When I started my first big-girl job, I loved many things about work. It was meaningful and busy and I was good at it. But I was also frustrated with obligatory paperwork, limited vacation days, and the inability to go to the bathroom any time I wanted. The usual growing-up woes.
“I am going to plan my career break!” I declared, wanting to play all day and travel the world. But Noah said I had to first have a career in order to take a break from it, and yes, that meant working for more than one year.
“I am going to be a stay at home wife!” I declared, tired of the 8 to 4 monotony. But I would have been bored and depressed and fat with all the emotional eating I did, not yet skilled in the arts of being content in my identity and dealing with my feelings in a healthy way.
So I learned to be an adult and also create a life I loved.
Fast forward several years. It wasn’t part of the original plan where I would work my full-time job at least until the baby was born, but I am pleasantly surprised at how wonderful my life is right now. In fact, I couldn’t have planned it better myself.
I quit my job in September and took on a part-time nannying gig for two months. It was low-key, peaceful, and in light of my previous stressful work situation, extremely appreciated.
Yesterday was my last day as a nanny. As of today, I’m a full-blown stay at home wife. I have more time for the things I love: second breakfasts, FaceTiming my sister, practicing yoga, reading, and writing. I write for myself…and for the first time, I write for clients.
Small steps can make a big difference.
Freelance writing doesn’t pay much, but it allows me to write consistently, receive feedback, and build my portfolio. I am finally doing that one thing I always loved since I was a little girl, but would regard as an aspiration exclusively reserved for the far-off distant future.
“Think of it like a free creative writing course,” says Noah. And I do. It’s my first one! I never took an English class in college because I didn’t think I could handle it. I never even went to the Writing Center for help with assignments because I was intimidated by the writing fellows.
But I don’t want fear to have power over me anymore.
I don’t know what my experience of motherhood will be like. I don’t know if I’ll have energy or interest in doing work on the side. I don’t know where life will take us once Noah finishes his PhD: where we will live, what field of work he will be in, what kind of lifestyle we will have.
I know one thing: I want to be a mom who leads by example, who embraces a life she would want her children to live. I want to be brave and follow my dreams, regardless of whether or not they’re on pause for years before I see them come to pass. I want to own all my choices.
I would rather my kids say: “We didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents loved each other and loved us. They went after their dreams and inspired us to do the same,” instead of how I hear my parents lament about their regrets and the ways they would have done things differently.
We moved to Colorado primarily for Noah’s program, but it turns out it was for me, too — to have this dream-come-true season.
I love being Noah’s biggest fan. I am happy to support him and choose what is best for our family. We’re investing in his education, and later, if it’s what I really want, the right timing will come when I go back to school as well.
But the decision to stay home for now doesn’t mean my life is at a standstill. Noah is my biggest fan, too. He is always looking to empower me, to find ways for me to pursue my dreams, to choose what is best for me. My future is as exciting as it ever was.
This season is temporary, as they all are, and I will be thrilled when my world is turned upside down at my baby’s arrival. But for now, I am soaking up these quiet days by myself, and it’s a beautiful life. An open Word document, a hot mug of tea, and a heart full and free.