Friday, July 26, 2013

to work or not to work.

I found this picture on the internet & it seemed to accurately portray what this post is about. do not worry. i would not wear those sandals. :)

An old friend recently facebook-messaged me and asked this:

I happened to click on your blog about you being a stay-at-home mom. Can I ask how you made that decision? Was it a no-brainer or a carefully-prayed about decision? I would love to stay home, but I'm torn about giving up teaching for a little while. 

This feels personal to share with you all, but personal is good. That's kind of the point of this blog I suppose. Sharing my personal thoughts and processing and feelings... with the world.  Hmm. That's weird.  

Anyway, here was my response: 

ay. we've given this a lot of thought. and being in that age where lots of people we know are having babies, i've seen several couples make various decisions and seen various results. so i'll try to weigh in, although i'm certainly no expert in the matter yet!
for us, it was part no-brainer and part carefully-prayed-about. as you know, i loved teaching. i loved working with kids & feeling like i was making a difference. but i've kind of always wanted to stay home with my kids when they were young if i was in a situation where that would be possible. in and of ourselves, we were leaning towards me staying home full time, but we prayed about it carefully to avoid taking matters into our own hands and just doing what we wanted. the more we prayed, the more we felt like the Lord was really calling me to stay home with Adelyn. Part of knowing his answer to our prayer came in circumstances (some people say 'open doors') and part came in our desires/unity in marriage so, for example, ben was accepted into a 1 year masters' program at harvard. and long story short - it was the best opportunity for him on the board. well, it'd be kind of silly for me to apply for a job in boston, only to be there for 1 year and break even as far as the income goes. also, we observed other people balancing work and kids and felt more and more like we wanted me to stay home. on top of that, when i went back from maternity leave, there were 10 weeks left in the school year, we got a taste of what it was like to have me working full time with a kid. i felt like a crazy person. getting home between 4 and 5 on a good day, rushing to do dinner, it's kinda baby fussy time, putting addie to bed, and then we'd try to have a conversation before passing out from being so tired. not to mention - i was nursing, so, pumping to maintain milk supply was time consuming and not very effective. i ended the year just in time to get back to nursing a lot in order to boost milk supply. otherwise, i'm sure i would have had to just switch to formula. after those few months, we just felt certain that that pace of life wasn't what the Lord wanted for us. I know other people balance work/family well & i'm assuming you've been doing that some... but for us, the pace was unsustainable.

other situations i'm observing result in a similar thing. a busy pace, tired parents who wish they could spend more time with their little one(s). don't get me wrong - i am NOT criticizing them. i see people who want to be home with their children and can't for whatever reason. it is real and it is their life. and it is what it is.  there are other situations we could talk about another time, but that's not really the point. 

here's the flip side - i've thought about this a lot and ihink God gives us as Christians a lot of freedom. people like to take their convictions and make it 'biblical,' but really, God doesn't tell moms to stay home or work. He defines the role of a mother & wife - train up your child in the way he should go; nurturing; comforting; manage the affairs of your household; prepare food for them; respect your husband; in all things love; etc... but ultimately, there is freedom in what that looks like day in and day out.
i think that's what makes it hard. if i were you, i would prayerfully consider the decision with your husband and then obey what God says to do, even if it's hard. He will definitely bless you.

As far as the giving up the teaching side of it... i think teaching in general is a gift. one that you can use in a variety of ways even if you're not teaching in the public schools. obviously as your kids get older, you teach them every day. or you can do sunday school. or bible studies. or tutoring.  or volunteer in the public schools.  of course, that's not the same as teaching in your own classroom. my hardest thing to reconcile was how much i care about the public school system and helping kids improve and improving the system overall.  i pictured going back to school to get a higher degree and perhaps working as a principal or up higher in order to see larger scale changes. staying home means i might never do that. but at the end of the day - i don't know the future. God does. those were at one time my dreams and desires but as i seek to obey God and follow his leading, he helps me align my desires for my life with his. now, i want to stay home with adelyn. some day, it may mean God will lead me to go back and do those things or it may mean something different.

if i (or you) believe that 1.) God wants the best for me and my family
2.) God knows the end from the beginning
3.) God is speaking to me and leading me....
then, it's worth praying and obeying even if the answer has mixed emotions/ feelings/ results at the time.
i hope that all makes sense & helps you guys process through the decision in some way. it's a big choice. (although, it's not a forever choice. you can always change your mind next year if it's a disaster.)
what are your thoughts? sorry i wrote a freakin' novel!!!!

well there it is. all my thoughts spewed out on a (very long) page screen.
fear not - you've made it to the end.

any other people's thoughts on this in the comment section below are welcome! i love the discussion that a blog can generate.

love love love,