As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Kind of Crazy

My husband and I were out doing some Christmas shopping earlier this week.  It was the first time in years we've been able to shop together for Christmas, which is a big deal for us!  While we were out I bumped into an old colleague of mine that I worked with for many years.  We exchanged hellos and he updated me on life at the office, and then he asked me if I was working.  I casually answered no, that I was home with the kids and homeschooling, and carried on our conversation.  But after he had left I almost felt a twinge of regret that I hadn't mentioned the fact that I do freelance work on occasion.  This was the same person who, when I was pregnant with my third child and approaching maternity leave, asked me if I thought I'd get bored being home all day with nothing to do.  It was clear to me that he had no concept of what it means to be home raising a family and all the work that is involved, and that part of me felt the need to justify my current "career" choices as not a waste because I do, in fact, freelance occasionally.  I felt the nagging need to say something that showed my skills weren't being wasted, and that I did indeed have ambition.

Later that evening I picked the kids up at my mother's and headed home.  It was 5:30 pm and dark already because it's winter, and the babies had fallen asleep.  I was tired from being out all day, and being in my second trimester of pregnancy, and the thought of what to make for supper and getting home in the middle of the early evening rush was exhausting to me.  And that's when it hit me that I used to do this five days a week, every week.  And it was beyond exhausting, in fact I think the only reason I survived those days was because I didn't think about it - I just did it.  I always had a maternity leave to look forward to, an end in sight, and I did what I needed to for as long as I needed until finally I could be home again.  Not home doing nothing, not home being bored, not home wasting my skills - home pouring my life into my family, instead of into something other than that, and living on what was left over for evenings and weekends.

For as long as I can remember I've always wanted to be a mother.  It's not that I don't have ambition - in fact, every job I've ever done I've poured my whole self into.  I have a desire to work, to better myself, and to rise above and beyond the occasion.  In fact, I believe that's why I'm living this life.  Full time motherhood and home schooling gives me that outlet, that allows me to pour myself 100% into my family, my children, my life.  It satisfies a drive I have to work, to excel, to better myself and yet, at the same time, does not take me away from my family but brings me more together with them.  When I was working even though I had the best and most understanding bosses they were still my employers - still someone who had a claim on my time that came before my family.  When I was tired at the end of the day that's when I came home to my family, and I felt that strain constantly. 

People say to me all the time that they don't know how I do it but the truth is, it's no more crazy than what I was doing before.  Life is busy for everyone I think, no matter how many children you have or what vocation you are living out, because that's the reality of life.  The difference for me is that the craziness all points me in the same direction - home, with my family, where I have always wanted to be.  And that makes it a million times more manageable than anything I've ever lived before.

Sometimes coming face-to-face with an old life is all you need to affirm that where you are is where you are meant to be.  I don't know if my colleague thought that me not working was a waste of my skills or if that was a self-imposed judgement based on my own insecurities.  But what I do know is that as long as my children are growing, there is no way I would ever willingly choose to go back to that life.  Someday when they are grown, sure - I'd love to go back to work.  I'd love to climb the corporate ladder, maybe even go back to school and earn new credentials.  But right now I'm in the business of growing children, and there is nothing that could tear my ambition away from that.  It's the greatest job on earth, and a ladder I am more than priveleged to climb.

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