Friday, July 12, 2013

The Calling: A Working Mom's Whisper for Grace

It is July 12th. This watermelon and fireworks month shouldn't be edged with sadness, but it is. July means I'm now living in the month in which I return to work from maternity leave. It means I have about 10 days left completely at home without splitting my time. It means I will never have this one-on-one time with my two babies like this ever again, because they change by the second and seasons pass and scrimping for vacation days becomes an urgent obsession.

I graduated in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in nursing; in 2009 I received my certification as a nurse practitioner. In between I had my first baby, Jonah, and I stayed home with him 10 weeks. Thankfully, we were blessed to have a dear family friend, Ayden's mom, stay with Jonah for several weeks until a spot at daycare opened up. This helped with the transition, and I hope it was healing for her as well. Ayden's story and Lindsay's blog can be found here.

Jonah Riley Sams, 6 weeks old

First day at daycare

Daddy with Jonah, first day of school

Returning to my job was painful but full of excitement: Fortunately, my maternity leave broke up the time between transitioning roles from a nurse to nurse practitioner. I will never forget leaving him at the daycare, sitting in a swing, eyes staring at the ceiling. Tears fell all the way to work. Now, all he talks about are his friends, teachers, and playground at school.

Here is where I confess. Here is where I ask for Grace and hope I'm not alone. I enjoy my job, and I don't even consider it a "job". I feel I make a difference, and I have held the hand of the dying and prayed with them. I've listened to a woman pour out her heart during a visit, when she was really there for indigestion. I've felt a gentle nudging inside from the One who knows us in and out, which led me to ask more questions, order more tests, and reveal a hidden cancer. None of this is due to my own abilities; I recognize God instilled this passion and desire in me, and He created me this way.

But how do I leave? How do I pack bottles of breastmilk each morning, giving away the most precious bonding time to another woman? How do I not sob at the images of my baby girl and growing boy learning, playing, smiling, crying, cooing, crawling, climbing with someone else.... ?

How do I deal with The Calling of the Right Now, this season? To take the journey to be a woman of God, loving wife, sacrificial mother, and nursing professional? Because to be honest with you, I falter on this journey. I fail. Yet, I still love it all.

But, in my perfect world, I would arrange it so differently. I would be at home with each baby God gave me until they were ready for school age, then work while they were in school. I'd be home before they got there, waiting to hear about their day. I would miraculously love cooking, cleaning, and unloading the dishwasher.

But, I don't. I don't live in a perfect world. We've looked at options of working less than full-time but not quite part-time, crunching numbers, realizing it is just not possible at all during this season. Our past choices of wanting and buying in the early years coupled with normal things like broken down fridges, torn apart roofs, leaky ceilings, breakdowns of vehicles over and over have made it necessary to whittle away what is owed so we may live without strings attached. And because this isn't a perfect world, breakdowns will happen and roofs will still leak, but honoring God by learning to be good stewards is what our goal is now.

So, back to work I go, leaving my 2 children in someone else's care, cherishing the few waking hours I have with them, counting days to the weekends.

Guilt has its way of creeping in, gruffly whispering words of failure, saying you are not-a-good-enough-mom-because-you-don't-stay-home, nudging you to compare incomes with others and brew bitterness, prompting annoyance at your spouse for not finding miraculous money pits elsewhere somehow someway, causing a seesaw of emotions that can be the highest high and lowest low.

Honesty and realness is hard. How many other women have felt the same? To speak this out loud, to write this, has taken almost a week. A delicate stepping between the different pictures of motherhood made it difficult to share my story. You aren't alone. You who clean up toddler poop from the carpet for the 15th time, scrubbing with all your might, wondering if you have made the right decision...You who go from meeting to meeting like a relay race, wondering if you are where you need to be....All of you in-between trying to do both but feeling torn between all...

The Calling of the Right Now, this Season of Mothering you find yourself in is not more or less important than the woman beside you. The only difference is how each unique woman walks in her own shoes. So, as a mom who finds her right-now-moments in listening to lungs during the day and rocking babies to sleep at night, I whisper for grace and help and the courage to walk in this season of mothering.

To All the Mothers in All Types of Shoes:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens... He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom
what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:1,11


CharisFaith said...

Beautifully written! I can appreciate the struggle, it's something that as we grow and mature, and learn ourselves we learn how to make these decisions and look at them this way. Hugs!

Anonymous said...

girl, i so needed this tonight! i struggle with this daily...really. walking out of the house before anyone else is awake- pumping and not having that time with my sweet baby, who NEEDS me...and choosing to walk into work instead. the realizing God has called me to this career and has given me favor and i need to fulfill that is a constant balance and struggle and this is so beautifully written- its good to hear/see others struggle with the same and i'm not alone :)
you're an awesome mom!! we can do this! hehe
Ashley Hodge