As of next month, I will be approaching a full TWO YEARS at home. Two. Full. Years. And let me tell you, I never imagined I’d be a stay at home mom. I certainly never thought I would love it. But oh, how I do.
Here’s the thing. You go into this motherhood thing with all of these expectations. We all have them, even if we pretend that we don’t. We all have visions of what kind of mom we think we’re going to be and the cool stuff we’ll do with our kids. Whether it’s working and daycare or homeschooling or doing crafts or absolutely not doing crafts and spending time outside or reading all the books or cooking home made meals or… or… or…
When all of that gets blown up it can be so disorienting. Maybe you made a different choice than you thought you’d make. Maybe life decided for you by throwing you into a pandemic and you couldn’t do the things you thought. Things. Always. Look. Different.
What I’ve finally figured out is that this is okay. In fact, it’s better than okay. Just because you decided what your dream was at 16 doesn’t mean you have to have the same dream at 36. You’re not the same person. At least, I know I’m not. Teenage me sucked. If you aren’t the same person, why are you holding on to those dreams?
Maybe your dream never wavered. Maybe you’ve known since birth what you were meant to do. Then DO YOUR THING. For the rest of us, it’s an evolution. A refining. A process of shedding things we don’t need. Healing and growing and building.
At 35, after months of waiting for a layoff, I asked for a severance and I knew that I would never work in a corporate setting again. I had no idea what that meant. I talked to my husband, we figured out how to lose a 6 figure salary and 401k. And know what? I still feel guilty sometimes. I feel like I should be doing more to contribute, that I gave up on a 13 year career, that I’m putting unfair weight on my husband.
I spent a year or so feeling like I’d failed.
I scrambled to find temp jobs to fill the gaps. I tried to figure out how to not spend money. I tried to figure out how to do the freelance hustle and signed up for all the things I could think of to make a little cash. It turned out that I was pregnant when I quit and I didn’t do any of those things at all… and nothing important fell apart. The world didn’t stop turning. After a long, painful season of burnout and anxiety and trying to cram myself into an imaginary box, I was free.
I’ve also never accomplished more that mattered to me. I’ve never been so creative or so connected to my own growth or aware of my purpose. It has nothing to do with money or a title or recognition (I have zero of those things). It has to do with knowing that I’m doing what I should be doing. Finally. And those things are momming and writing.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m probably working harder than I’ve ever worked. But work is so much easier when you love it, right? When you’re good at it? When you can see exactly what it is that you want?
If I’m being honest, I’m writing this in a good moment as a reminder to myself in the hard moments. Because there’s going to come a time (again) when I am trying to write and a baby smashes the computer shut on my fingers and the words aren’t coming and I’m missing deadlines and not meeting any of the goals I set. There be a time when I want to take an easy road and get a job. Because that’s what you’re suppose to do when the kids get big enough for school, right? Keep yourself busy? (Aside: The idea that a mom has to find something ELSE to keep her busy is lol.)
But no. It’s all nonsense. Know your purpose. Trust your purpose. Screw expectations. Even your own. Let them evolve along with you. Timelines are made up and your journey is not going to look like you thought it should.
And that is beautiful.