thank yous, great advice and shakespeare

Thank you to those of you who left comments and sent text messages, Facebook messages and emails to me about thursday’s blog post. Your encouragement, support and advice were very uplifting for me. It reminded me why it’s crucial to have good girlfriends in life, whether they’re family, friends you see regularly, friends in the blogosphere or friends you only connect with via online channels. They all count.

After putting pen to paper, or rather, fingers to keyboard, I must admit that I do feel much better. No, things aren’t perfect, but I feel like a weight has been lifted just by revealing how I really feel. I received all kinds of advice from varying perspectives: working moms, stay at home moms, non-moms, moms with grown kids.

I just wanted to highlight a few pieces of advice I received, in case anyone else is in a similar situation:

  • DON’T count the hours you’re spending with JM and the hours you’re spending at work — it WILL break your heart. DO recognize that the time you spend with him is quality time.
  • You’ll probably go through stages/phases where working will break your heart, and then it won’t. I find that I’m a better momma for having missed my kids all day. We don’t get sick of each other. I have more patience. I really do treasure every moment we have together.
  • The more I opened up, the better I felt, the more real I was, the more real everyone was in return. I believe this helped me feel more confident/secure/loved — and that helped me to have a clearer mind, which led me to more creative solutions & “problem” solving.
  • You are feeling all of this because of the love you have for your child. That’s a beautiful thing.
  • We can’t do it all. There are going to be things that “suffer,” but always put your family first.
  • Remember that it is so much more difficult for us than it is for our children. They really are so adaptable and as long as the time you ARE able to spend with JM is wonderful, it’ll all turn out just fine.
  • If you get revelation that being home with JM is God’s will, then he can make it happen.
  • I went through very similar emotions, but couldn’t identify them at the time. I just kept it all inside, powering through it, and ended up in a lonely place. You are doing a very courageous and necessary thing by talking about it. Keep talking.
  • All I can say is that what you are feeling is normal and I would worry more if you did not feel that way. Nobody hurts like a mama’s heart and nothing can trigger that like the guilt of a working mom.
  • Just enjoy every precious moment. Let the house be messy, order dinner in or easy meals when you just wanna be with him. The feeling won’t go away, but you will learn how to manage and just enjoy the time you do have.

To Be or Not to Be Soliloquy Exerpt

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

I love me some Shakespeare, and love that centuries-old writings can still have great applications to today.

To stay, or not to stay at home: that is the age-old question.

It’s probably a thought that runs through all mothers’ heads at some point, even if just for a split second. Don’t think I haven’t thought about it, but life’s choices aren’t quite so black and white.

I question myself, question my motives and overanalyze to the point of immobility. I’ve prayed about it and run through various situations in my mind, but honestly, I’m not sure I’m ready for a clear-cut answer. It’s not quite as easy as one or the other: work or don’t work. Maybe I’m scared of what God may tell me; maybe I’m afraid of both extremes. A solution that lands itself right in the middle would be ideal, or so in my head, but God hasn’t opened those doors yet.

I have a great job, though trying at times, (but isn’t it like this for most people?) and work for an organization that is commited to doing good in the community. Sure, I’m not on the front lines saving sick kids, but I am aware that the role I play indirectly helps my co-workers help care for sick kids.

Besides the benefit of an added paycheck, there are other great reasons to work. As the wife of a small business owner, my corporate job allows us access to great insurance, insurance that we probably couldn’t match in the independent market without paying for dearly, especially as we think about children in the future and the added expense of maternity coverage.

There’s also financial stability. Heaven forbid, if something happened to James and he couldn’t run his business, we could definitely survive from my job. I love having that peace of mind. And I also love saving away a good chunk of money each month.

So there are some great reasons for me to continue working, as well as some strong reasons for spending more time with James Michael. I’m not even going to attempt to list out those reasons or I’ll get choked up, but any of you mamas know the list goes on and on and on.

As soon as I lean towards one choice, it’s never long before I teeter in the middle again. If I stayed at home now, how would it affect my children once they’re older? Would I be able to pay for their college education and weddings?

I know I don’t have all the answers, only a million questions. I’m trying to take a step back and start with a fresh perspective this week. I’m trying to give it up to God and realize I do not–and never will–have all the answers. This past weekend visiting James’ family helped to reset my heart, at least for now. We were able to focus on one of the most important parts of life: family. And even though I don’t know what my next step will be in life, next month or next year, I do know that the life I have today is one I should be thankful for. I have a healthy baby and husband, and a supportive extended family.

Despite the turmoil in my heart, I’m one lucky girl.

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