"I'll definitely need some grace tonight" is what I said under my breath as hubby was leaving for work this evening. He looked back and smiled as I stood in the dining room, still wearing my work clothes, holding dishes and wiping ketchup off my sleeve.
Today is one of our chaos days.
Stuart is on midnights and returns home at 7am, wakes me and I get up to leave for work at 8am once our sitter arrives. I work until 4:30, come home as he wakes up - we rush through our one hour together (which consists of making and eating dinner, cleaning up after the toddler, discussing our days, packing Stuarts lunch for work tonight, cleaning up after the toddler [again]) before he leaves for work and I chase him down the driveway because he has forgotten at least one thing in the house (tonight it was his wallet).
So I meant it when I said I needed grace tonight; after a restless sleep last night and a busy day at work I was exhausted - and to be honest not looking forward to my "second job" this evening.
If I had to share a secret with you (and I know the internet is a trustworthy spot for secrets) this was not the plan. When we first found out I was pregnant we discussed me being a stay at home mom. We assumed I would stay home, be the homemaker and Stuart would work and life would be the way we thought it was "supposed to be".
Oh silly, naïve circa 2013 me.
It didn't take long after our little family expanded to three that I WANTED to return to work. I can still clearly remember sitting on the edge of the bed, crying and asking Stuart if he would call my boss and ask if I could come back to work from maternity leave early; all while rocking a 3 week old baby in my arms ☺
I learned rather quickly that being a stay-at-home mom was not for me, yet unfortunately it took me longer to accept that than it did to realize it.
Now friends, please do not take this the wrong way. I am not (and will never) speak against stay-at-home mothers; trust me - I tried it, couldn't do it; and developed the utmost respect for those chose to stay home. But what I learned is it is OK to become a mom and still be true to YOU.
It is OK even when I run in the door and Stuart runs out the door (while tossing me a clean diaper and saying "I think we have a code brown") - because I remember that not all days go like this and I remember how we have been blessed abundantly in our careers over the years (for He who promised is faithful). I may be stretching out in our King size bed alone tonight (truly, part of me says 'Yay!' to that stretch) but "this evening" only happens once a month, and Stuarts job allows him to only have to work 3-4 days each week; so we actually have more time together than we have had our whole marriage.
When I first returned to work clients would give me sympathetic smiles while saying "I am sorry you had to come back to work already" and look at me as if assuming that if I didn't return to work my family would be living off grilled cheese sandwiches and Kraft Dinner 7 days a week.
(sidenote: I returned to a paycheque and would still eat Kraft Dinner 7 days a week if only my trainer would allow it!)
I am not for one moment ungrateful or unaware of how blessed we are to be in a financial situation where I don't have to work. I choose to work because I like to - 3 days of the week I get to play adult again. I get to wear dress pants and put on make-up, I get to laugh with colleagues and make differences in clients life. I get to eat lunch and actually finish it without anyone throwing a cheerio at me - I get to savor a piece of "me" that I once felt was lost for good when I became a mother.
And this is true when it comes to my running, another part of "me" that has great importance. I have to work now at running, I have to work at making the time to get out on the road. Trying to find the time to get to the gym, and get out on the road doesn't come as freely as it did years ago; and now it is a matter of arranging schedules, child care, work days and vacation days all to get to where I want to be.
So I ramble on about all of this all as a means to justify what I did last week (seriously, I feel like all my blog posts are just me trying to convince myself of something...)
I hired a sitter so I could do a long run (collective gasp)
Though I have no half-marathon planned for the near future, I try to always act as if I am in training - I think it keeps me on schedule and keeps me motivated.
That was insane! Imagine; hiring someone to watch our son so I could do something other than a doctors appointment? or running errands? or a sporadic date night? I couldn't fathom it and it took Stuart quite a while to convince me that I was not committing one of the deadly sins by hiring a sitter in order to have "me" time out on the road.
So I did it, I hired the sitter - she showed up at 7am (bless her heart) and I headed out on the road for a long run. And it took a while (by awhile I mean a few km's) for the guilt to fade away into the pavement just as the "return to work guilt" faded away within a few weeks.
It is OK to still want to be you, and to hold on to pieces of yourself that were important. Whether this means returning to work after having a child, if it means staying home, if it means teaching a couple substitute classes a week ♥ or returning to a 50hr work week, trust yourself and God that you are doing what's right for your family; and for YOU.
"Therefore be not discontented with your calling. Whatever God has made your position, or your work, abide in that, unless you are quite sure that He calls you to something else. Let your first care be to glorify God to the utmost of your power where you are. Fill your present sphere to His praise, and if He needs you in another He will show it you. This evening lay aside vexatious ambition, and embrace peaceful content."
With sore legs, a tired mind but peaceful content this evening,