First Day of School and a Stay at Home Mom {of 3!}

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It’s Monday morning, but just barely.  Lunch time is already upon me.  It is my first day as a stay-at-home-mom-while-the-kids-are-in-school.  It’s not permanent, of course.  I probably will return to work next week.  But today?  It’s good.  I have wanted so long to be at home and while I have come to peace with working full-time, I am enjoying this while I can.  I have not ever, since I started working at 15, taken any sort of extended break beyond a week for vacation, except for the births of my first two. And then, I was a disaster and busy with a newborn.

Today, I got the kids off to school, came home and exercised and then it was my absolute privilege to finish the laundry–even iron!–vacuum, do dishes, get dinner in the crockpot, make beds and straighten up rooms.  I can’t tell you how many times I have sat at my desk working, seeing all the things that need done around me and wishing I could get them done. My mom told me I shouldn’t lift a finger today and just relax. And while I do plan on picking up a book in a few minutes, this taking care of my home and family is a complete and utter joy to me today.

Is that hokey?  Because it felt kind of hokey writing that.  And honestly, I’m not sure I could do this 365 days a year.  But really, it feels good for it to be Monday and know that I don’t have a list a mile long that I need to do to catch-up from the weekend.

And speaking of the weekend, we finished our first full week with Jac0b and the last week of summer with a bang.

My uncle, aunt and two boys were in town for the last half of the week so we spent the bulk of our time with them.

Friday we all went to Carowinds.  It was Jac0b’s first time there and even though he’s not quite tall enough to ride the big rides, he was excited to ride anything someone else was. And if you remember this post, then you’ll know that excites me to no end.  I have a riding partner, y’all!

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Saturday we let the kids play ball and swim.  Then, I was off to the Hillsong concert with my sister.  If they are playing near you, please get a ticket.  It’s not so much a concert as it is a 2 hour worship session.

Sunday was our norm. Although, while we were picking up last minute things for school, we ended up picking up a basketball goal for Jac0b.  We’ve been planning to get one, but have really been waiting for him to show some interest.  Yesterday was the day!

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As you can see, Scott was a bit overwhelmed and Jac0b was super excited. He couldn’t believe we were buying all of it.  I actually had to stop him from playing basketball before school this morning so I could use the time to take the school pictures.

So, they were off without an issue this morning.  We had everything prepped last night, everyone woke up in a good mood and all the drop-offs went well.  Lexi and Jac0b are riding the bus home and it will be Lexi’s first time.  Emma is at her first day of middle school changing classes, so I’m anxious to hear all the reports this afternoon.

And before that afternoon sneaks up on me, I’m going to hop off here and go pick up that book!

 

My Yes in My Mess

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After visiting Kenya with Compassion several years back, Kristen Welch was led to make a difference for young, pregnant women in Kenya.  She founded Mercy House Kenya which continues to thrive and grow.  In fact, TODAY they move into a new house for the women.

Rhinestone Jesus is her newest book chronicling her journey from a Christian teen wearing her sparkly Jesus pin to the founder of a non-profit in Kenya.

As I read Kristen’s new book Rhinestone Jesus, I began questioning what my yes might be.

If you’ve been reading for the past 6 weeks, you might remember a post in which I wrote about coming to terms with my working mom status.  It’s been such a freeing last month to not carry the weight of the false guilt.  But still, even though I was coming to terms with working, I still didn’t see it as my YES IN MY MESS. 

God began pressing on me, though, that indeed my yes right now was to my job in that cubicle. 

But how could God ask me to say yes to that? Isn’t that the extreme opposite of any God-work?  Doesn’t that reek of the American Dream that Kristen wrote against in her book?  Aren’t I supposed to leave the cushy job and 401K to say yes?

As I continue to seek God, though, I realize he has been asking me to say yes all these years. 

Even without my joyful yes, he’s been using my job to teach me, not to embrace, but to let go of the American Dream. 

He’s taught me to live simply and give generously.

To let go of faith in income and benefits and understand it could all be *poof* gone in an instant.

He’s taught me not to rely on the security of a job and rely on Him. 

He’s taught me not to chase after fulfillment in a title, but my title as daughter of the one true King. 

He’s taught me to be a light for him, no matter where I go.

He’s taught me to have integrity and character in a place that at times is so very lacking. 

He’s taught me to work as unto Him and not to man. 

He’s taught me to put family first among so many other duties.

He’s been doing God-work all this time and I refused to see it.

