Thursday, November 19, 2015

Recognizing My Identity: Am I A Working Woman?

Precious In His Sight, by Greg Olsen

Since I've been able to take a year off of school starting this past fall, I've been giving a lot of thought to my identity.

It's been a stark contrast for me, and the black-and-whiteness of it all. A heavy school load vs. being in "all in" stay-at-home motherhood again has brought new insights to my mind. It's caused me to reflect on what makes me fulfilled and happy, what parts of my personality are "essential," what is innate in me and what is not.

I have concluded that I am completely fulfilled, and at my happiest and a better mother as a stay-at-home mom. I have realized that I was unhappy, stressed, spread too thin with even a few work responsibilities. In the summer I did a short internship where I lived out what I had imagined would be the "end goal" for me after I completed school: I did an internship that was 5-10 hours a week, on my own time. It seems like a great situation, but surprising to me, seeing the contrast from my life right now, I see that it occupied my mind more than I had imagined.

Being without even that little stress in my life has given my heart the chance to find a peaceful rhythm again, and in turn has positively effected a lot of areas in my life. The peace and calmness of spirit I've experienced while not being involved in anything extra has been a happy change for me.

I have said before I wasn't going to school for an outlet, or to find time away from my kids or something. It was something I felt called to do. But what was it for, then, and should I continue. The first question used to kill me, but I am at peace with it now. Since I have fully decided I have no plans of working, I have faith that it may be important to me later in life, or simply lift my sights and thoughts throughout my life, as getting further education always does. I do still plan on finishing my degree, if nothing else to finish what I started (and really, I only have 5 classes left, taken over two semesters, all online).

One big takeaway for me from this experience that I don't think I understood before was that there are a lot of women and mothers who are not like me. I need all of my energies, time, talents, and resources turned toward my children in order to be a calm, happy parent, and a fully capable mother. But this "all or nothing" approach is somewhat unique to my background, my temperament, and my current situation in life. Many other women are wired differently or make it work differently. Because of their temperament, their background, their DNA, they feel energized from working. They need it, they thrive playing both roles. They learn to be good multi-taskers. I had wondered, after I felt called to go to school, if I was one of these people. I can confidently say now that I am not.

It is interesting to me how much time makes a difference in our understanding, our clarity, what we understand about ourselves. Last winter I was so concerned with what all this schooling-thing was leading to, and I never got an answer. I still don't have an answer, but with time and a little perspective I am now okay with it. God leads us along, and while he may not always give us what we want, he is always there. So much of what he has to teach us is dependent on us, where we are in our development, and what we are ready to hear. I am grateful for a loving God who loves me deeply, accepts me for who I am, and leads me along.

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