The Working Mom Update

I’ve been back at work full-time for an entire year.

And I’ve struggled.

Growing up, I never pictured myself as a stay at home mom – but as the time to go back to work grew closer and closer, I realized that that was exactly what I wanted to be. I’ve never really felt a calling on my life until I became a mother, but the second I held my ginormous red-headed son in my arms, I knew that that was exactly what I was designed for. Unfortunately, Nathan and I aren’t in a financial position to be a one-income family, so I went back to work part-time in May of 2011 and back to full-time in June of 2011.

And it’s been hard.

We’ve dealt with a bit of separation anxiety on Topher’s part. Some bullying from one of the other kids he spends time with. An irresponsible childcare provider. Lots and lots of sickness.

Now it seems like things are finally working out. Topher spends three days a week with one of our good friends and her three-year-old son and two days a week in a dayhome with five other boys between the ages of one and five.

And he LOVES it.

But I still feel like I’m getting a lot of flack from friends and family. Some days I think it’s just me and my messed up preconceptions of what other people are thinking – but other days I get questions like “A dayhome? Why would you put him in a dayhome?” or “Can’t Nathan get a second job?” (when I barely see him in the evenings as it is?) or I’m subject to the ever-so-annoying “If it was really important to you, you’d make it work on one income.” (as if I don’t have Topher’s best interests at heart?!?)

It drives me nuts. Nathan and I have always had the parenting philosophy “You do the best you can with what you’ve got” – so that’s what we do. If it means full-time childcare outside the home, it means full-time childcare outside the home – and I’m tired of feeling judged. Topher is happy. Flourishing, even. He has the vocabulary of a five-year-old. He knows the entire alphabet and can count to 15 (and can count to 10 in Spanish as well). When I have a day off, if we aren’t going to meet up with one of his friends, he cries.

I’m the only working mom I know, and it’s lonely.

 

Ten Things

I’ve had an emotional week.

Friends of ours from church lost both of their baby boys this week – one half an hour after birth, the other three days later.

And one of Nathan’s friends – and the mom of three boys under the age of four – seems to be losing her battle with cancer.

I’ve been struggling to find the good – in those situations as well as life in general.

So when I saw this post from Jenn, I decided to give it a try.

What memories, big or small, from the past week bring a smile to your face?

Here are mine:
1. Nathan and I spending a rainy Sunday afternoon wrapped in blankets on the couch, watching episode after episode of Chuck (our latest addiction!) while Topher napped.
2. Topher’s excitement as he recounted his visit to the Fire Hall yesterday, complete with light sabre duel. (The firemen let him hold a flare, and of course he thought it was a light sabre …)
3. Topher’s giggles as Nathan chased him around (and around and around and around!) the kitchen. “Catch me, Daddy! Catch me!”
4. Having a great run (without my watch!) Monday night.
5. Starting to plan our first real “family vacation”.
6. Letting Topher pick out what hanging basket we bought on Tuesday night (he wanted purple and yellow flowers so we got purple and yellow flowers – even though half of them were already dead at the time of purchase!) – and racing home to beat the storm.
7. Slow dancing in the kitchen with Nathan while Diego babysat Topher.
8. Nathan helping Chloe walk on my back to try and alleviate pain (because he’s too heavy and Topher was in bed).
9. Nathan making up a silly song (“I Like Books”) and dance that is now part of Topher’s regular bedtime routine.
10. Sweeping sand off the kitchen floor after an evening at the playground.

Confession

I feel like I’m supposed to be one of those people who “have it all together”. I’ve grown up in the church. I know the Sunday School answers. I’m married to a guy who is a pastor in every sense of the word except the official title.

But lately I’ve been having a lot of doubts.

Not about God’s existence … about His goodness.

Especially this week.

Friends of ours from church lost both of their baby boys this week – one, half an hour after birth and the other, three days later.

And this girl (who I’ve written about before) may be losing her battle with cancer.

You can tell me that God has a plan – that He knows what He’s doing – that He sees the whole story.

And I know those phrases are all true .

But they don’t offer much in the way of comfort right know …

An Excerpt from my Journal

I’m afraid of a lot of things. Spiders. Tornados. Parking garages.

