Hey y’all! I kind of went on a writing rampage a few weeks ago and then my brain got quiet. I haven’t had a lot to decompress (I started this blog because I needed to get somethings off my chest) so I didn’t need to write. But as I’m sitting in front of my computer doing some work on a Friday evening, I thought about a text convo I had with a friend the other day. He’s in the midst of a work transition, finally stepping out of the traditional workforce and going with his Plan A. I told him that I was finally at my Plan A – being a wife to my husband and raising my kiddos – in peace.
A couple of months before we got married, I was packing up to move into my new apartment and found my Senior Memory Book. It contained all the memories and pics of my senior year of high school, along with a ‘In 10 Years’ page. I’d written that in ten years, I saw myself married to my then boyfriend (who is now my husband of 13 years) having three children (we stopped at 2), and teaching 3rd grade (I don’t teach children anymore – just adults). As I look back at the last 19 years since I wrote that, I realize now that at that moment, I thought I had it all figured out. A central part of my plan was to be an educator. I would be married, have children, work full-time, kill it in my career, and then come home every day and be the husband and mother every husband and child dreamed of. But a couple of years ago, actually more like five or six, I realized that something had to give. I was exhausted, cranky, fussy, mean, and drowning in work, family, and church obligations. There were Sundays were I didn’t have the energy or desire to go to church, which I loved doing, because the work week, in particular, had worn me out. I kept pushing myself because we had #goals. We needed to pay off debt, provide our children with a life better than the one we had growing up, climb the career ladder, and still be super sanctified, thou shalt not, Christians. However what I thought I needed to do was wearing me down.
Fast forward to a little over a year ago. and as I’ve written here Team OMNI, Pushed Too Far, Greater is Coming, The Cause for Tithing, and here just Wait for It! my career took a significant change. After working full-time for 14 years I was out of a job. While I was happy to be free from the burden of a job that was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting, I was scared of what the future would hold. Our gross family income took a significant hit, and I had to have some ‘tough’ conversations with myself and my children. I say ‘tough’ because really, in hindsight, I was being completely obnoxious. You see, while we are true tithers, donate to charity, and save money, we had also developed a habit of kind doing what we wanted when we wanted with our disposable income. Now let me be clear – we were not ‘ballin’ out of control’. My husband drives the 2004 Toyota Corolla I bought when I finished undergrad and my car is 4 years old with almost 100,000 miles. We bought the cheapest house on the block in a really nice neighborhood and our kids have never been to Disney (Land or World). But we (I) would frequent Starbucks like it was going out of business and because we were so tired at the end of the workday, we often ate out. When it came time to buy gifts for the numerous birthday parties we attended, we’d just grab a $25 gift card to a kid-friendly store because we didn’t have time to shop for a present. We were living a life of convenience because our (my) work life was running us (me) into the ground. And all of sudden, God put the brakes on. It all came to a screeching halt. And we (I) was left to wonder what would come next and how we’d weather this storm.
And now, here I am a year later, with a peace that I haven’t had in a long time. We managed to pay off all of our debt except our mortgage (on LESS income) and I have a great part-time job at a local university, helping preservice teachers find their voice. I still go to Starbucks but not every day and I get a plain coffee with two Splenda (in case anybody wants to get me a Grande blonde roast). We still go to birthday parties but we bargain shop and the kids make homemade cards. And eating out? We still have Mr. Jim’s on Fridays and special occasion dinners out but I generally cook six nights a week and we eat breakfast at home. But I’ve also learned that sometimes I just have to say no. I have to say ‘No, I can’t join you guys for dinner because I’ve reached the max on my allowance for this month’. ‘No, I can’t volunteer for this or that or attend that meeting because I have to cook for my family’. And ‘No. I can’t be everything to you, you, or you because God called me to be what my husband and children need’. All along my Plan A has been to be right where I am…at least for now. So I’ll enjoy my yoga pants needing a manicure, but I’ll also enjoy not shuffling my sick kids around because I can’t miss a meeting and dropping them off at school in my PJs (I don’t get out the car – stop judging me).
Until next time…