Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

You may have noticed from previous posts that I’m struggling a bit with staying home. I’ve always worked. Always. And even though I’ve now started working from home, I have definitely missed interacting with coworkers each day, the thrill of impending deadlines, getting dressed up, and yes, even the rush of trying to balance a 9-5 while caring for my family. Being a working mother is part of who I am, or at least, who I was.

I’ve been praying for a job opportunity to come along. I’ve been working on my business, writing, and preparing for an online class, but spending a good portion of my time searching and applying for full-time, outside-of-the-home work. I've been applying for everything. After two major disappointments, I started to get discouraged.

And then, I received a call about a position I had applied for, but really was not very excited about. I know that sounds ungrateful, or picky, or something else not-so-good. But, it’s true. It's a position working for a big law firm, helping with litigation, something I have never, ever wanted to do. (I’m a lawyer, but I’m not that kind of lawyer). I went to the interview, nervous and unsure, and, to my surprise, was offered the job.

I came home to tell my husband, expecting him to be thrilled at the prospect of being a two-income household once again. But, instead, his response was, “It doesn’t seem like you’re very excited about it. I want you to be happy. So, if this isn’t the one, don’t take it.” I was grateful for his support, but even more confused.

When my daughter came home from school, she asked why I was so dressed up. (She has become used to me coming to get her in jeans, so this interview suit seemed foreign to her). I told her that I had a job interview, and that I had been offered the job. I explained that it was a position working with a firm and that it would probably be a 9-5 job, although there may be some nights or weekends.

Her face dropped. And, of course, so did my heart. “Oh,” she said, “I guess that’s good.” “Ok, so tell me what you’re really thinking,” I prodded. She went on to explain that she wants me to be happy, and knows that I miss working, but that she’s really enjoyed having me home. “Besides, Momma,” she added, “you’re a lot nicer and less stressed out now.” Wow. With this, my husband smiled and turned away, which meant that he obviously agreed.

I have always made sure my work schedule was flexible, so I didn’t realize just how much time I had taken away from my family, especially my little girl. Even though I went to work after she left for school in the morning, and got home before she did in the afternoon, I often had to work late, or bring work home, and out-of-town travel was common. So, I did miss out on a lot. And, in addition to being sometimes physically absent, I was also emotionally absent, often worried about work, and therefore unable to be fully present at home.

Since we moved across the country two months ago, I've enjoyed being here to help my daughter get settled in to her new school, new home, and new routine. I've enjoyed having more time to write, exercise, and even, surprisingly, cook. (Many of you know that the only thing I used to be able to cook is coffee. But, now, I'm becoming quite the chef. Kinda). Most of all, I've enjoyed my long walks and talks with my daughter in the afternoon, catching up on the excitement, ups and downs, of her day.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s bad to be a working Mom. I’m grateful that my daughter got to see me pursuing my education and career, while still caring for her each and every day. She knows that she can accomplish anything, she understands the importance of an education, and she is passionate about pursuing her own career some day. So, yes, I’m glad that I have had a career, and I have no intention of giving that up. I just wonder if it’s time to re-examine what that career should look like. (And I'm fairly certain it won't involve a law firm).

So I am now praying, not for a job, but rather for patience and guidance. In fact, most of my prayers recently are not requests at all, but rather a list of all the things I am grateful for, including this time at home. God has shown me numerous times that I don’t always know what’s best for me. But, what I do know is that I am incredibly blessed, and have many, many things for which I need to say, simply and truly, THANK YOU.

I still don’t believe I am ready to be fully self-employed, especially working from home. I haven't decided what to do about the job offer, but I know I will make the right decision. I'm grateful for the offer, grateful for any glimmer of hope in this dismal economy, but also cautious. I know that I still want to find a career that I’m passionate about, and that will make this world a better place for our children. I want to find that career that fuels me, that makes me want to go to work, and leaves me feeling energized. Anything less, is simply not worth the time away from home. So, my friends, be careful what you wish for. You just may find that it’s not really what you wanted at all.


  1. I miss you. This post makes me cry I miss you so much!

  2. Totally made me think about important life stuff. Thanks, Pam!

  3. Awww. I miss you too, Bekah.

    @laurharr: Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I've certainly been thinking about a lot lately as well.