If someone had showed me, not just told me, how hard motherhood is, I just might not have signed up for it. About a month ago, I had a really hard time with the kids....Josiah was testing me to my very limits (I lack patience anyway so testing does not get very far) and Laney was having a hard time getting back into her "before Christmas" sleep routine (naps and bedtime suddenly required a lot of attention). This just drained me to my very core. All I wanted to do was go back to bed and pray that it was time for Randy to come home when I woke up and could "save" me from my children. And I would be lying if I hadn't
gotten on the computer to research job opportunities thought about going back to work every day for about a week. I just didn't think I could handle it any more. And I often questioned if this was what God really wanted for my life...to stay at home?
Honestly, I do wonder sometimes (when it seems that nothing good could come from the day) what it would be like if I were to go back to work. I'd be providing another paycheck for our family, which would allow us to enjoy/buy new things. I'd meet a group of work friends. And I'd be using the college education that I worked so hard for. In addition, I'd drop my children off to spend their entire day with someone other than their mommy. I'd use most of my hard-earned salary to pay for that "someone else". I'd probably be the second or third or even fourth person to see the "something new" that my child learned that day. And I'd miss the fellowship with my awesome MOPS mommy friends.
I also think about what my life as a stay at home mom would be like if my children were older, like 5 and 3 years old. I dream that they would listen/carry out requests better (not ask "why?" so darn often), would be completely potty trained, would be able to help me clean up (to my standards), etc. But then I realize there is a whole new world of learning and challenges that goes on "when they're older", too.
I admit that I'm far from being a very profound thinker, but after watching Josiah and Laney learn how to do things for the very first time, such as putting together a puzzle and crawling, respectively, and it sinking in that I was the very first person to see it happen...it just got me thinking about how blessed I am that I can stay at home, even when I'm at my wit's end and don't think I can take another second of it.
Things have been a lot better since that week about a month ago. I've adopted a new schedule (aka getting out of house more) and put a radio in the kitchen so that I am able to listen to positive and uplifting music whenever I'm in that part of the house (which is pretty much always), and we all are much happier. I'm also participating in a bible study of Titus 2 using Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother. Reading just the first couple of chapters has really helped me change my attitude about being just a stay at home mom. Of course, I wouldn't be me if I didn't worry if I'm teaching Josiah what he needs to be learning for his age level (letter recognition, getting rid of the sippy cups, becoming more precise with his eating utensils, etc) and whether or not I'm challenging Laney's development (promoting walking/cruising, sounds/words, drinking less from the bottle, etc). I'm just trying to take it one day at a time and consult more "experienced" moms and teachers.
Other "what if's" that I've thought about recently:
- what if we had moved to Tulsa instead of South Texas? We would have been a heck of a lot closer to family (and a couple of bloggy friends), out of the destructive path of hurricanes, and able to experience all 4 seasons. On the flip side, we would have had to deal with tornadoes, snow/ice, and spending on-call at the hospital instead of fielding calls from home (a very unique and awesome perk of our program here)
- what if we hadn't even moved at all and entered into a traditional internship with the hopes of starting the new surgical residency the following year? I, more than likely, would have kept working...I LOVED my job, the group I worked with/for, and the daycare that Josiah attended (it was in the hospital I worked in and the providers were AWESOME). However, there was a slight possibility that the surgical program would not have been approved, resulting in us having to either find a 2nd year slot (very hard to come by) or start 1st year over again the following year. Surgical residency is pretty hard core, so I would have seen much less of my husband than I do now....resulting in Randy second-guessing his decision (far from ideal).
- what if we lived in a bigger house, with just one more bedroom? While having a designated play room sounds simply LOVELY, more space means more to clean...and I'm having enough trouble in that department as it is. Although, I'm working on my homekeeping skills...baby steps, right?
- what if we could skip residency but learn everything that "physicians-in-training" do during the 3-5 years of working for "free"? I truly believe that residency is necessary for the family just as much as it is for the physician. I don't think I could go through the relatively set hours of medical school and jump right into the "flexible" hours of being in a practice. I need the time to learn how to adjust.
- what if we could skip the residency salary and bank what a good Family Practice Doc is worth these days? I would be lying if I'm not looking forward to Randy finally earning what he deserves. After all, we've invested A LOT to get us where we are today....but sadly, it's not going to pay for itself (one of the bad things about being a civilian or not signing with the National Health Service). So while Randy will hopefully earn a nice income in 3-4 years, those monies will be going towards new (once in deferment) bills.
- And what if we just trust and love God, to trust that where we are now is where we're just supposed to be in this season of our lives? I know, without a doubt, that I would be much happier all around.....the one instance where the grass IS greener on the other side. It's just too bad that trusting and loving God whole-heartedly isn't something that comes easy.