The next day, I returned to work. I always said that the anticipation was much worse than the reality. Once I got into the swing of it and living my life by lists, we made it work. Nina spent a day a week with her dad, one with each set of grandparents, and two days with some amazing friends who loved on our girl. But it was exhausting.
In 2014, Brooks was born and I found myself in the same place when I returned to work with him. I was tense. I was overwhelmed. I still loved my job, but I felt like I was always behind. I LIVED for snow days because it gave me a few more hours to get ahead. But, I sarcastically began responding to people that I was "Living the dream". The thing was, I began to feel like I was on a hamster wheel to nowhere. Get on it every morning and run as hard and fast as I could until I fell asleep. Get back on it the next day. And the next day. And the next. Until the weekend and I tried to cram as much housework as possible into that small block of 48 hours. I didn't see any hope of getting off of the wheel. Running. Running. Tired, overwhelmed and frustrated that the day only gave me 24 hours.
In 2016, we moved to Huntington. Our first weekend in this new town, Lee and I sat down in the hotel bathroom (Because we didn't have a place to live yet and the kids were asleep.) and decided that I was going to start another new adventure (because our life wasn't adventurous enough when we moved) and begin my own business with Rodan and Fields. It was fun and encouraging and found that it was something I was good at and that I REALLY enjoyed.
As time progressed, we had two amazing babysitters (one the first semester we were here and another for the next school year) in Huntington that were completely Godsent. They loved our babies well. We were comfortable and confident. But I still got up every morning and got on the hamster wheel. I ran hard. My newly diagnosed Psoriatic Arthritis was exacerbated by the constant stress of learning a new job, being a pastor's wife at a new church, having two kids, trying to continue to strip wallpaper and move in the house, laundry, food, I gained 20+ pounds of stress eating and inability to regularly exercise. The wheel was hard. And my feet were moving faster than ever in an attempt to just keep my head above water.
Summer of 2017, our beloved babysitter decided it was time for her to spread her wings and use her degree and get a nursing job. (She seriously will be the best nurse!) As we began to process daycare and struck out on finding in home childcare, we evaluated my business. This "little side gig" wasn't little. This side gig was huge and has so much more growth potential. This "little side gig" was actually enabling me to stay home. It was happening! 6.5 years after I began to search for this opportunity, God has given me the desires of my heart through this amazing business. I had made many amazing friends who had been able to leave their full time jobs for this business and now I get to join them in this incredible journey.
So, after a few phone calls, letters, and emails, I have resigned my teaching job and I'm off the wheel. I am ready to have time to talk to people and to rest. To not always be on the struggle bus of survival and to soak up the last few years I have of my littlest love being home. I am ready to have opportunities to love on people without the constant stress of the sound of the clock ticking in my ear.
At the turn of the year, I began to read the book "Overwhelmed" by Kathi Lipp and did my personal manifesto. I realized that so much of my manifesto was difficult because I was always on the run. I am ready to make good to these truths that I want to be part of me.
I have never known adult life where "teacher" wasn't in my wheelhouse. I will miss my students and my coworkers something fierce. This is uncomfortable. But change always is, right? But, as I have come to live my life by: nothing changes if nothing changes. And for me to live a life of peace, something had to change. By me saying "yes" to starting my own skincare business, God was able to use that platform to free me from the hamster wheel. As I know transition is hard, I'm ready to be mom full time. I'm ready to see how my business will continue to change my family's life and the lives around me and the lives of others who say "yes". I am ready to see my psoriatic arthritis go into remission because of reduced stress. I am ready for cuddles on cold mornings in the winter, the grocery store in the morning hours, not feeling like I'm constantly catching up, and to have time to meet with young women to encourage them in the faith.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says "To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven." A new season is here. And I am excited to explore my new purpose.
And the next time I say "I'm living the dream" I'm going to not be using my gift of sarcasm.