Many dream of a successful career, a high-powered position with a corner office and sure, after visiting the FBI office in Washington D.C. in 8th grade, I had dreams of being a strong and courageous, tough as nails, booty kicking FBI agent (this may explain most of my tv viewing choices), but really my dream has been to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). In April of 2006 I was able to realize that dream and for months I basked in the joy of being a new mom (and suffered the typical sleep deprivation - don't worry, I didn't forget). Some of my best sleep (and savored moments) were from the hours of 7-9am when McGee would sleep curled up on my chest after his morning nursing. Then we would get up, go for a walk and do whatever we wanted. Some days I showered, some days I didn't, and yet...this was the dream and it truly was!
However, it didn't take long for this definition of SAHM to quickly morph into something a little different. I was introduced to an amazing mom's group I began attending weekly, I started going back to Bible study every Thursday night, playdates were planned during weekday mornings, meals were made for new mom's or ill church members, I went back to working in the nursery at church, continued volunteering at the animal shelter, on and on it went and all of a sudden those care-free days of being a SAHM nearly vanished. I had commitments, I had responsibilities, I had obligations...and I signed myself up for EACH and EVERY one of them! I WANTED them! I remember during that first year my husband making the statement, "You're supposed to be a stay-at-home-mom, but you're never at home." I laughed it off at the time, but I see he was onto something.
Not long after came our dear Miss Em and did I slow it down? Yes, a little. The animal shelter rarely sees me anymore and I stepped down from some leadership roles, but wanting to contribute financially to our family I decided to throw in another part-time job of selling Pampered Chef. It was fantastic - until Miss Em decided to refuse a bottle and cry at each and everyone of my cooking shows.
Oh and then I finally figured out what this whole thing was about blogging - I couldn't even figure out for awhile what a "blog" was, but then I realized I could create one for free and use it to document our family and my thoughts, something I'd been doing for years with pen and paper, but I type much faster then I write. Well what else could I do but sign up and start writing?!
Then another lifelong dream was fulfilled...I finally had a single lens reflex camera! Now I could really take my photography to the next level. I became consumed with reading and learning more about photography and how to take the pictures I could see in my head. After practicing, and practicing, and practicing, this past summer I decided to start up my own photography business. It had been true for a couple of years, but I was finally willing to call myself a stay-at-home-working-mom (SAHWM) now that I had a job others actually knew about.
You see my entire life I've had a problem with wanting to DO everything, be a PART of everything and get INVOLVED with everything. You can read more about that here. Busy was typical and busy was ME. Eventually this led to my eating disorder which you can learn more about here.
The problem with all this busyness is not in the activities themselves (who can argue that a Bible study is a bad use of time?), but in who I am and what makes up a good balance in my life. I know there are plenty of women out there who do WAY more than I do, who have twice as many kids as I do and somehow they pull it all off and make it look so easy. Comparing myself to these superwomen is what makes me feel inadequate, it's what makes ME want to make those Martha-Stewart-perfect little cupcakes or snacks for McGee's preschool class, want to be on time for everything, want to have the house clean and dinner planned, and want to be involved in everything under the sun. Too bad I fail at all of these.
You see I've been trying to do that for awhile, I've been juggling things oh so carefully, trying to keep my head above the water, but today I dropped a ball. Today the water came crashing over my head. In hindsight it wasn't the biggest mistake ever. I didn't forget to pick McGee up from school, I didn't leave Miss Em in the car while running an errand, but in my filled-to-the-brim-with-"to dos"-mind, I did forget something and it devastated my afternoon. It shook me up a bit and although I've known it for quite some time, it became clear to me again part of what keeps me going when I know I shouldn't.
Some people fear spiders, the thought of flying may paralyze others, but my lifelong fear? Disappointment. I don't want to let other people down, I don't want to disappoint them. I wasn't the most rebellious teen, but I do remember that making my parents mad wasn't as big a deal to me, but disappointing them? That was devastating.
It's silly that at the age of 31 I still think I can go through life without disappointing people. It's outrageous even to think that is possible! I know I've said it before (and I'm saddened and embarrassed to see I've already written a post on this and not learned from my mistake), but I truly am going to try and get a little balance in my life and find what works for ME and MY family and not let myself get caught up in comparing myself to what others do. I know God gives us seasons in our lives for everything and I don't want to look back on this time in my life as a SAHM and regret the way I spent my time.
This dream I had of being a stay-at-home-mom has snowballed into something so much more than I think it should be - and I'm yearning to go back to the basics a bit, back to that time with just my child/children and letting a little busyness be an addition to our life rather than taking it over. I don't know how I'm going to get back there exactly, but I'm going to try, and I hope that anyone affected by this journey will not be disappointed.