Lately I’ve come to realize something I fear even more: not being in control.

Three phrases I’ve heard over and over throughout the past three weeks – from family, friends, and my doctor:

“It’s not your fault.”

“These things happen.” and

“There’s nothing you can do.”

None of which I find remotely comforting.

I wish I had a reason – any reason – for why it happened.

And of course, by “any reason” – I mean something I can control.

I’ve been trying to eat healthier. Exercise more. Get more rest.

Control whatever I can control in the hopes that next time – if there is a next time – it won’t end in miscarriage.

But I know I’m not in control. I can do all the right things – I can eat properly, exercise, take good care of myself – but I know that God is in control. I know that.

It’s just a lesson that I seem to need to learn over and over and over.

I clue in – let Him be in charge for awhile – maybe a day. Maybe a week. Usually only a few seconds … and then I start reaching for the reins. “No, God. Let me do it.”

As if the Creator of the Universe doesn’t know what He’s doing.

    Job 38:4 – 38 (NLT)
    4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
    Tell me, if you know so much.
    5 Who determined its dimensions
    and stretched out the surveying line?
    6 What supports its foundations,
    and who laid its cornerstone
    7 as the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?
    8 “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries
    as it burst from the womb,
    9 and as I clothed it with clouds
    and wrapped it in thick darkness?
    10 For I locked it behind barred gates,
    limiting its shores.
    11 I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
    Here your proud waves must stop!’
    12 “Have you ever commanded the morning to appear
    and caused the dawn to rise in the east?
    13 Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth,
    to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?
    14 As the light approaches,
    the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal;
    it is robed in brilliant colors.[b]
    15 The light disturbs the wicked
    and stops the arm that is raised in violence.
    16 “Have you explored the springs from which the seas come?
    Have you explored their depths?
    17 Do you know where the gates of death are located?
    Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?
    18 Do you realize the extent of the earth?
    Tell me about it if you know!
    19 “Where does light come from,
    and where does darkness go?
    20 Can you take each to its home?
    Do you know how to get there?
    21 But of course you know all this!
    For you were born before it was all created,
    and you are so very experienced!
    22 “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow
    or seen the storehouses of hail?
    23 (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble,
    for the day of battle and war.)
    24 Where is the path to the source of light?
    Where is the home of the east wind?
    25 “Who created a channel for the torrents of rain?
    Who laid out the path for the lightning?
    26 Who makes the rain fall on barren land,
    in a desert where no one lives?
    27 Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground
    and make the tender grass spring up?
    28 “Does the rain have a father?
    Who gives birth to the dew?
    29 Who is the mother of the ice?
    Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
    30 For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,
    and the surface of the water freezes.
    31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars—
    binding the cluster of the Pleiades
    or loosening the cords of Orion?
    32 Can you direct the sequence of the seasons
    or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
    33 Do you know the laws of the universe?
    Can you use them to regulate the earth?
    34 “Can you shout to the clouds
    and make it rain?
    35 Can you make lightning appear
    and cause it to strike as you direct?
    36 Who gives intuition to the heart
    and instinct to the mind?
    37 Who is wise enough to count all the clouds?
    Who can tilt the water jars of heaven
    38 when the parched ground is dry
    and the soil has hardened into clods?


Why do I WANT to be in control?

I’m much better off in God’s hands …

Recently Starred

Whenever I come across a post that I adore – or maybe one that I’d like to think some more about – I mark it with a star in my google reader. I have the horrible habit of starring items with every intention of coming back to re-read them – but life gets in the way, and by the time I “get around to checking” – I have dozens of starred items and the sheer volume of awesome posts overwhelms me.

Here are a few of my “recently starred” items – maybe you can be overwhelmed with me?

Virginia’s post on parenting: She Spills Her Coffee Too..

Danielle’s post – A Torn Page from my Diary.

Love, Dad – A letter from Ronald Reagan to his son, days before his son’s wedding.

A Dog’s Purpose and the Meaning of Life – shared by the Hockman Girl.

Rachel’s post on Innocent Love . I think I split necklaces with seven different girls at once when I was in junior high …

We Are Called to be Salt. Shakers In this World. by Hannah Katy.