There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
By: Jennifer Clark
Today I send my little boy to daycare for the first time….
My husband and I had always planned on me staying home for a while with our son. Of course, we never really defined what “for a while” meant. I knew for sure I wanted to stay home with him while he was a baby, but I really had no idea of when I would try to return to teaching. Whenever I suggested that I might never go back to work, my husband’s face turned a sickly green color one usually associates with the stomach flu.
I am not a natural born homemaker. My cooking is mediocre, and my housekeeping skills are questionable. I would rather chew aluminum foil than iron, and I think smudges on widows add character to the house. I am not crafty, and I have never had the inclination to attend any kind of party that sells cookware. Now, all of a sudden, the house was my domain. Joy.
Still, the time I have spent at home with my son is precious to me. I was there with him every day as he progressed from rolling over to crawling to walking to running (and he rarely stops running). I fed him his bottles, read him stories and rocked him to sleep before naptime. To be sure, I have made plenty of mistakes. I have place panicked phone calls to the doctor over spit up, and lost my temper, literally, over spilt milk. And don’t even get me started on potty training. At this point, I am amazed that any of us learn to successfully use the toilet. But I can only trust God that my love for my son will overcome all the times I have failed. I didn’t always have the patience I should have, but I was there with him, loving him every day. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
However, as the saying goes, the days go slow, but the years go fast. Before I knew it, my son was no longer a baby, but a toddler. I began to think about going back to work. I will make a confession. Strictly speaking, I don’t have to go back to work. We can pay the bills on my husband’s salary. There isn’t much money for extras, and we live modestly, but I don’t have to work to feed my family like so many women do. Honestly, I want to go back to work. And I feel guilty about that.
I love my son, but I miss my job. I don’t think I ever realized how much a part of me it was until I resigned to stay at home. So many wonderful women are cut out to be stay at home moms. It’s what they want to do, and they are good at it. That’s how God made them. It’s not how God made me. I became confused over which path to take.
I’ve always identified with the story of Gideon. Even though God told him very clearly what He wanted Gideon to do, Gideon wanted a sign. In fact, he wanted several. I prayed to God for guidance, and asked others to pray as well. I am not one of those who hear an audible voice from God. But I did feel like I was supposed to look for a job. For a while, I was a nervous wreck. I wanted a sign, like Gideon. So I prayed a simple prayer that the right doors would open (if that was God’s will) and the wrong doors would close. I would love to be able to claim that all my worries melted away, but that’s not true. Even though the Lord has provided for me over and over again, I still struggle with faith.
There was a particular job that I wanted, a wonderful opportunity. I decided to put it God’s hands. If I got the job, I would return to work. If not, I would withdraw my applications and wait another year. It was my version of Gideon’s request to see dew on the fleece, I suppose. I wanted to know that I was on the path that God intended for me. I prayed, and when my faith was weak, I asked others to pray for me.
In the end, happily, I got the job. So this week, I am returning back to teaching and putting my little boy in daycare. My son is very social, and I know how much he will benefit from being around other children. I am happy to get back to the classroom, but part of my heart is broken. As much as I feel I am doing the right thing, I know how hard it will be to drop him off and drive away. Right now, it hurts to think about it.
There has been a lot in the news lately about the Mommy Wars. As someone who has been on both sides, I can’t help but wonder- why does it have to be a battle at all? God made each of us with different skills, talents and abilities. How much better this world would be if we could support each other instead of feeling defensive about our choices.
The bible says there is a time for everything. Today, my family begins a new season of our lives. As it says in Ecclesiastes, “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.” Amen to that.