My heart was heavy with such a big change on the horizon. Jackie, our Senior Publisher who I worked closely with, had just peeped into my office to say she couldn’t believe I was packing up my things. I couldn’t either. Everything felt so surreal.
Two and a half years ago, God had given me my dream job as a writer and editor for one of the largest Christian video publishing companies. I worked with incredibly talented people and rubbed shoulders with many well-known pastors and authors. I loved that our team was on mission everyday and that God was using us to impact churches all across the country. It seemed like every day I came home from work, I had something exciting to share.
But just as the summer heat was settling down to welcome the coolness of fall, God was planting my feet on a new mission — the mission of being at home full-time with my children. Being a stay-at-home mom had always been my desire and conviction, but Jeremiah and I decided that after our first child John was born, he would stay at home so I could continue to help support him through seminary.
Jeremiah loved watching John and it was a great experience for us to switch roles and work together. But soon, John would turn two and in three months our daughter Rebekah would be born. Life would again change dramatically.
During my last week of work I cleaned out emails, organized files, packed my books and papers into boxes, gave hugs, and said goodbyes. It felt so strange that I wouldn’t be writing and editing full-time anymore. I wouldn’t be attending staff meetings, contributing my ideas, or being affirmed and encouraged in my daily tasks and responsibilities.
I wondered if I was making a big mistake. Was I giving up my career? Was all the hard work in college and seminary going to waste? Would I lose a sense of my identity? Would the trade really be worth it?
I made the transition home by working a few hours a week and finishing up projects during nap times; being connected like this really helped me transition. John and I created a new bond since I was with him all the time. I began to see how much he needed me and loved having me there. I also started to plan play dates and spend time with other moms.
Those few days before Rebekah was born, peace flooded my heart — the kind of peace that I’d been praying for. God’s word, prayer, and other people showed me that I was right where I was supposed to be. Rebekah came into the world in three fast hours on a Saturday afternoon in late October. She was absolutely beautiful and I was determined to savor every moment with her because I knew how quickly the time went by with John.
I started embracing the fact that my children were the priority, and it was going to be a joy to spend my days with them. These were their formative years, the most critical years in their life, and I would be there for all their first milestones.
Over the past few months, I’ve loved watching Rebekah smile at her brother, put new foods in her mouth, crawl, utter sweet noises, and enjoy life with our family. I’ve loved watching John grow into a handsome young boy, put sentences together, read books, attempt potty training, learn how to ride tricycles, and pray for his friends at bedtime. I’ve loved seeing that they both need their momma.
The Hardest Job Ever
I’ve also learned that I desperately need quiet time, breaks, date nights, exercise, shopping, and girl time. I’ll go crazy without them! There are also days that I want to pull my hair out with the constant whining, screaming, discipline, broken sleep, fussiness, neediness, messiness, laundry, dishes, cleaning, and more.
My mom always told me that going to a 9-5 job would be easier than being at home. It’s hard work being in the home day in and day out and most people wouldn’t consider it a dream job. I’ve seen my anger and impatience multiplied and it’s been ugly. I’ve seen my sinful nature and selfishness more than ever before. I regularly share my struggles with close friends and other moms who will pray for me and encourage me.
I’ve often laid my head down at night thankful that God got me through another day. And many times I’ve cried out: “God, help me!” But somehow He continues to give me the undeserving grace to persevere through the really hard days. And usually, the next day is better.
Writing from Home
One fear I had about coming home was not being able to write or use my gifts and talents. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the demands of my children and still do what I love. I’ve found that it takes major scheduling and discipline to carve out time to write, but it’s possible! I’ve been able to find doses of solitude during nap times, after bed times, on the weekends when my husband has a hand to help, and through swapping childcare with friends.
Just in these past few months God has brought unexpected writing opportunities my way. I was able to help edit a newly released book for a friend, spend time and have dinner with a best-selling author, and help my sister-in-law start a faith and fitness blog. One of the marriage pastors at our church also called for some publishing advice. And this past week I began researching new freelance markets to help supplement our income.
I’ve had actual dreams that I was back at work again, interacting with my coworkers. And there are days that I long to be sipping a chai tea at my desk. But when my thoughts run in that direction I remember the words that our Vice President wrote me in an email during my last week of work: Trading in a career to be a mom is the best trade ever.
Now, being almost a whole year into it, I couldn’t agree more. My heart always goes back to being at home with my children, where I believe God created me to be and where my greatest mission on this earth exists.