Ever since my ebook came out, people keep emailing me to ask how I do it all. I’m not gonna lie: it’s not easy. I get stressed out, overwhelmed, and frazzled sometimes. (Now. Now is one of those times.) I work my butt off from the moment Jonathan calls out from his crib at 6:30 a.m. all the way till 10:30 p.m. when I finally wrap up whatever work I had to abandon because the kids’ schedules took precedence.
Most of the time, I think I have the best of all worlds. I’m almost a stay-at-home mom, home with Jonathan four days a week (his dad is there the fifth day while I work), and half days on two of the days I work. I’m up with the girls before school, fixing their hair, packing lunches, collecting homework, scooting them out the door, and again at pickup time and before dinner when we work on homework, piano, and playing. I make dinner and we do family devotions. I get to put them to bed every night. I do lots of volunteer work for our church and school.
And yet, I have an intellectually-stimulating, rewarding, well-paying part-time job. Because of my job, we are able to put money in our retirement account, save for the kids’ college tuition, give to our church and other charities we love and support, and, quite simply, not wonder how we’ll afford groceries and diapers and the next mortgage payment. There’s a lot of peace and happiness in our house because I work. (Financial stress, not adultery, is the number one cause of divorce.) God has richly blessed our family through my business, and we are profoundly grateful and amazed.
But, as a writer-friend of mine once said, I sometimes feel caught between two “tribes”–the stay-at-home moms and working moms. As both, and neither, I don’t always fit in.
My natural tendency, a gift from my grandmother, is to work too much. I tame that tendency because raising my kids is so much more important than one more job, or a quick hundred bucks. But the tension between them, the question of whether I’m rightly dividing my time, is always there.
I don’t think there’s an easy way of talking about this subject. Anyone writing about staying at home versus working often comes off as bitter, self-righteous, defensive, or judgmental. Anyone reading about it will either nod in satisfaction because the writer ‘gets it’ or will judge the writer because she doesn’t. It’s a tricky subject, one that, for me, is occasionally filled with angst.
But then, after I pour out all the angst, hit “Publish,” and am immediately struck with a case of blogger’s remorse for putting it all out there in the first place, I think, it’s all going to be okay.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Even when things are at their nuttiest, when I look forward to the day all the kids are in school and I have breathing space, or I wish I didn’t have to work because I need some breathing space (are you sensing a theme here?), I still look at our life objectively and realize that we do have it all. And now, I need to get back to work.