You know that place of decision that we each find ourselves in at different points in our lives? The one where we have two choices (or more) and there are such great positives and some negatives about both and the pro/con lists just don’t help make the decision?
That’s the place I found myself in this past spring. We had just lost a baby to miscarriage and my plans to be home with a toddler and a new baby this fall were gone. We firmly believed another baby would come soon, but what would life look like in the meantime? I loved my job (teaching ESL at the University of Minnesota), but life was also feeling a bit out of control with my part-time work schedule, Dan’s periodic touring paired with his gigs and studio time when not on the road, and childcare situations that just weren’t ideal or consistent. We had been planning that I would stop working, so maybe that was the answer even though November was no longer bringing a new baby into our lives. But then there was the job I loved…the students, my colleagues, using my brain in ways that home life and motherhood often don’t…what about all of those things??? Would I regret prematurely ending (or putting on hold) a job that I loved so much? But then there were those times in the classroom where I found myself thinking about the next picture books I should get at the library for Oak and wishing we were playing and exploring in the woods together instead of being apart while I worked…those strong pulls were there too.
It was in this decision making process that I began to remember all of the dreams that have always been there — that my one desire, if I did nothing else in my life, was to raise children who have a love for life, a love for people, and a love for Jesus. Being a mom was what I had always wanted and here was an opportunity for me to fully and wholeheartedly embrace that identity, that role, and that season, and let it fully fill my days. The decision was no longer so hard. Would there be regrets about what I was giving up? Maybe. Would there be regrets about the time I got to spend with my sweet Oak? Probably not. Would there be times that I would need a break from full-time stay-at-home mommyhood? Absolutely. Would it allow us to simplify our lives and create a more peaceful home? Yes, more than ever before.
And so I said my goodbyes-for-now to my sweet colleagues and moved into a typical summer followed by a different kind of fall. This is my first fall since kindergarten where I haven’t been either in school or working/teaching in a school. I love fall and I love the new beginnings and crispness that comes with the new school year. So, instead of digging into school books and schedules, we’ve been digging into this fall with picture books, artwork, nature walks, and lots of time at home for playing. I thought I’d miss the school life/working life more, but that has yet to happen. I am loving this life. I love our daily rhythms that include relaxed mornings with (relative/attempted) quiet reading time in the living room, morning time at the table with breakfast, Bible stories, and nursery rhymes, after lunch story time, and before dinner play or art time. And our weekly rhythms of errands, nature adventures, days at home, walks, and playdates with friends/neighbors. As of now, every week is looking different, but the overall flow of the weeks are the same and it’s creating so much consistency and predictability. I’m already seeing the benefits of that with how much more easily Oak can enter into pretend play or transition from one thing to the next without a battle. And the extra time at home has opened doors for me to follow a few other passions of my own.
We are also expecting a new baby in March and so I’m treasuring these few months of special time with Oak before we grow in love and people in this little house of ours.
I love how our hearts can answer so many of the questions and decisions we face in our lives, but it’s so easy to let the “shoulds” of societal life guide us instead of listening to what our hearts are quietly trying to tell us. I’m so glad I listened. And so glad I went against what seemed like a more financially stable option and went with what was a better choice for the overall wellbeing of our family and home. There is beauty in less. There is beauty in the simple. I’m so excited to continue to embrace that beauty.