There will never be another today. Although at times it may feel as though one day runs into the next, as if motherhood is “Groundhog Day” lived out loud, there truly never will be another today. The monotony of everyday life: housework, cooking, and begging your child for what feels like the millionth time to sit in their chair and eat; it is so exhausting at times. At the same time it is all so fleeting. I know this is not the most original thought I have published, maybe some of you have already lost interest, but I am going here anyway.
Our daughters finally joined our family at age two and just under four years old. In the blink of an eye, our oldest was in kindergarten. While she was in kindergarten, our oldest biological son was born; now he is in kindergarten and she is in grade six. Just. Like. That. Blink and you might miss it.
Just over a year ago, I gave birth to our fifth child and as the time to return to work drew closer, I had a sinking dread in the pit of my stomach. I have always taken pride in my academic accomplishments, my career, and my dedication to whatever I invest myself in. So, it was as much a surprise to me as to those who know me best that I wanted to give up my permanent position in the laboratory.
Before I could make that decision, or even have peace with what I was feeling, I had to talk to my husband. Dylan said what any supportive husband might say, “I’m behind you whatever you decide.”
A few weeks passed and I still was not able to write the letter as my deadline drew near. What was it to be, a resignation letter or a return to work letter? Why was I having such a tough time deciding? One day I finally realized that Dylan’s supportive statement did not bring me peace because in my mind, he said he would support my decision, and although it was my job, it did not feel like my decision to make alone. I felt I could not make that big of a decision with Dylan behind me, I needed him beside me. Realizing the source of my hesitation I asked Dylan what he thought was the best choice, and he was again quick to respond. He shared that as soon as I mentioned wanting to leave my permanent part-time position he thought my staying at home would be best for our family. Relief flooded me like a wave and with little hesitation and no further consultations with those close to me, I wrote and sent my resignation letter.
As the letter whizzed through cyberspace to the inboxes of my direct supervisor and my manager I felt not even the slightest twinge of remorse. I had so enjoyed my year at home with my kids, my husband was beside me, and most importantly I felt God was with me in this decision.
My youngest’s first birthday has come and gone now, blissfully without the usual “return to work” panic of finding childcare and adjusting the kids to a new routine. I have worked a couple of shifts in the lab, and I have thoroughly enjoyed them. The shifts I have worked have been on days where Dylan has been home or I have been able to ask the grandparents to sub in for a few hours.
Being primarily at home has given me the opportunity to spend time with people I might not have had time to spend time with had I returned to my position. I have been connecting with my kids, with family, and with friends. I have been able to invest in me, spending a little time exploring my own interests (writing and art), and I am so enjoying the opportunity to work on my own schedule.
The life of a mother is so hectic; just keeping the household functional, the kids involved in activities, and maintaining some semblance of a social life can feel like a full-time job. I feel so absolutely blessed to have the opportunity to engage in life in a new way in the fleeting season that is my children’s childhood.
Sleepless nights, temper tantrums, potty training and meal-time arguments; this too shall pass.
Falling asleep in my arms, the joy of discovery, “mom and dad know everything”, meals as a family; this too shall pass.
When these good and bad times pass, I am so grateful that I will be able to look back on this season and know I was here. For the good, the bad and the ugly. As my family has grown, my dedication to my career has decreased, and my dedication to family life has increased. Although there are hard days, I can honestly say: I love my life, and I would not want it any other way.
I am finding a beautiful balance.