Once upon a time when I was a semi-high-powered career woman, I used to save the majority of my vacation time for December. I loved to have almost the whole month off during the holiday season. I could shop and bake and decorate to my heart’s content without having to worry about any work pressure.
I used parchment paper, made homemade bread and pretended like I was Martha Stewart, but with a better wardrobe.
It was always the best month. In fact last year, during my last weekend before vacation ended, I thought to myself that if I didn’t have to go back to work, life would be perfect. I wouldn’t have anything to worry about and my life would be an idyllic fairytale filled with rainbows, unicorns and birds that sit on your finger and sing.
And Ed McMahon would show up to tell me I’d won some type of sweepstakes.
Except that might be creepy because I’m pretty sure he’s dead.
Fast forward to 10 months later, and here I am. As of today, I’ve officially been out of the professional work force for 5 months.
People ask me all the time if I’m enjoying being a stay at home mom and the truth is, yes.
Yes, I am.
In fact, last night P asked me what my plans were for the day and I turned my calendar to the month of October. It was blank.
And I was happy.
I love not having to balance so many responsibilities. I love not feeling a cloud of pressure hovering over me at all times. I love not having to worry about some doctor with a major God complex telling me he wouldn’t write my drug if it was man’s last chance for survival, and I love not having to worry about doing expense reports on the worst expense report software in the history of man.
I love being able to lie in bed with Caroline in the mornings and watch cartoons. I love being able to make plans at the last minute and decide that we’ll go to the park.
Or even better, the mall.
But so far, the roses and rainbows and singing birds haven’t shown up.
Not to mention, Ed McMahon.
Because while, yes, I am so happy and blessed by this new phase in my life, it’s not the end of all my problems. It’s just created new sets of worries and concerns. I’ve merely exchanged one set of issues for a new set.
Now I worry about our private insurance and monthly payments. I worry about the cost of gas and insurance. I worry about spending too much at the grocery store or going out to eat too much. I worry about playing with Caroline enough and coming up with fun activities. I worry that she isn’t learning her letters when I hear SuperWhy asking on T.V. for a fruit that starts with an “A” and I hear Caroline yelling, “LEMONS!! LEMONS!!”
I worry about keeping the house clean and the laundry done.
Of course, probably not as much as I should.
It all goes back to the oldest trick in the book. The grass is always greener on the other side.
And in my mind, the stay at home mom side of the yard was lush and green and nicely fertilized with no mosquitoes. Who could have a care in the world on that side of the lawn?
I think, as women (or humans), that’s what we have a tendency to do. We look around us and compare our lives to others. Everything can look so perfect and pretty from the outside looking in, but do we really have any idea what’s really on the inside? I think all around us there are people who are hurting and who are lonely, but you’d never tell just by looking at them.
This whole change has made me realize that, short of God, nothing is perfect. Every situation has its burdens, it struggles, its worries. What someone else has can always start looking better if we allow ourselves to be tricked in to that kind of thought pattern.
I remember a few years ago when Lance Armstrong won his 86th Tour De France or whatever. I watched him accept his trophy surrounded by his beautiful wife and his beautiful kids and thought, wow, they HAVE IT ALL.
Shortly after that I read that they had filed for divorce.
Apparently, what was happening on the inside was different from what was happening on the outside. It was a huge reminder for me that no one has it easy. Life is made up of moments and, while some are perfect, some are not. The only person who really knows is the person it’s happening to.
And now I’ve rambled.
But I guess what I’m learning is to appreciate the blessings God has placed in my life. I don’t want to spend my life wishing for what someone else has because God, in His infinite wisdom, obviously doesn’t think that’s the best thing for me. And that may change, but it might not.
I want to be content where I am and with what I have. My prayer is to be like Paul and say “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength”. Phillipians 4: 12-13