Where do you see yourself in two years? If I was asked that question two years ago I could have never imagined I’d be where I am today or be the person that I am today. I was in my 18th year of marriage and a stay-at-home mom for 16 years who had established a satisfying routine and rhythm to life. Then in the course of a few months, everything changed. I found myself living through three life-altering events simultaneously, financial trauma, divorce, and a new job working full-time outside of the home all while raising 3 kids and running a household. I suddenly didn’t recognize my life, I felt like I’d been tossed into a relay race mid-race with no instructions during a category 4 hurricane while eating ghost peppers. To say I was outside of my comfort zone was definitely an understatement. In order to find my way I needed to take back control, be open to change, and remind myself that life is meant to be enjoyed.
Take Back Control
Signing the divorce papers felt like I was signing away all control over my life. What ensued was a multitude of individuals all providing advice on what I should do, what I shouldn’t do, how I should feel, how I shouldn’t feel, what I needed to be doing, etc. After a while, I felt like a marionette doll with a plethora of well-intentioned individuals each pulling a string. All the advice being spewed at once gathered like novocaine. It wasn’t until I was in the eye of the storm that the noise subsided, the novocaine wore off, and I slowly cut each string. I live by the philosophy that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you choose to react. That being said, at times in life, the exterior force is so great that the course of your life is set on a new trajectory that the mind simply can’t process overnight. Be patient. Give yourself grace. Know that it’s okay to sit idle while you wait for God’s Positioning System (GPS) to be made visible.
Be Open to Change
Routine, schedules, and the consistent routines of life are like a cozy fleece throw fresh out of the dryer on a frigidly cold night bringing calm and comfort to the soul. As a stay-at-home mom, I established an equilibrium within our home. I had meal plans down and was able to do the grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning when the house was mostly empty with my husband at work and the children in school. In the afternoon I could provide my undivided attention to the children, help with homework and drive children to lessons and classes before starting dinner. Evenings were a time to prepare for the next day, sit out clothing, say the Roary together, bathe, and bedtime. After much trial and error over the years, I finally had a sense of harmony not only in my household but within my own being, I had a keen awareness of peace. It took me years to reach this comfort level with myself and with my vocation as a stay-at-home mom and then the bottom fell out. Those first few months after I received the divorce papers I tried so desperately to maintain the quality of life I established for myself, my children, and our household as a stay-at-home mom as a mom working full-time outside of the home. I practically killed myself trying. I so desperately wanted to cling to my past role, I mostly wanted that for my children, they deserved that mom, not this new version who was short-tempered, stressed, and always tired. Only once I came to terms with the fact that we could no longer be a conventional family, in terms of the way I had always seen us, could change ever occur. That’s the thing about life, change often occurs way before we are willing to acknowledge that it occurred let alone accept it. We resist it and that resistance eventually builds into a resentment that festers and boils until it finally erupts in a volcanic fit. My volcanic fit included dishes, but that’s a post for another day, what matters is that it happened and I finally had come to terms with my reality. I am not a SAHM, I am a divorced forty-something-year-old woman with 3 teenagers working full-time and quite literally figuring out everything as I go. Harmony, equilibrium, solitude, and peace make occasional visits, none stay for long, but I’m working on that daily. Life is fast. The weight of the world will swallow you whole if you don’t make a conscientious effort to find joy.
Life is Meant to be Enjoyed
I wake in the morning around 5am get ready for the day and then hop on the People Mover (People Mover: Automated Guideway Transit, AGI) that is my life, it operates at full speed while I’m physically running at full speed. The weight of each task eventually slows me down though I try to maintain the same momentum throughout the day. I jump from one People Mover to the next not knowing if I’m arriving or departing. Until I eventually land in my bed, blink, wake, and do it all again. I am terrified that if I maintain this pace I will one day wake up, look in the mirror, not recognize the old lady looking back and suddenly realize life passed me by. I’m slowly making the effort to be more cognizant of the fact that life is meant to be enjoyed, to find joy even in the most mundane of life’s tasks, like grocery shopping. I used to handle all the grocery shopping, clothing, etc. but in order to spend more time with my kids’ things needed to change. We recently went to Walmart, I gave each child their budgeted amount to spend, they each had their own list, we took two carts, divided into groups of two, and made the most of the hour. Allowing each child to take responsibility for their toiletries, snacks, clothing, etc. for the week/month eliminated the “middle mom” giving this single mom more time with her kids on the weekend to actually have a game night!
If you were to look in from the outside everything looks the same as it ever was, we live in the same house, drive the same car, same pets, same, same, same! Yet, nothing is the same on the inside. I’ve taken back control, made the necessary changes in my life, and am finally finding the joy that life has to offer. I know it’s such a cliche but I’ve moved beyond the larvae stage in this chapter of my life, I wouldn’t quite say I’ve made a metamorphosis but I’m definitely on my way!