This week has been a busy week, then again, aren't they all? I had an awaking though this week, one that seemed out of nowhere, but as I'm feeling more and more, is meant to be. I saw the woman who used to own our home outside of M's school; her baby daughter, youngest of four girls, is in school now. So strange to me since I remember her baby daughter best as the chubby faced baby in the high chair as we did our first walk through of our home.
We started chatting and the talk turned from the community and school, to life with children and going back to work. It wasn't just what she said, but how she said it, that something clicked for me. We talked about helping the schools, on the PTA, music boosters in highschool, sports, etc. I told her how eager I was to help, but wondered how I was going to make it work with three kids. Even told her how I was on the fence about having baby #4. She reassured me that no matter how many (or few) children you had, you can never do everything-its impossible. Something always has to give, sometimes even two kids have things on the same night. She talked about being pulled in many directions, even with her two oldest daughters in high school-how the two of them were needier than her younger two, more for emotional and moral support than the physical caregiving of their younger days. She talked about how going from three to four was easier than going from two to three (chaos is the norm by that point, we both agreed). And no matter what, we make it work, because that's what we do. She encouraged me to work now, instead of waiting later when E starts kindergarten. Having teenage daughters at home, she said now is the time to work because what R and I do still is the law of the land, M and his brothers know that. Later on, she said, during the junior high years, is when it changes, peer influences more than mom and dad. She said in her experience, she's been needed more for moral support, needed for driving to various activities, needed on boards and planning activities, etc, than during the elementary school days. She said its more critical to be at home then so you know what's going on, especially when friends take precedence over mom and dad. When I told her my concerns about missing field trips or helping out in the classroom, she said the bottom line is you're available to your kids, both now and in the years to come. To her, now is the time to get myself established work-wise so when the kids do have activities (even activities now) I have enough foundation to relax my schedule, to have more flexibililty later. She's walked it both ways, staying home and working, choosing career paths more than once, starting over, creating a quilt of her time that cuts through both worlds, figuring out what was best for her and her life.
Her passion for her life, and the peace she has from how she leads it now, along with her words resonated with me. I don't have to decide now what I want. I can enjoy what I have with the boys. Have another baby too if I want. Enjoy it when I do find a job that works for me and my life. I can change my mind later on, that if it doesn't work I can find something else that will. I can stop feeling guilty about applying for jobs, ones that seemingly have more requirements that I don't have, ones I think I might had I not taken a detour and stayed home. The thing that would hurt the most is not trying at all. So I'll stick my neck out, apply. See what happens. Isn't that what I always say? Life is a journey.