Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Something Personal

This is a break in our regularly scheduled programming...

Today, I want to talk about being a working mom. I suppose I can talk broadly about being a working parent and I'm sure much of what I have to say is applicable to both moms and dads, but I will also own "working mom" as my primary perspective and not generalize about how the guys probably feel. (you know you're in trouble when a blog post requires this much prep)

Anyway, being a working mom is not new for me. I have been a working mom since Jacob was 6 weeks old. In fact, I came back to work at 6 weeks because it was Holy Week and I couldn't imagine not being at church for the most important build-up to the biggest celebration of the year, which is obviously Easter. Now, let me be honest, while that was true and I had planned long before having Jake to be back that week, I didn't go back crying and weeping to leave my baby boy at home. I went back to work ecstatic to get out of the house, eager to be around adults and have a schedule and go to meetings and eat lunch instead of being lunch (okay, maybe that's too personal, but I'm being real here).

I wanted to work. I love what I do and I wake up every morning eager to do it. This isn't the right decision for everyone and I'm not writing this in any way to advocate for working moms over stay-at-home moms. This was and is the right decision for me and my family for right now.

That said, being a working mom gets harder all the time. I love Jake so much and he is growing so quickly and I don't want to miss anything. He is at an awesome stage of talking and learning and I even have trouble resisting the constant gleam of mischief in his eyes. It's also getting harder because Jacob is old enough to go to preschool two mornings a week and take swim lessons and do so much more. I want him to do all of those things, but that means balancing my job, Clark's job, Jake's activities, laundry, groceries, cooking, cleaning and so much more.

I know I'm not saying anything here that hasn't been said a thousand times by a thousand different people, but being a working mom is hard. I constantly feel as though I'm not doing anything in my life as well as I should or could. When I'm at work, I'm thinking about home. When I'm at home, I'm thinking about work. And often, my husband bears the brunt of my stressed out and harried existence - and yes, you guessed it, that means I now feel guilty about a third area of my life where I'm not doing nearly as well as I would like - the wife category.

And so, to update you on the tally, I'm now a less-than-perfect pastor, a less-than-perfect mom and a less-than-perfect wife - if I weren't somewhat of an optimist, that sentence would read "I'm a slightly-above-failing pastor, a slightly-above-failing mom and a slightly-above failing wife." And I haven't even mentioned yet how awesome I'm not doing at being a child of God and a follower of Jesus Christ.

Anybody feel me out there? Can I get a witness?

Here's the thing - we were lied to when we were told we could have it all. We bought into the lie when we decided we could have our cake and eat it too and then decided to ask for seconds.

So, where's the give? Awhile back, Andy Stanley wrote a book called "Choosing to Cheat" where he talks about this very dilemma. He says that there's a reality that we're going to have to cheat somewhere and when we do, we need to cheat in favor of our God and our families. I'm in a season of my life where I need to pick up the book again, and for those of you feeling the same way maybe you should to (if you can find the time).

We've built up expectations in our life of how we're supposed to be perfect at everything. Let me ruin the dream - it isn't going to happen. At some point, we have to decide what's important and where to draw some lines. And then we have to walk a grace-filled life. We need to receive grace and we need to give grace.

I don't have many answers - I'm a work in progress, but here's a prayer from one working mom to others who may need to use it today (it's short cause I know y'all don't have time :)

"Jesus, give me grace today for every time I've fallen short. Give me eyes to see the things I can do better and give me wisdom to see the things I need to let go. Show me Your way. Amen."


Anonymous said...

Jenn, you are an inspiration to us all. I know that you have a lot on your plate, I can tell that it is taking a toll on you, however every time I see you at church you are so upbeat, smiling and nice it makes me strive to be like that. By the way I think that you are a terrific pastor.

POPS said...

Ain't been but "One" that has been perfect. We(my wife and I) are going to be facing some trying times during the next few months. The pressure cooker will certainly start to cook very soon. So we can feel your pain, we can associate with the very delicate decisions that have to be made. Not from a Mother's view, but from a family view. Each day I pray, sometimes early, sometimes late and one of my prayers is:

Thank you God,for where I am today and for where I will be tomorrow and the next day. Help me to lean on your perfect understanding through all the seasons of my life. In Jesus name.

I have had to pray that one a lot lately, will have to pray it more as time goes on. I am with you Jenn, yep- with Gods help, it will all come together.


Jamin Ortiz said...

your the best boss ever

Chrissy said...

Jenn, my family and I have recently found you and the church. I have to say that I could not have described how I feel everyday better than you just did. My daughter is 7 now and it is better now that she is older, but it is still there. I see other Mom's running around and looking put together and think "man, I wish I was that way". But then, we are who we are. We can only do the best we can. Most importantly, any time you spend with your child is precious and the best. I just want you to know you are a wonderful Pastor, and listening to you on Sundays gives me the strength I need to make it through the week. I appreciate you and even though you feel like that I assure you, you do not appear that way. So, chin up.. you do a great job at all you do.