I graduated from college with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. My GPA was pretty solid, and I had a couple of engineering internships under my belt by the time I went looking for a full time job. I didn't have to look very far. I had several offers for employment (some even with sign-on bonuses, and moving bonuses) before I hit spring break my senior year.
I went to work for an internationally known engineering company, and I was doing fun stuff. I was working in manufacturing, and eventually worked my way into an R&D group and helped design a new inkjet cartridge. I traveled. Some of my work was patented. I was making nearly 6 figures after working for only 4 years.
I was on fire - in demand - successful - working hard...
and totally NOT doing what I wanted to be doing with my life.
Fridays were my life-blood... strong gin and tonics ranked right up there too. Come Sunday evening, I was in tears. Monday mornings (and often times Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday), I knew at which stop light I needed to be done crying so that I'd have enough time to recover and look presentable at the office.
Way down deep in my gut, I knew what I wanted. I'd always known. I wanted to be a mom.
So, we did what seemed perfectly logical to me: we got a dog.
And then another.
I took pictures of them, and even put the pictures up on my computer and walls of my cubicle. My co-workers were kind enough to ask how "the dogs" were. I went home every day for lunch to let them outside and throw a ball for a few minutes.
Still...the tears kept coming.
And then, FINALLY, we were able to start our family. I sat in meetings day after day and doodled baby names in my notebook...all while nodding and throwing my two cents in the conversation to try and cover for my obvious distraction. I munched pretzels and tried hard to not throw up during conference calls.
And then...the first ultrasound. LIFE! A heartbeat! It was a love like I'd never fathomed. I got the courage up to bring the little black and white photo to work with me and make my announcement...what a day!
I was 6 months pregnant with our first child when Luke and I decided that it was time for me to "retire". I gave notice at work, and within a couple of weeks, I was on my way to the life of leisure I'd dreamed of.
Well - that first pregnancy was pretty leisurely. I slept a lot. I ate even more. I would lie on the couch for hours and just daydream and feel my little one moving. I shopped for baby stuff. I got the nursery ready. I washed tiny clothes and hung them neatly in the closet.
This. THIS is what I was meant to do.
My little Benjamin was born in December of 2001.
My little Clara was born a mere 14 months later in February of 2003.
Sweet Samantha followed 2 years and 9 months later in November of 2005.
And finally, our little Thomas arrived in September of 2007.
I look back at that 20 something young woman who longed for the leisurely life of a stay at home mom, and you know what I do...I'm sure you know... I roll my eyes and I laugh my butt off!
Any job which demands being "on" 24 hours a day, every day, for...oh...about 23 YEARS in a row is not leisurely.
Any job which involves this many other people's bodily fluids is not leisurely.
Any job which will beat you down and make you feel like little more than a worker ant...with no pay or privacy enough to use the bathroom alone...is not leisurely.
Any job at which multiple people are frequently screaming/hitting each other/ crying is not leisurely.
Any job with stakes this high is not leisurely. As an engineer, the worst that could happen was me losing my job or getting written up. Here...I'm growing PEOPLE...messing up here is far more problematic than missing a deadline or botching a presentation.
The idea for this post came to me while I was in the shower today. I realized that it's been a couple of days since my last shower, and I had the thought:
Any job that leaves me putting "bathed" or "ate" or "slept" on my personal accomplishment list for the day is not a leisurely job!
And frankly, there are still days when I wake up and feel like bursting into tears! I can't do this! I'm no good at this! I'm exhausted! What about me?!
But you know what? I love this crazy, demanding, exhausting job. Love it. I can't think of anything else that I could do with my time that is more important or rewarding.
Four people will someday go out into the world, and part of the good (and yes, the bad) that they contribute will be because of me.
Four people are (hopefully) learning how it looks to love and live for the very Author of Life under my care.
Four people will (hopefully) leave my home knowing what it means to be loved and respected and cherished.
Four people will (hopefully) have their own families, and will know what a happy marriage looks like.
Four people will (hopefully) gain the courage and confidence to be the people God made them to be...to live the way He wants them to live...and to made a difference for His Kingdom.
And of course, in the mean time I get the sheer joy of getting to know these wonderful children. I get hugs and kisses and cuddles and "I love you"s. I get to see their eyes light up when they see or understand something for the first time. I get to smell their sweet heads after bath time. I get to press my cheek to their soft cheek as I tuck them all cozy in their beds at night. I get to be the first woman my sons share a dance with. I get to trim the hair and clean the ears. I get to hear the silly songs and jokes. I get to mark their growth with a mark on the pantry door each year. I get to practice spelling words and bake cookies and birthday cakes. I get to be the Mom.
Yeah, being an engineer was far, far easier and less stressful than this motherhood gig. And sure, the pay here might stink, but the benefits...the benefits positively ROCK.