I feel like I should start this post with a warning sign. So … WARNING: BRUTAL HONESTY and REAL TALK about myself coming up.
This week marks my last week working full time. And oh my word I’m so glad.
But here’s the deal, y’all:
Life has shifted.
Gone are the days of mom showers (well… not completely gone). Gone are the days of waiting, waiting, WAITINGGGGGG oh-so-impatiently for Andy to get home from work. Gone are the days of all day spills, locking myself in my closet, and praying God would just come back before I had to hear one more whine.
I know y’all. I know. I hit some horrible lows that I’m not proud of as a stay-at-home mom.
The thing is, I have spent most of my mom life preaching against the mom war over and over and over. But the truth is that I was preaching it mostly to myself.
I have spent my entire mom-life feeling guilty.
I feel guilty over many things : for not properly “training” my children to sleep/for not letting Rory just sleep with me every night, for my kids eating processed food sometimes, for letting them eat pop tarts sometimes four days in a row, for giving them juice, for not dressing them in smocked clothing at all times, for not putting bows in their hair all the time (because, duh, the bigger the bow the better the mom! aka the southern mom’s motto), for not giving them a bath every single day (I know.. gasp), for every second I’ve spent wishing for nap time/bedtime, for HATING dinnertime with them, for LOVING nights where they are with grandparents, for taking trips without them, for choosing Andy over them at times, for yelling and having a short temper on hard days… I could literally go on for days.
But the thing I feel the most guilty about is the working/not working situation.
The whole time I was a stay-at-home mom I was masking my secret longing to be able to get a job of my dreams (or even at the local fast food joint on the worst of days) with blasting things about how “I HAVE THE HARDEST JOB ON EARTH AS A MOM Y’ALL … .oh but it is so special and I’d never trade it for anything in the world!”
Y’all that was a dang lie. It WAS the hardest job on earth… that is the end to the truth in that statement.
I posted all those posts and shared all those delightful, precious blogs I read on Facebook with a “love this!” or “amen!” or “PREACH ON SISTER!”, ALL THE WHILE being negative in my head about how this was not the life I ever intended.
Ten years ago Andy and I sat in pre-marital counseling with a good family friend, Larry Murphy. Ol’ Murph told us to write down five or so goals we wanted for our life together.
Andy’s were something like this: 1) Retire at age 60. (because when you are 19 that seems so stinkin’ old); 2) Either own a sailboat or a vacation home in St. Thomas one day (I’m on board with that one Andy!); 3) Be debt free.; 4) Have 3-4 kids.; 5) For Tiffany to be a stay at home mom.
Y’all. When Larry read that out loud I whipped my head around to Andy and said, “UM THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. EVER.”
I love to eat my words.
And I can bet you anything Larry was chuckling to himself about how these young kids were about to go fight it out in the car. HA.
Now, when we made the decision for me to stay home I was DELIGHTED. Honestly. I was so thankful and glad. For one I couldn’t imagine leaving my baby anywhere.
But the main reason is that I have had some of the worst jobs on earth. I worked at a place in Starkville that was downright abusive at times. I worked somewhere in Louisiana that was simply hostile ON THE BEST OF DAYS. So I was mostly delighted because I didn’t have to work terrible jobs anymore. I know that is awful to admit, but that right there alone sold me on the stay at home part.
When it was just Rory I did love it so much. I really did. Even the nights she didn’t sleep I could nap when she did and it was just so fun when she was a baby. Then she started being quite the stinker and doing things like eating fish and y’all… it got harder with every second.
Throw in a baby when I already had one and a sick one at that and I LOST THE WILL TO STAY AT HOME.
It is more than that- I just didn’t do my best as a parent. I really didn’t. I wish more than anything I could go back and do better. I wish I would have snuggled even more and been more grace-giving and patient with my very much a stinker Rory. Don’t get me wrong I definitely cherished many days and am eternally thankful God saved Ryder and that he blessed me with two kids.
I just realized more and more that being a stay-at-home mom really wasn’t for me.
So we move to Tennessee and everyone I met here worked. So my longing for a job got worse. The days were terribly long in that tiny rental home that smelled like dog pee and was next door to a meth den (like for real). I was so lonely I physically hurt and those are times I’d really like to black out of my life. I was NOT fun to live with. I really wasn’t.
Miraculously when we made the decision that I was going to get a job I got one fast.
And I hate that this is the truth, but man has life changed for the better.
I absolutely love my job. I love every single person I work with like family. I feel like they care about me just the same. It makes me want to weep with joy that I’ve finally found something that gives me purpose outside of my home.
Y’all, I am such a better mom too. I enjoy them more than I ever have. Part because they are at such a fun age, but mostly because we aren’t together every waking minute. I can’t wait to get home to them at night. I can’t wait to spend the weekends with them. I love snuggling in the WAY EARLY mornings. I’m so much more fun too. We have countless dance parties, pj parties, coloring parties, must I go on, now. I say ‘yes’ to them so much more.
I’m telling you all this because I honestly felt so guilty for a while because I felt like it was so wrong for me to feel this liberated and different. It felt wrong that I was away from my kids and loving it. Not to mention that when I told people I was getting a job they’d say, “WHY!???? You’re leaving the dream! Don’t do it!” and such.
Yes, I was living the dream. But not my dream. I was living SO MANY women’s dreams but not mine.
And y’all, I SHOULD NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT THAT.
I know that now I am such a fun, loving, grace-giving, merciful mother. We have read more books, played more games, learned more scripture together, and snuggled more than we have ever and I’m working full time.
That is the honest truth.
So moms, this is what I want to say to you.
It is okay to absolutely love your life whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom.
You should never, ever feel guilty about your family’s choice in that matter.
My friend Cassidy is a stay-at-home mom and I swear, y’all, she enjoys every second of it. Is it HARD on her and her family?! Yes! She crunches every.single.penny. so that she can stay home. I’m not lying. I’ve never seen a family so happy with not-so-much money. They don’t seem like they have to crutch their money though. You would never know it because of the happiness that exudes out of every single one of them because Cassidy makes their life so completely wonderful because SHE ABSOLUTELY LOVES her job as a stay-at-home mom. She is the best at fun parties, lunches, teacher gifts, etc etc etc. I always pick at her that she makes all other moms look bad. She is simply amazing and she is in love with her life.
But y’all…. I’m that way now that I work. I absolutely love my life. Are there moments I don’t love? Yes. Are there things I would change? Yes. But as a whole, I am happier than I’ve ever been. My relationships are so much better. Andy and I are better than we have been in quite a while. We can’t wait to see each other at the end of the day. He doesn’t dread coming home and I don’t dread him leaving and long for him to get back simply to help. My relationship with my girls is better. I can’t tell you how this has changed our life at home into a more positive atmosphere.
And that is what matters. What is MY dream and best for MY FAMILY’S LIFE is the best. This is not a selfish thing either. I knew it wasn’t working out with my being a stay-at-home mom. It was selfish to have the attitude I had about staying at home. I know that was so wrong.
Moms set the tone for the entire household. They really do. “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”… how many times have we heard that quote?! It is so true though.
The tone in my house is so different. Its as if we opened up the windows to a stale home and let the fresh air in.
Life has shifted and I am so thankful I don’t have to feel guilty about it and neither do you, girls.
I can’t wait to get home to my precious stinkers and see them patting the seat between them saying, “Come snuggle a little, momma!”.
Oh how I love this shift.