For those that don’t know, I homeschool my 2 highly energetic (slightly crazy and unmedicated) boys because I love to spend my days torturing myself. I would say I am just kidding but I definitely have a love/hate relationship with my 24/7ness with my children. Couple that with not being able to have a babysitter or drop my oldest off at any kind of childcare (church, gym, etc) and that’s a whole lot of togetherness. I often feel that I have given up everything to mother these heathens. Please understand me when I say that they were both wanted dearly and, after suffering from a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy, they were the miracles I longed for. But the thing about being a parent is that you can’t put contingency statements on it. You are either “in”, or you aren’t. Personally, “in” for me means giving up a career that I loved and worked hard to achieve in order to help my son at home. I would be lying if I said it doesn’t make me sad. I miss being a nurse, going on dates with my husband, or even sitting in an adult Sunday School class with him. My children will always be worth it, but I am losing a part of myself.
A dear friend and member of my über swanky tribe (we are just a bunch a moms hanging on for dear life) went back to school last fall. And then it hit me…I always said I wanted to be a nurse practitioner by the time I was 40. Here I am, 37, not working, homeschooling (which wasn’t even on my radar) and wondering where all the hours go in the day. Church, soccer practice (each boy a different night), soccer games, AWANA, two different therapies for my oldest, co-op, committees out the wazoo and I don’t feel like I have a second to spare. But what if there will never be a “good time”?
Here is my advice. Do it. Don’t think about all the what if’s. Change them to “what if I don’t.” What if you never ask for that promotion? What if you don’t reach out to that friend? What if you don’t do what you know God is calling you to do? But what if you do…
I had a friend ask me the other day if the other areas of her life would suffer if she went back to school. Ummmm, yes. I bought extra snacks last week in hopes I would get out of cooking a couple of meals. Some rooms in my house look condemned, like they may be a health hazard. Sometimes I don’t think an entire day would put a dent in the laundry.
If being the mom of a child with ASD has taught me anything, it is how to celebrate the small things. I completely realize that our victories look different than they do for most others. But that doesn’t make them any less monumental. The other day at church, my son left the sanctuary, where my husband and I were talking to friends, and went with his friend to the gym. With tears in my eyes, I proclaimed loudly, “He’s not in the same room with us!” People that do not know our situation looked at me like I was an over protective lunatic that needs to get out more. Yes, Linda. Yes, I do need to get out more. But the fact that he could be in another room without us in public is a gigantic accomplishment. When he came back in several minutes later, he was beaming. He was almost as proud as we were.
I am learning the same goes for this journey. I kind of felt like I have my life in order because I just came out of my office/guest room and there weren’t 15 piles of clothes to be done in the hallway. I turned in both of my assignments due on Monday and it is only Friday. I don’t mean to brag, but that makes me feel like a pretty big deal;) Don’t worry about the dust on the stairs that you can write your name in, or the 4 loads of laundry to be done in the laundry room. I brushed syrup out of my youngest son’s hair today…and I don’t remember the last time we had syrup.
“I attribute my success to this- I never gave or took any excuse.”
P.S. Florence didn’t have kids but I bet she would have been a hot mess mom too. Hey, it’s not pretty, but I’m doing it. You can do it, too.
P.S.S. Lots of moms have more on their plate and they are killing it at life. Please just don’t share those stories with me. They probably do crack on the side;)