God is not working in me and others in spite of my job, but directly through my job. 

My yes has been a very stubborn yes, but in the past month I have been whispering a joyful yes. Yes, Lord, if you really do want me in this space I’ll do it.  I’ll do it unto you until you move me. 

 

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And yes, there’s a mess in my yes.  There’s laundry that sits in baskets for days and dishes that sit in sinks.  There’s tired mornings and missed school functions. *I* am the mess most of the time.

I resonated so much with Kristen’s husband who wanted to leave his corporate job to devote more time to Mercy House Kenya but stays right now to make their yes possible.  And I realized, my yes to my job has in part made their yes possible as we’ve been able to support Mercy House Kenya over the years.  And there’s many more yeses we’ve said to help others say yes to their calling.

So, I suppose it is as they say–we can’t put God in a box. His plans sometimes don’t look like what we thought they should.  One person’s yes will look wildly different than the next.  Someone else’s wrong might be our exact right.  We are all different parts of the body working together.  Watching Kristen’s yes unfold has taught me how to let go of the American Dream while working and in doing so, my working has helped support her yes. How cool is God?

So what does your yes look like?  Is it something big or maybe a little yes with a big impact?  All of our yeses to God matter and make a difference.

 

Rhinestone Jesus is so much more than about calling.  It’s about faith and parenting and marriage. I was so encouraged and I know you will be too.

RhinestoneJesus_mockup-433x600 Pick up Rhinestone Jesus on Amazon or any major retailer.  For more posts about Rhinestone Jesus, check out the link-up over here.

 

I was provided a copy of the book for the review but all opinions are my own.

Working Mom Neurosis

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Two days after I posted The Summer Working Mom, we had a sitter come for the first time this summer to watch the girls.  Scott was sleeping off his night at work and I was super busy with meetings.

We’ve done different things over the years during summer.  For many years, my job was only 30 hours a week and I had very little meetings.  I was able to make up work in the evenings after early bed times.  Also, when the kids were younger, they still napped.

Some summers my mom and mother-in-law were both off one afternoon a week and would whisk them away.  One summer we hired a middle-schooler to come hang out with them.  Some summers we planned a lot of play dates at the house and they would play in their rooms or in the pool together for hours.

My job now is full-time and it’s changed in such a way that I could be in meetings on the phone for 6-8 hours straight.  I don’t have the luxury of planning much work in the evenings.

The young lady we hired for this summer is 19.  She’s super responsible and attentive and loves to play with them (not just watch them play) and can drive.  The girls think it’s the best thing ever.

In fact, years later, they still talk about that middle-schooler coming to play with them and I’m sure they will do the same about this summer.

But let me share my neurosis about the whole situation.

When she came, it was fantastic to see her almost immediately grab a board game and take them to their room to play.  They love board games and that’s something I definitely cannot do while I work.

Yay, this was the best idea ever. Look!  They’re playing board games and not watching TV!

And then, guilt starts.

Oh my gosh, I’m the worst mother ever.  They’re playing board games but it’s not with meeee!  All their childhood memories will be with a sitter and not their mother.  

Then, she takes them to the library and they pick out books to read.

Yay!  They’re reading books–their teachers would be so proud.  They’re going to have great memories of the sitter taking them to the library.

And then…

They’re going to go on Oprah one day and talk about how their mother never paid attention to them and they only remember me telling them to be quiet as I sat at my desk.  Nevermind Oprah has been over for years.  She’ll probably start the show again just to feature all their problems.

Then she swims with them–for hours.  As I watch from my desk on my meeting, I can see they’re laughing and she’s doing flips with them and playing games.

What success! We got a great sitter who’s really giving them lots of attention–what more could I want?

Me.  They could probably want more of me.  All the other moms are at the pool with their kids.  See?  It’s right here on Twitter.  I’m such a failure.

And on and on it goes.  I continue to have an internal struggle about my kids, working and having a sitter.  If I didn’t have one, they’d  likely spend hours in the front of the TV.  If I went into work, I’d hate not seeing them at all.  So, I’m here where I see them all the time but then feel guilty about it all.

But the truth is, I know for a fact that I would not spend every single day playing board games, swimming and going to the library or the museum or whatever for hours on end.  If I weren’t working, I’d be busy cleaning or organizing something or writing a blog post.  I’d be doing something.  Sure, there’d be more time with them but it’s not as if I’d do everything the sitter is doing.

