Friday, February 20, 2009

Is the Grass Really Greener on the Other Side?

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 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 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.

Laney learned how to crawl last week. I was excited to get a little bit of it on video...for the archives.

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 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.


Shelley said...

Oh how I know what you're going through! There have been a few times since I started staying home last May that I was online looking for jobs (usually while sobbing and telling myself I'm a horrible mom). Just this week we started getting out of the house more and it has really helped. It's amazing how much staying home all the time starts wearing on everyone. So many of the things you mentioned have gone through my mind. I have been at the point where I didn't know if I could continue staying home with them yet the thought of going back to work broke my heart and didn't seem like a possibility either. But ultimately I always get back to the point of knowing I'm in the right place for my family! Thanks for sharing your insight on this topic! It's always good to hear that others struggle with the same things.

Mama to little lions said...

amen sister!!

Allison said...

I constantly wonder the what-if's too. Were yall thinking about Tulsa? I didn't know that. Did you know that's where we lived - JM went to med school there and I taught school there.

Colin -N- Lori said...

I was just thinking, before I read this post, about how motivated and focused you are. Yes, being a mom is the hardest job in the world hands down! You are doing a great job and like you, I have found that how I feel relies so much on my own attitude and when I let Satan get to me by making me feel like a horrible mom and that I am not "good enough" and I should do EVERYTHING BETTER, I count my blessings. My Father in Heaven, husband and kids are always at the top. You are a daughter of God and you are doing one of the greatest works there is to do! Hang in there! "Mama said there'd be days like this." I, like you, have weeks like this.

sarajworley said...

I love you, Jessi. And I'm proud of you for sticking with your decisions. You're doing great!

Bev said...

So Laney is peeking in drawers also? Funny how these things come with age.

I think all stay at home moms feel this way. I know I think it quite often. I'm low on patience myself and wish I could've seen how difficult motherhood is too. Maybe I would've realized I'm not as fit to be a mother like I thought I was. But God brought her into my world for a reason. Maybe it was to teach me patience.

Trisha said...

You know I am right there with you.

The grass always looks greener and never is. God's got ya right where he wants you.

Sab Mad said...

I love your honesty and authenticity!

...And the new header looks awesome!

Christie O. said...

oh you're too funny. besides the fact that our kids are very similar in age and we both stay home, this post was like reading my life back to me - right down to the looking for jobs thing. But when I get leads, I have to admit, I'm not really willing to give all of this up, even when I'm at the end of that rope myself. But a girl can dream about all the grass, right? Anyway, glad you're content with your decision, it sure is a struggle no matter which side of the fence we women are on!