For the past five years, I’ve blithely answered, “Oh, I’ll go back to work once both of our kids are in school.” Figuring that that answer bought me oodles of time to figure out my career trajectory before both girls were attending said school. Yet, suddenly, here I am, in the last year before my Baby will trot off to school with Big Sis. In the past week since school started, I’ve been asked countless times what my plans are for a year from now when Elsie will join Zoe at school. That precarious, uncertain time when those of us who have been full-time, stay-at-home moms are suddenly left adrift, watching as someone else takes our little ones under their wing.
Part of me, when asked what my plans are, is beyond terrified. Who am I now outside of being a stay-at-home mom? How will I personally balance being a wife and mom while being a career woman? Do I even want to balance all of that, especially with Jeff’s job being quite demanding? Would I instead be brave enough to live counter-culturally, embracing my potential role of permanent homemaker? In a society where our worth is attached to an education, a dollar sign, a status, will my self-esteem be able to handle the criticism and assumptions? It’s only been recently that I’ve felt comfortable enough in my own skin as a stay-at-home mom. Would I eventually also be confident enough to proudly state that I’m a full-time homemaker?
Another part of me is beyond excited. With two kids at school….there will be so much more time. Time to pursue my passions – to write, play music, paint, read, garden, practice yoga.
There will be time to nurture relationships – to spend the day with my parents, to have a morning cup of coffee with my mother-in-law, to love on my nephew, to be there for our siblings. There would be no reason to not cultivate memories and moments with my neighbours, my friends, and my immediate family.
There will be more time to volunteer – to give back to the girls’ school, our church and our community.
There will be more time to practice hospitality. Our free time can be devoted to opening our home, to being a haven not only for our family but for our friends and neighbours. It has always been my desire that our home be the place our kids come to with their friends, and similarly, that our home be the place where our friends know a cup of coffee is always waiting.
The other part of me, when asked what my plans are once Elsie is off to school, wants to simply pause. I want to say, Please let me enjoy this last year. Let me soak up every moment. Let me memorize the feeling of my Baby crawling into my lap for one more story. Let me enjoy each lunch time we have, just the two of us, chatting about the things she finds mesmerizing. Let me treasure the days she asks me to nap with her, snuggling against my back, her chubby arm flung across my shoulders. Please let me live in the moment. Allow this year – this special, special, last year – to be enough for me.
In actuality, when posed with the well-intended question of my post-stay-at-home parent plans, I laugh. I shrug my shoulders and say, “I really don’t know what I will do.” But I do know that I’m not going to wish the time away. I’m going to cherish every moment. And I’m going to trust that God will nudge me through the doors that He opens. Whatever that may look like.