And the fact is, they LOVE spending time with this sitter.  I know they will talk about her for years to come and have great memories.  I can only remember having a sitter a few times as a child and I don’t look back and say oh my gosh, my mother was such a failure.  I can’t believe she wasn’t spending time with me.  My thoughts are my mom had something to do and she got this great sitter for me and we had a ton of fun.  Yay!

I’ve come to believe–thanks to my mom–that all this neurosis is just plain old unnecessary guilt.  The Bible says Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy.  He will do anything–anything–to steal my joy.  Even when I have a successful job and kids that are having a blast, he is still trying to make me miserable about it all.  And the thing is, no matter what situation I am in–working or not–he would do the same.  It is his intent to make us unsatisfied and discontent with our job as mothers.

I believe, when I’m not being so neurotic, that there are none of us getting it “right”.  It is not right to stay at home and it is not right to work.  We are all called to our own place and only then are we getting it right.  My job is to be sure of my call from God and then to be content with the calling and the outcome.

So, mothers, be certain I understood your neurosis.  I live it, I breathe it, but I also do not accept it.

When the thoughts rage, I remind myself that I’m right where God has called me and He alone will complete the job He’s started in both me and my children.  He knows what He’s doing and my job is to be content and trust Him.  I remind myself to be thankful for my job, thankful for my kids, and thankful for a wonderful sitter.  Gratefulness always kills the neurosis.

Moms, tell me I’m not alone.  You struggle with thoughts like this too, right?

 

A Video: Is There Someone Who Encourages Your Development?

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen last Friday where I posted I was working on a “creative presentation” for work.

Each year, our company takes a Gallup poll which attempts to measure our engagement at work with 12 questions.  We have an offsite each year where 12 small groups present one of each of the 12 questions to explain it and make sure everyone understands what the poll is asking.

This year, the groups were tasked with bringing some creativity to the presentation.  No PowerPoints allowed.

My group’s question was “Is there someone at work who encourages your development?”

We concentrated on the effects of positive and negative chatter in the workplace.  So, inspired by how Emma and Lexi film skits all the time with their Barbies, we wrote a skit and performed it using the girls’ Happy Family figurines.

We had a really, really fun time putting it together. 

The bloopers after the credits are my favorite.  And you have to know that the bobblehead that makes an appearance at the end is an actual bobblehead of our manager that is passed out for awards yearly.  It was icing on the cake. Also, the Town Hall is a big meeting we have twice a year for updates and recognitions (but no cell signal in the room).

 

 

What I really wish I had video of is when I played the video for Emma and Lexi and they giggled seeing us perform with their toys.

And yes, Tucker is the one responsible for Greg’s gnawed off hand and foot.

On a serious note, I couldn’t help but walk away thinking about how applicable this is to our families. Your spouse and children will be more engaged when you are feeding them with encouragement and take an interest in their development.  Stop the negative chatter and be that positive influence!

Happy Friday, ya’ll!

Interviews, Banks and Tae Kwon Do

photo Our Valentine’s Day dinner Saturday at Villa Antonio’s.  So. good.

I keep waiting until we are at a good stopping point to give you a good update but I guess I just need to go for it!

The addition

  • We met with the builder this weekend and have everything set in place.  He’s just waiting on a green light.
  • We are still talking to the bank about the financing.  I had hoped this would be a quick process but apparently it is not.  It could be another week or two until we are set to start.

The adoption

  • I don’t think I mentioned it but we couldn’t get in this month’s training at DSS so we have to wait until March 19.

The job

  • I got the invitation to do my interview on Monday and interviewed yesterday for the position.  It went really well and now I just wait to see what happens.  I hope it all works out to get my start date before the end of the month so I don’t have to wait an extra month for my benefits to kick in.

Random

  • We signed Lexi up for Tae Kwan Do last night.  She starts today at the same time Emma goes to guitar.  She looks adorable in her outfit.  I think she will be great at it if it doesn’t scare her off that she doesn’t know anyone in the class.
  • I’ve continued with reading the Bible in 90 Days.  I have enjoyed it so much.  I moved into the NT this weekend and can’t recommend reading the Gospels enough.  Jesus is just so awesome.  That sounds so cliché.  But really.  He is.
  • Our church, NRHC, has asked me to host our intro video for our new series Words.  I’m so much better at writing than speaking (I say that in all humbleness…if my writing is mediocre then you should hear my speaking HA) but I’m looking forward to stretching myself and seeing how it goes!