On Saturday, I told some of the story of how I became a working mother and my husband was the stay-at-home parent (click here to read it). Thanks to everyone for the comments! I appreciated it.
There was more to the story, so I thought I’d continue it today.
My acceptance of God’s will in going back full-time into the workplace was met with a considerable lack of enthusiasm on my part. I’d stood in faith for 2.5 years that working part-time was temporary and I’d be able to quit and stay home to raise my daughter. Now, I was going back to work full-time in a field notorious for its overtime.
I hated it. My daughter hated it. My husband was indifferent . He’s apologized profusely since then, but this was long done by the time that happened.
My daughter and I made cookies every night after work for several months after I went back to work full-time. My co-workers loved it, flour was cheap therapy, and it gave us some moments of pleasure before going to bed and spending another day apart. If I traveled too often, I’d take off a day or two to spend with her.
I was miserable every day. When it was time for my one-year review, my boss – as gently as he could – told me to get it together. It was impacting my performance at work, resulting in a poor evaluation. That was something he never thought he’d see from me. He put words on the situation – I was grieving. He knew about grief, having lost his mother as a child and his brother as a young adult.
It took some thought, but I realized that my dream of staying home was like having a fine china plate. And one night, I figuratively took a baseball bat to the plate, smashing it to powder, then throwing the powder to the wind. My dream, my faith, and my belief in answered prayer went along with it.
I did eventually find my way back to my faith, although trust is still an issue for me. But God was good to us. There were many blessings during the journey. I’m not saying they were a reward for following His will. Some of these things I didn’t appreciate until years later when I looked back.
We were all blessed with good health. That really came home when my sister and I took our three kids to a museum for the day. A little boy was there, wearing a football helmet. We were puzzled by it, until a few hours later he had a temper tantrum. He ran full bore into a wall, then threw himself onto the floor and laid there, banging his head into the floor as hard as he could while screaming. My sister turned to me and said, “It makes me grateful for what I have.” Yes it did, for both of us.
Each time God called us to move, the finances worked out so we could pay down bills and have a nice house. It was hard having only me working plus investing into my husband’s cameras, trips, and film processing. There was so many times we came to the edge financially. Each time God called us to move on, I didn’t think we could do it and maintain a decent lifestyle. But we did. We didn’t have a lavish house or cars, but we lived nicely and when the time came to move, we could.
My daughter had a stay-at-home parent. Yes, I wish it could have been me, but she had someone there all the way through high school. Her Dad heard all the stories after school. By the time I came home from work, I couldn’t get much out of her as to what happened on that day because it was old news by then. He’d fill me on the details later. Her last summer before college, they golfed together every day after she came home from work. He missed her so much when he left her at her dorm room for her first semester.
My sister created an warm and affectionate second home for my daughter. From the time she could fly alone until after she started driving, my daughter spent at least a month each summer with my sister and brother-in-law. She went camping with them, took swimming lessons, attended Vacation Bible School, went to the park, and had two younger “siblings” to play with. My brother-in-law loved it when she was tall enough to help him get the canoe off and on the car! When he started traveling extensively for business, he paid for her to come with to help babysit the younger two so he and my sister could go out at night. My daughter went to New York City and Disney with them, something she’d never have done with her Dad or I.
Since we were perpetually broke, I spent my vacations visiting my sister usually at the beginning or end of my daughter’s trips. That too was a blessing. We were always close, but face-time counts a lot in relationships. We have so many fun memories of time together with the kids. One year we put the kids to bed and ran out every single night to go see a movie, leaving my brother-in-law to fend for himself. There were lazy days at the lake; I left one tiny strip of skin without sun lotion and was in deep pain the next day from that trip.
It seemed to be the end of the world at the time, but it wasn’t. It just seemed that way.
I have ministry in the workplace, although I don’t call it that at work. I share my hard won wisdom when appropriate. I help staff balance work and family. I give advice when asked. It’s not just young women either. Women my own age need perspective on workplace problems and balancing their lives. Men need encouragement to remember their priorities. Because of our overtime, there is some flexibility in schedules to go to school events in the middle of the day or work from home occasionally.
Do I wish it had been different? Yes. Was it bad? No. It was a good life regardless of whether it went the way I thought it should or not.
I changed the picture on my blog. Here’s what the big one looks like, from last weekend at the botanical gardens.