There's been a big change in our house lately.
So big, in fact, that it took me an entire summer to write.
I'm going back to my roots.
To who I am, who I want to be...and all that this entails.
I'm going to be a mom.
"Sandy, you're already a mom," you say.
Yes, I am.
But not the mom I wanted to be.
Flashback with me to about 7 years ago (well, 7 1/2, but who's counting? Yeah...I totally am). We had just recently(ish) moved into the Love Shack. We spent all our easy cash on purchasing our house (for cash), redoing the entire septic field (cha-ching!), and building a pole barn.
Our cash was lower than we needed to build the addition. So, this opportunity comes along to work from home, and it was an answer to prayer. A. took FANTASTIC 3.5 hour naps in the afternoon, and I could make calls during that time and write up reports after bedtime. It was a great solution to get us from point A to point B. We were so thankful.
C. was born approximately 32 weeks after I started the job. (note the timing there? yep...felt FANTASTIC during orientation...statement heavily laden with sarcasm...). When C. arrived, he was a dream baby.
Two weeks after C. was born, A. went to 5 day-per-week preschool, C. took a 2 hour morning nap. When A. got home from school, he ate lunch and took a 3 hour nap...at the same time C. took another 2.5 hour nap.
I was blessed.
Great sleepers. Bliss. I got work done, I slept well at night, and I was showered daily. Heaven.
As the boys grew...so did their demands.
For my time.
For my energy.
For a lot.
Financially demands grew too - tuition, health care premiums (thank you, Obamacare...seriously! But that's another topic for another post). My income helped with premiums and tuition. That's it.
In the meantime, I had two little boys who saw the back of my head more than they saw my face. The stranger I was talking to on the phone was more important than the cut on their finger. They were watching more TV than I wanted to admit. Really....it was an insane amount. My house was a mess, my realationships were slipping away because I was always choosing to work, things just weren't.....working.
But I didn't realize it.
I kept plugging away. Earning my paycheck.
Here's also where I say:
I'll admit I'm not the best of employees.
Especially when I don't really feel passionately or even particularly enjoy what I'm going.
I am VERY right brained.
I have the ability to think logically. I have the ability to make left-brained things work.
But it's like sanding wood against the grain:
You'll reach your desired outcome...it just may take more effort and friction.
This job? Numbers. Lots of numbers. Entering numbers into a report to make sure they're placed under the right number codes. Making sure the numbers entered matched other numbers...and more numbers. I can do numbers...really I can. I can MAKE it work... But, was I?
So, there were times I wondered how well I was doing. Sometimes I knew I wasn't doing as much as I should have been, but without a specific quota, I had no idea. Until you got yelled at, there was no way of knowing. So, after a long discussion with my boss (5 years into employment) I had a quota. As I struggled to achieve that every week, the stress continued to climb.
If I was working, I felt guilty for neglecting everything else.
If I was doing anything else, I felt guilty for not working.
It was a crazy cycle.
The guilt mounted, the unhappiness continued, the mess piled up.
Enter Baby L.
The adorable little cherub doesn't sleep. I didn't realize how great I had it with the boys. But now I have two boys that need my attention and a baby who never gives me a break. I was maxed out on stress (a winning formula for those with adrenal fatigue) and dropping every ball I had in the air. Every.single.one. Including my work.
That's when the W-2 came in the mail.
I looked at that piece of paper. It showed me how much I made in the past year.
it was a pittance.
Granted, I took the last 2 months "off" for maternity...but seriously.
That's when it hit me "You're giving up your happiness...your time with your children...for THIS???"
I took a look around at my messy house. My boys addicted to the TV. My baby crying in the bouncy chair.
Was it worth it?
The answer was pretty clear.
I had a very candid conversation with my boss. While I knew my job wasn't in direct danger, I knew that - with my priorities and my passions, it was only a matter of time. Months, years...I wasn't sure. But I knew that I wasn't going to continue down this path to find out.
It was no longer worth it.
Even if my salary doubled, it wasn't worth it.
I've wanted to be a mom since I was small.
I was missing it.
I wasn't present.
I was there...physically, but everywhere else mentally.
I've got one chance while they're young.
So, I made a choice. I turned in my notice. I was asked to finish out my existing inventory...which ended up taking most of the summer. (That's a long story in and of itself....). Dave was VERY supportive, and when he came home and I informed him that "I quit my job today," his response was, "I hoped you'd reach that conclusion, but I wanted you to own the decision."
And while I'm not little suzy-homemaker, my house isn't spotless, I'm not organized, my kids aren't perfect...I can tell you that we're getting there. We're sacrificing things and those things are just that: things. I'm no longer sacrificing time. Time with my kids. Time to be there to put bandaids on fresh cuts, to let them show me their new tricks on the jungle gym, time to pick apples, time to listen to their stories. They see my face more now...and less of the back of my head. Time to rock my baby...rock her calmly, and NOT wish she'd fall asleep fast so I could get some things done. I have time to pick up my Bible and actually study it. Study it on my own, study it with my friends, study it with my kids.
I can officially tell you right now:
I am a mom.
I am present.
I am here.
I am listening.
I am smiling.
I am purposeful.
I am passionate.
I am fulfilled.
I am grateful.