Monday, March 2, 2009

What Does Your Permission Slip Say?

After a long weekend of birthday celebrations that induced multiple visits and short road trips to visit extended family here and there I am thankful that it is Monday morning.

Our lives are back to normal, daughter's at school, husband's at work, my toddler - who will be three this Wednesday - is sitting here, nestled up to me, watching cartoons. We are both still in PJs lounging on the fluffy down comforter in my master bed room.

It has been a year and a half since I have left corporate America. I left a high six figure salary, my dream job. I said good-bye to my own company and brand that I built from scratch, along with the excitement and exhilaration of new business growth, client lunches and travel reward points. I still thumb through my stack of business cards as a high school quarter back peruses by the school trophy case.

I have taken on the role of being a stay at home mom as if it is a job. A job that I approached with personal goals on a weekly basis. A job, however, on a number of days I am very unqualified and lost without proper training, gifts or talents. At times I feel overwhelmed and begin to question my role as a stay at home mom. My time seems devalued by everyone; my opinion, worthless. No longer am I an expert and consultant to business owners, chief executives and managing partners in law firms, in these times, my own children don't even listen to me.

Once I was the breadwinner in the family and we focused on investing in my career vision. Now, my husband is the one whose career is thriving as he makes plans for enhancing his education, we plan on his career growth. He is the one who comes home late and attends conferences in the big cities.

Although there have been adjustments and many days that have filled my thoughts with regret and grief, today, I give myself permission to enjoy this new position in my life. God is the author of our lives, and He has already written our roles and service in His book. The entire life of my career, I relied on God's provision and timing and He blessed me and my family with success. There were times that I cried out to God to help me through the rough times. Today is no different.

He also blessed us with misfortune that changed our journey significantly. Within three months, my mother fell ill and passed away unexpectedly while my oldest daughter at age five was being diagnosed on the autism spectrum and ADHD. During this personal time of bereavement, there was no time for me to cry. Steeped deeply in deadlines and meetings with busy people, little empathy was stretched to me as a woman trying so hard to be strong and professional. My husband and I realized that we needed to adapt and change our lifestyle so that I could spend time on self care and health for both myself and my children. My five year old had many doctor and therapy appointments and my youngest who had just turned one wasn't getting the best of her mommy, only left overs from a busy, harried lifestyle.

We moved and changed our lives within a crisis moment in time. At times, I feel like our lives would have been better had we worked it all out and stayed put. It's the whole "grass is greener on the other side" motto. And in these times, I isolate myself in my own pity party. But lately, I have been feeling renewed again.

I feel the freedom of God's plan that He designed just for me and just for our family. I relax in His hands. And, I smile. I smile that I get to spend quality time with my little girls. Surely there are power struggles that beat me down stemming from the dysfunctions of autism and ADHD, but there are also cuddles and giggles that sustain me. I smile that I get to see my husband grow and develop into the man God wants him to be. I smile and breathe a deep breath of clean air from a Midwestern small town. I smile realizing that I don't have to wear uncomfortable shoes in a rushed and stalled commute to the rat race in the big city. I smile that I am who I am and I don't have to pretend to be someone I am not. I don't have to prove myself anymore. I can just be me, in the moment.

Today, I give myself permission to relish being a stay at home mom who watches Dora and enjoys yelling at Swiper with my just two days away from being a three year old little girl. I give myself permission to enjoy folding a queen size over flowing mound of clean laundry today. And, I thank God for giving me this lot of my life today.


Amazing_Grace said...

I worked up until the day I gave birth to my son. Since then I have been a stay at home mom for 18 years and I do not regret it one bit! :)

Elizabeth Channel said...

I have such similar struggles, and you articulated this so well. Feeling renewed can only come from God, and that is what it's all about.

I'm believing for some renewal over here today, too!

Sandy Cathcart said...

Great post! thanks for sharing. I'm giving myself permission to rest in God!