Truth over Tea

For over nine years, I woke up early in the morning, got dressed, kissed my kids (or sent them off to school) and left my house to go to work. I was a work outside of the house mom. I have never really minded it. My husband's schedule has always been in the evening and we've managed to juggle child-raising fairly well over the last decade of parenting. Some days it looks prettier than others.

Around six months ago, working outside of the home started to get really hard.

I have always had great, understanding, family-oriented employers, but I remember feeling tired, behind and stressed - even more than usual.

Now, I have a great, cut through the crap friend named Esther. Everyone should have an Esther. We worked together at my last job and one day she came into my office to fix her daily cup of tea, and as she dipped the tea bag in and out of the hot water, she looked at me as I frantically texted some instructions to my husband and said, "You feel like you are running a household from your phone don't you?"

I stopped. My eyes welled up with tears. She had gut punched me with an undeniable truth. She had 
perfectly encapsulated months of stress and worry in one tea steeping sentence.

I was feeling like I needed to be home, but I couldn't be, and that was breaking me.

I had been spending months beating myself up because I was tired and stressed and cranking out a daily life that was just not a reflection of my full potential. My life wasn't working but as far as I could tell, it was my fault.

When in reality, at that moment, life was too much and I wasn't acknowledging it. My youngest son needed a lot of consistency that I wasn't there to give him, my dad was sick, our childcare situation was different everyday, Andy and I were barely ever in the same room together and I just felt like I wasn't giving anyone my best. I was spreading myself out in a thin, unsatisfying layer over every obligation I had, and it felt terrible.

And I wasn't where I was needed the most. 

And all I could do was tell myself to try harder. To do better. To be more.

After that encounter, I began to squeeze my eyes shut on a regular basis and admit to God that life was just too overwhelming. I didn't know what else to pray other than, "Something's gotta give, Lord...and it can't be my 15 year old car or my lower back."

I didn't know how or when or in what capacity the seas were going to part and I was going to see some relief, I just clung to the belief that my motives were pure and my prayers were sincere and God was listening.

In a very short amount of time, my life drastically changed. I got an unbelievable opportunity to work from home that came with the flexibility to focus my attention on my home and my family.

And after a week of being a work at home mom, my house was spotless, my kids had the Bible memorized and I began making all of our furniture and clothes by hand.

OR perhaps...

I spent the first three months perched on the end of my couch in my pajamas with a laptop while my kids circled me like cats studying a new piece of furniture. No one knew what to do when I was home. My k-cup consumption was out of control and I think by week three I heard my husband mutter under his breath, "Is she going to get dressed today?"

My potty training child was indicating his accidents by simply walking into the room and screaming DAMMIT at the top of his lungs before heading to the bathroom. My nine year old didn't know what to do so he just talked to me about You Tubers for most of the day.

I did start going to the gym again but when my trainer asked me my fitness goals I told him I just wanted to be able to evacuate my house at 3 in the morning if there was a fire without getting stuck in that my-lower-back-is-hurting and I can't move pose that was a hallmark of my mornings. 

So, as it was, the transition was not magic. It took several months to train everyone on how to have mommy at home all the time. Oh, and I had to get off the couch to give the cushion a chance to recover from my butt print and I had to vow to brush my teeth. (whatevs)

This weird world of being a worker bee and being at home was a whole new animal that I wasn't at all sure I would do well. And honestly, at first, I really didn't.

Yet - somewhere in the midst of working out our routines, I noticed that the pit in my stomach was gone. That I wasn't feeling frantic anymore. That I knew in the course of the day, no matter what happened, I was exactly where I needed to be.

I wish I could tell you that the calm in my house is a result of everyone knowing that mom is home, but in reality, I have become calmer and that has permeated throughout our home and been just what we needed. 

I will always be grateful for the truth Esther spoke to me that day over tea.


In other news, you may have noticed my blog has undergone a face lift. I am working to fulfill my "when I turn 40," goal of writing my fingers off. I am ghostwriting a lot, freelancing a lot and trying to figure out what original words, if any, that I might have to say and in what genre I would like to say them in.

I had a magazine recently accept an essay I wrote, which was very exciting and they wanted to know my twitter handle - I don't tweet. I have way more words to say than they will allow. But in the meantime, make a note of my new blog address - and pardon the mess.

Thanks for reading.


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