am i a working mom? am i a stay at home mom? a work from home mom? my job is already a little bit weird, a lot of people think i only work on the weekends because that’s when i photograph weddings. sometimes i just get laughy about that but sometimes i want to get punchy. so i’m sort of both. a mostly stay at home during the week mom but nanny finding, working on the weekends mom. i also want to be a writer. i also speak at and create events for women throughout the year.
as soon as i had jack, i will admit, right away i wanted to quit weddings and every part of any and every job.
BYE. SEE YA. I’M BUSY. I’M ALSO AN EMOTIONAL WRECK AND BEYOND EXHAUSTED.
we had our surprise baby boy DURING OUR WEDDING SEASON. which was in most ways THE LIVING WORST. and in other ways OK. he is our dream come true. but our only income is taking photos. we gave our couples a possibility to find someone else and the sweet, crazy couples decided to stick with us and work it out with us! so when things didn’t go as planned and we had an emergency c-section after he was two weeks late, we had to manage all of that and still get work done. i did not get a maternity leave at all. and i’m still paying for that now. we did get three months off, of course we still took a few side photography gigs but for the most part we just got to be a family of three. in danville, in the winter, which means basically stuck in the house to avoid the flu. we all three got it once. AWFUL. but we had the best christmas of my life as a little family of three, in our little home. and we got to visit friends and just stay home, learn our baby and rest.
part of me just wanted a simple, black or white option. either i work or i stay home. it was immediately too much for me to even think about ever doing both. i found myself feeling somewhat jealous of the million other new mamas that had babies at the same time i did that got 8-12 weeks off to figure out their newborn and the horror that is a postpartum body. then head back to work and utilize a daycare for their kiddo. i was seriously jealous of the time off but also looked ahead and knew that i didn’t want to go (and with my limitations, truthfully, cannot. been there, tried that. got fired) to a 9-5 job and send my kid to daycare. i also don’t want ethan to leave us for hours on end to make ends meet after we’ve worked so hard to build up our own work from home lifestyle. there’s been a lot of pity parties in my home since september, you guys. i don’t want what i have, but i don’t want something else, and ouch, and isn’t my baby cute but also WHY WON’T HE SLEEP.
i don’t know what to do or what i want or what’s best right now. this has not been my favorite season to navigate. part of me is absolutely michael scott-ing this and making it so much harder than i has to be. my mom was at a point in her life that she was retired from her full time career, had a part-time job she loved and was about to become grandma again to my sister’s new babe and our first babe. she lived thirty minutes away from us and i know she would have been full-time awesome grandma and part-time babysitter for us. but she passed away one year ago. and then the nanny of our dreams moved away. very far away. we feel heartbroken and sad and without. of course we have a great support team around us but the two people we loved and trusted most to take care of our kid while we work are gone from us from death or distance and we are just stuck. i’m not ready to search for new or give my trust away because i’m so hurt and heartbroken.
and very angry. UPDATE SINCE DRAFTING THIS POST : we have found THE best nanny for us. she is a GEM and a DREAM. she reassures me that all will be well. and she already adores jack and he adores her right back. we are so so thankful. prayer works.
i’m finding peace. slowly. as i search and pray. i’m learning who i am again as i bring it back to God’s Word and come out of the newborn foggy days.
i don’t have to have a title of “stay at home mom” or “working mom”
the only title i want to care about is “child of God”
my identity isn’t wrapped up in “what i do”
i do struggle with feeling validated and so i get this issue on a deep level, most moms are dealing with and struggling with this. who are we? what do we do? how do we find value in what we do at home when it looks like just picking things up all day and bouncing a baby on our hip and singing stupid songs over and over for four minutes of quiet and never getting a paycheck when we worked so hard and paid so much money for our degree or nice paying job that we received validation from?
but the real problem, the root of it is, i shouldn’t have put my value in that degree/career, either. but since i did that, i struggle harder when all i do now is wipe a baby bum all day and not get praised for it. in fact, i get peed on for it. my mistake for ever taking the diaper off in the first place!
so, whether you have kids, have a job, or both, i hope this message reaches your heart today.
i’m going to share something so special to me. it’s taken from a book i reference often. you can find it here. and i hope you find joy in finding ways that you can walk these qualities out in your own, beautiful lives. whether you send your kids to daycare or stay at home with them while they are young, or do a little bit of both! enjoy the season that God has you in, as much as you can. i’m not going to lie and say i love this time or that i’m doing great in this department. i need the reminder so badly. the annoying reminder that i just shared to “enjoy the season God has you in” some days i just roll my eyes at that. some days aren’t worth repeating. i’m learning that that’s OK. i want to be very honest that i’m deep in the struggle of this balance of new parent / adult / work life balance. most days i just want a solid answer with clear direction but it’s been a wonky mess of zero clarity for six freaking months. i am trying to focus on enjoyment and delight while working through the muck.
here’s the beauty. the proverbs 31 woman, modernized.
who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
she is more precious than rubies (v10)
she is valuable. she enriches the lives of others.
her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
she brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life (v11-12)
she is trustworthy. she is loyal. she is someone who is for you.
she finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
she is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar (v13-14)
she works diligently.
she gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and
plan the day’s work for her servant girls (v15)
she sacrifices, provides, and nurtures. she also leads and delegates.
she goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard (v16)
she is discerning and resourceful. she is intelligent and capable.
she is energetic and strong, a hard worker. she makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late
into the night. her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber (v17-19)
she works hard. she is wise, shrewd, and a good steward of her time and resources.
she extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. (v20)
she is compassionate and serves others. she gives of what she has to those in need.
she has no fear of the winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes (v21)
she is intentional and prepared.
she makes her own bedspreads. she dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. (v22)
she utilizes her skills and talents. she takes care of herself.
her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other in civic leaders. (v23)
she contributes to the respect her husband receives and enables him to have a position of prominence.
she makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. (v24)
she is resourceful and utilizes her talents and abilities.
she is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. (v25)
she is strong, whole, at rest, and at peace with herself because she entrusts herself to God.
when she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. (v26)
she is engaged, discerning, wise, and kind in her interactions with others.
she carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. (v27)
she is an active participant and contributes relationally, emotionally, physically, and financially.
her children stand and bless her. her husband praises her: “there are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” (v28-29)
those who are in her life are blessed and better because she owns their causes, because she is for them.
charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. reward her for all she has done. let her deeds publicly declare her praise. (v30-31)
“the proverbs 31 woman may make you feel like there is no way to measure up. but the purpose behind this portion of scripture is not to provide an impossible ‘to do’ list or to make you feel defeated. because of your season of life or individuality, there are ways in which your life may not parallel the woman described. rather than feeling marginalized by her, there is encouragement and inspiration to be found in the contribution a woman of God can make. though this picture is an example of what a flourishing woman looks like in a particular time, culture, and season of life, her virtue is timeless. your calling as an essential counterpart will be developed over time and in your own unique circumstance. God will bring it about in you as you make yourself available to Him.”