This is a bit backwards; a glimpse at the end of this jungle gym season to the max. I LOVED staying home. I was better at staying home than I thought I would be and there were so many surprises the kids and I enjoyed together. I was grateful for consulting. Consulting allowed me to keep my skills and context up while still mostly being focused on the home front. This – this in between of being a regular employee but only part time – I’m not loving so much. My projects are big and strategic and my windows of time in the office or completely alone to get work done are small. Steve comes home and I leave for Starbucks to bang out reports and presentations. There are meetings I have to find sitting coverage for because I’m technically still at home without full time childcare but I’m also technically back at work. I can’t complain because I, by the grace of God and some really understanding leadership, have been given exactly what I said I wanted. I guess sometimes what we THINK we want just comes with some complications we didn’t expect.
I’m excited to go back to work. I’m ready to be all in on this work that I enjoy. I’m so so ready to be back on the same rhythms with Steve. I’m grateful that our kids will get to have special time with their GG and Ms. Melissa. I look forward to being more intentional about my time with the kids again.
All of this said, I wouldn’t trade the completely unexpected season of this past year and some change for anything. What an extreme privilege to have my version of “having it all.”
When babies are tiny, you can snuggle them all you want and they mostly enjoy it in a passive kind of way. They get a bit older and snuggling disappears for a while as they don’t want you or are flailing weirdos trying to fall asleep. Then – with both of my kids at least – 18 months-ish rolls around and snuggling starts to reappear. This kind of snuggling is different though because it is actively chosen and engaged in.
I slept with Bekah one of the nights at the cabin over the weekend and experienced some of this amazing, second phase cuddling. It was extra special with my girl. She pressed her forehead against mine, closed her eyes, opened them wide to look into mine, and then they crinkled around the edges with her giggle. This went on for a while before she snuggled her head into my neck and her breathing got heavy.
This moment made me think of the times my mom and I made a bed on the living room floor to watch movies. The mornings in middle school when I’d slip into her bed and cry and beg not to go to school because the girls were SO mean. The mornings in high school when she would come get into my twin bed and we would chat about whatever until we decided we were going to be late for all the things and should get our arses in gear.
I hope my girl knows she is always safe in those snuggles to bring her giggles, her highs, and her lows. I hope God grants me the wisdom and the grace and the compassion to meet her wherever she’s at in any of those snuggle sessions.
When I was working and praying through potentially leaving work to stay home with our kids for a season, I found myself learning from these bad A women in my life that they had done the same thing at some point. WHAT?! Why have you never told me that? How did it work? How did you come back? How did you still become such a baller? All of these
super eloquent questions flew through my mind as it was blown by amazing career woman after amazing career woman. Our stories matter, folks. Our stories provide guidance and hope to others – this has been reinforced by this year’s homework of reading biographies (more on that in a post to come). I think I had started to take this fact and my own story for granted until I received this message from a new mama last night:
I learned from talking to women who had gone before me that Sheryl Sandberg had not, in fact, made up the jungle gym analogy for one’s journey at work. Women had been jungle gyming under the radar while men climbed away on their corporate ladders for a very long time. These same women didn’t feel they could talk about their experience for fear of reminding anyone in leadership (ahem, men) that they had stepped out/back/sideways on the jungle gym for a period of time.
SO I’m going to do a series on my jungle gym journey to date in hopes that it sheds some light on this topic for others who are in similar shoes or might be one day.
Back in the Saddle
This Season: But What Do You Do?
“They feel like fall, don’t they?”
Teaching was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Doing life – the good, bad, and the ugly – with my kids was the greatest privilege. Nearly eight years later, the time I spent teaching still blows my mind and heart.
“Most of us raise our children based on our gut reactions. But how do we know whether such responses are trustworthy or just the result of bad lasagna? Actually, adult “gut reactions” are the results of childhood responses to family emotions and interactions. Therefore, “gut feel” is more valid if we had a happy childhood and presently have peaceful and rewarding relationships at home and elsewhere. On the other hand, if we react to our childhood by saying, ‘I sure do want things differently with my kid than my mom and dad did with me,’ then our gut reactions will probably be untrustworthy and faulty.” – Parenting with Love & Logic