This is amazing!
It has been only 2 years since I wrote for fun (compared to the 5-year hiatus I previously experienced). At this rate, by Summer 2018, I could be writing daily!
My world has changed significantly since my last post. For one, it takes me only 1/2 the time to make coffee in the morning; my kids still help, but they’re getting the hang of it. 🙂
We’re still in the same home (which, as some of you know, is a huge feat for us, although a bummer for our realtor), but there have been some pretty big changes since my last post:
- Nate has been promoted to Engineer (i.e., full-time driver) and changed stations! (He’s loving this.)
- Both kids will start new schools this fall.
- My 16-year tenure at American Bible Society ended, and I’m currently unemployed. (A very weird feeling that surfaces when I, for instance, fill out a preschool application for my daughter, and I’m asked for my employer contact information.)
I haven’t been unemployed since September 1994 when I first moved to the Washington D.C. area. I spent 6 weeks temping and looking for a job. (Back then I used a newspaper and sent potential employers paper resumes and cover letters via this thing called the postal service!)
Job hunting has changed a bit since then.
Job hunting may be a different post, but for today, I’ll focus on two lessons learned this summer: Profound respect for stay-at-home-parents. And, my theme for the summer: People over Projects.
June 9 was my last day at ABS. Although I was sad to leave, I was also at peace. I truly believed (and still do) that God was starting a new phase, and my job for this summer was to get as much family time in as possible. After having traveled for work twice a month for more than a year, our family needed a time to re-set.
I had plans to swim with the kids a lot and fully embrace our planned vacations with zero guilt about work I would no longer be leaving behind. That all happened according to plan.
The part of the plan I got wrong, however, was anticipating how much time I’d have to do what I wanted to do: organize our house, work on some pet projects, prepare to search for a new job, re-structure our home budget process, and write for fun.
I thought that, without that pesky job that had dominated my time 10 hours a day, I’d simply fill that time with all these glorious projects! (Nate even predicted, “Knowing you, by the end of the summer, everything will be organized, in a clear plastic bin, with a label. Even I’ll have a label. Husband.“)
It turns out, however, that not having a job doesn’t magically give you oodles of free time–especially over summer vacation with kids. All those daily chores that I used to cram in between conference calls or after work (or before work, which began at 5:30 am) still needed to be done. And I finally had time to exercise, but Nate’s 24-hour shift schedule didn’t change, so finding a consistent time/location with 2 kids was still a struggle.
Many days, after the kids would go to sleep, I’d think: “What in the world did I do today? We swam and played a few games, I ran an errand, prepped meals and fed my kids, and I think I paid a few bills. How did that take all day??”
I fought it for a while. I slowly began to get bitter about not getting my own project time. Funny thing about dedicating time to your family for the summer: it actually takes precious time!
That’s when it hit me: this summer, it’s about my kids, Nate, family, and friends. If I want to focus on the people who mean the most to me here in Colorado, it means I have to rein in the part (majority) of me who always wants to work, organize, plan, do, and accomplish things. Instead, I had to intentionally pause, look at the people around me, and make a concerted effort to spend time with them… on their terms.
People over projects.
As a result, I have a new appreciation for those around me. My son loves making up board games and card games. My daughter loves playing horses and “pencils” (where all the pencils & crayons are put into families and have neighborhood BBQs). One night, when my 13 yo niece was staying with us, I opted to make popcorn and watch a silly movie with her (instead of attending to the perfectly good laundry and stack of bills that were vying for my attention). I’ve gone swimming w/ my nieces, stopped by to visit my parents for no reason, and I even started scoping out how I could begin serving at church (for the first time in . . . yikes . . . a long time!).
It’s safe to say I’ve had a change of heart and attitude about the summer, but that leads me to my second lesson learned: Profound respect for stay-at-home parents.
This is way more work than meets the eye; alone time is still scarce. I now understand. I get it. I have more empathy and significantly more respect for stay at home parents. You all are rock stars! This is not for the faint of heart.
I also now understand why stay-at-home-parents are so excited for their kids to get back into school.
Holy smokes. I kid you not. I’m literally counting the days.
August 21, the day of the solar eclipse, will be the first day both kids are in school for the full day. And Nate will be at work.
I will be alone all day!!*
I find myself staring at that day with one thing on the calendar: “Solar eclipse” from 11:30 – 12:30. And it’s like I can breathe more easily than I’ve breathed all summer.
I still do want to go back to work one day–not to avoid stay-at-home-ness, but because I truly enjoy having a job that involves working with crazy-smart people to create something that’s never been created before. But that time will come when it comes. In the mean time, I’m going to make the most of this family re-set summer: enjoy the moments with my family and friends, and put people over projects. . .
. . .until Aug 21. . .
. . . then, I’m going to bust out that label maker!
*I was going to be alone all day, but I now have a meeting scheduled with two people from church to create a communication piece for the children’s ministry. You can take the girl out of work, but you can’t take the work out of the girl! 😉