Anyone who grew up when the Goosebumps series ran rampant must surely remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books–novels that allowed you, the reader, to make a decision at certain junctures in the story that would lead to different outcomes. As any avid reader probably did, I always had to find out ALL the adventure options, just to make sure I was choosing the right one.
Sometimes in life I feel like doing that—like I feel the need to try out ALL my options before I commit to just one, just so I can know that I’m choosing the “right” path, or the “best” one.
After I first had Raven, a part of me was glad I would be going back to work full-time, just to see what that path felt like. I thought I’d always wanted to be a working mom, so I was secretly kind of relieved that life put me in a position where it made much more sense for me to teach that fourth year rather than to quit and stay at home right away.
After a full school year away from my daughter during all those hours of the day, however, I decided, without any hesitation, that the stay-at-home mom life would, for me, be the path I’d rather choose, and I quit my job.
Here I am now, over a year later, and my feelings a month or two ago about the whole thing were much less clear cut. I felt like I was drowning in isolation, like I was stagnating in my personal growth, like day after day, I was going just a little more crazy…
So I started looking for a job again, sure that that must be the answer.
Well, without going into detail about the hows and whys and whatnot, I felt a distinct impression about a month ago that I needed, again, to choose to stay at home.
Because I felt sure about the impression, it actually became easier to just embrace (again) the season that I am in right now, instead of waffling over whether or not I should keep applying for jobs, or keep on looking.
And so I looked for ways to start embracing this season more than I was before, when I felt so much anguish about it.
I reminded myself that if I feel stuck inside the house, then I, as a grown woman with access to a car and in full possession of a valid driver’s license, can take us OUT of the house for the morning or afternoon.
I reminded myself that if I feel stuck doing the same things over and over again, that I, as a grown woman, have the option and ability to change things up, to not always follow the routine, to break those artificial rules that I have constructed in my head.
And you know what?
Sometimes, that “rule-breaking” or that sense of adventure have led us to have wonderful afternoons filled with new experiences and lots to talk about with Matt when he gets home.
Sometimes, that rule-breaking will simply remind me WHY I set that particular “rule” in the first place, like by letting us run out of clean underwear and find out that yes, it IS a good idea to keep Friday as the eternal Laundry Day for now. (Or that YES, I really should allow for an afternoon nap on the majority of days.)
Basically, I’ve been thinking a lot about something my mom told me when I was still teaching, when I was griping about how I was sick of working and just wanted to stay at home already—
I had been using language that made myself out as the victim, language that basically said I had no CHOICE but to be working at that moment in time.
My mom sure put me in my place fast (nicely, of course)—she reminded me that there were ALWAYS other options that I could pursue, but that this was the one I had CHOSEN at this time. If I prayerfully thought that something really needed to change, I could look for those other options and make them happen, rather than let myself be drowned out by the voice that tries to tell me I am stuck in my circumstances.
So for now, I have chosen (again) to embrace being a stay-at-home mom. I have chosen to rededicate myself to the hundreds of little things that need to be done over and over and over again daily, and not to resent it, but to rejoice in it.
And you know what?
The attitude that I am choosing my own adventure (and that I feel, deep down, that I have chosen the best adventure for me at this moment in time) has made all the difference.
(All photos from a day when I realized that if I was bored sitting at home, I had the power to get us out of that home—so we went on a miniature hike to explore the new canyon by our house, then out to get 59-cent cones at the McDonald’s just down the street. The excursion showed me that I don’t need a lot of money or perfect weather or even other adults to just take an adventure–I just need to make myself do it.)
This post reminded me forcibly of this past post, but I thought that it all bore repeating since I apparently needed to go through the same thinking process again.