no room. Even though preschool at age 3 is not my choice, Ryder will adjust and do just fine. He won’t be scarred for life. So I’ve learned a lot this week, and much of it hasn’t been processed enough for me to write out well. But I know that God saw this mommy fall on her face on Tuesday, He sees my son struggle to bravely try to do school even though he does not want to go, and He knows this mama’s heart and sees me doing what I have to do. I know that none of this is for nothing, but He sees and knows. I can trust Him. So I look to Him and place my desires in His hand for Him to do with as He pleases. And I wait expectantly for the outcome . . . and I kick all mommy guilt to the curb. It’s not for me.