Starting this September I will no longer be the mother of a preschooler. My youngest child is officially loading his backpack and heading out to school. As a former SAHM, this means I am venturing into a new season of life as well, but my bags aren’t packed and I am unsure of what the future holds. As he readies for days of study, I brace for days of discovery.
I tinker with dreams and passions that did not die as I lived in the days of littles, but hibernated until it was time to awaken them again. That time is now, and as I stand on the precipice of a new stage of life outside of being a SAHM, I have three questions:
What will work for my family?
I would love to go back to work, but as I scan websites for career opportunities I have to ask myself what will that be best for our family dynamic? The answer to this question looks different for every mom as we strive to build foundations for our children’s futures. I work through the practicalities of going back to work. We all know that schools are hot zones for the common cold, flu, and pink eye; who will stay home with the kids if they get sick, especially when it takes a month for a virus to work its way through all four of my little ones. What will dinner time look like? What about the activities the kids all love? Part-time might be better, but what will that mean for the school loans I am still paying off?
There are a lot of people living in my house, which means multiple schedules to consider. However, I am one of those people as well. Obviously, I haven’t figured out exactly where I am going or what I will do, but I realize there are others beyond myself to consider in the process. And I am grateful for each and every one.
What do I love?
When I was a SAHM all day in comfy clothing and waking up all hours of the night, I was still me. I was not less than who I was before I had children, but I was all of who I am as a mother. During those days I didn’t think much about what I would love to do because I was so focused on those I love. Now that they will be gone for hours a day, what I loved as a child, teen, and young adult is rising back to the surface. I add up my experiences, talents, and skills with those things I am naturally drawn to and see a bright horizon of opportunity.
What am I called to do?
What I love and what I am called to are not always the same thing. Though they often align, there are times when I am called to do things I do not love. When duty or mundane tasks demand my attention I still must conquer them. When there is deep conviction within me, I must listen to it, even when it requires sacrificing my comfort. So I ask, “How am I shaped? What can I do to brighten a world that often seems dark?”
What we are called to is not often spelled out for us in a single word, so right now as I seek the answers to questions that dance throughout my plans and days, I will hold to what I already know I am called to and trust that the rest will be revealed as time unfolds.
Until then I know I am called to love my children even when they wreak havoc on the quiet in my house.
May my own emotional storms be tamed by patience.
I know I am called to stand courageously in the face of life.
May I rise even if I am scared.
I know I am called to live full of faith, care sacrificially, and play my part on this ever-spinning planet. May I shine my light even when I am tempted to hide it.
I know I am called to love.
May I not take this charge for granted, even one day, for it is a calling that makes life worth living.