I sat in my bedroom with the door locked, realizing if I walk out the door, I’d lose it.
Do you ever feel that way?
The morning behind the locked door reminded me of when I was a stay-at-home-mom and woke up early anticipating quiet moments to myself to straighten up and organize before the kids got up and my day belonged to someone else. But then a child would wake up earlier than the estimated-time-of-arrival.
My response was frustration, irritation, and sometimes anger.
Just a few minutes of personal time, please! I just need a few minutes to myself that are mine!
Sharing my selfish thoughts with the world is scary. I’m even more petrified to share my secret.
(I can’t do it all.)
When I was a stay-at-home-mom, I often gave myself time-outs behind closed doors. I somewhat managed the mommy-stressors without extra responsibilities of outside work, finding babysitters, and missing work because of sick kids. After being a SAHM for over a decade, I became a working-mom as a high school teacher. After several years of doing-it-all, with a broken heart, I turned out the lights in my classroom for the last time, leaving the profession I love.
Because I can’t do it all.
For me, my classroom was a sacred place where you pour your life and heart into kids. But there’s a price. Teaching’s a demanding job. While I kept up with the deadlines of the classroom and managed my home well, I was falling apart inside.
No matter whether you work in our outside the home, you can’t do it all. I learned the hard way by trying to do everything I thought I had to do during the busiest years of parenting. It resulted in a stressed-out-reactionary-mom. After assessing my personal and family needs, I left teaching and went back to graduate school to obtain a degree in a field that would allow better work opportunities for my sanity while raising a family.
Here are 8 things I’ve learned from being both a stay-at-home-mom and a working mom. It’s a short preview of material in my upcoming book, Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All, available for pre-orders on August 30.
1. Doing it all is pricey, and for me, the price was too high emotionally and spiritually. My kids needed a mom emotionally available for them who was not irritated, frustrated, and on-edge. I needed to be at peace. Are there things causing a high price for your family right now?
2. Being pulled in every direction is hard. During these years, I was pulled in every direction. My husband and I made a life-changing decision for me to go back to school so I could have other opportunities for part-time or flexible employment outside of the classroom. It was a good decision, but a hard one to make.
3. God has been faithful. After a long wait, God answered our prayers by providing a part-time school counseling position for me. It’s a reminder that God cares, hears, and provides miracles. As my ministry as a writer and speaker expands, He’s been faithful, again, to provide a different schedule for the coming year to better accommodate work, family, and ministry. Only God can do that.
4. I know what I can handle. I only have a few more years with my children at home, and I want to be present, at peace, and available. I’ve learned to know my limits and stressors. I protect my time to guard these triggers. Do you know your stress limits?
5. God provides. Quitting a secure job to go back to school full-time with a large family didn’t make sense, especially with one going to college at the same time. After living on one income for most of our marriage, we knew we could return to it for a season. God has a way of making dollars stretch when you don’t think they can.
6. Know yourself and be okay with your limits. I never felt more like a failure than when I locked my classroom door and turned in the keys. When everything around you says you’ve failed, you aren’t good enough, and you fear what-people-will-think, it’s crucial you’re confident of God’s plan for you. Then, you can rest in His will.
7. God cares about women. Being on both sides of the working-mom fence, I’ve been challenged by every social mores there is in the Christian world regarding working or non-working mothers. I’ve learned women’s roles aren’t who we are, they are what we do. God loves us each individually, and ministers to us accordingly.
8. A woman’s identity is in Christ alone. It’s not in our children, our work, our gifts, our talents, our husband, or our home. I can’t express in words all the places the Lord and I have been with this topic over the last ten years. I’ve learned first and foremost that I’m the daughter of the Most High God. I’m not defined by my children’s achievements or failures, a clean house or awesome lesson plans, my ability to handle it all or not.
Nor do these things define you.
God is crazy about each of us for who we are and who He has created us to be. And He has called each of us to be a testimony to Him above all else.
Lord, give each of us a peace of mind and heart for the season we are in. Let each of us know the perfect grace you have for where you have placed us. Help us not to look to the left or to the right, or to what our neighbor is doing. Help us be comfortable with where you have called us as individual women who minister in the places You’ve called us. Equip us to seek You above all else.
Balance, Busyness and Not Doing It All will be available on August 29 at The Glow Bookstore in Shipshewana. Join me and local author Betsy Tacchella for a book signing from 10-5! Preorders will be available August 30-September 4 here at the website, and it will be available on Amazon September 5. Join me on Instagram and Facebook every Wednesday until the release for fun giveaways! Also, join me on Periscope every Monday at 9:30 AM EST for live broadcasts and chats about balance and busyness. Just download the app, find me at @BeyondPicketFen and join us! I also broadcast daily life balance tips as they happen.