Treading Water…And Learning to Dance in the Puddles

“I accept chaos, I’m not sure it accepts me.” Bob Dylan

Well, I have a lot to update you on, so as promised, here it is!

The last few weeks have been full of difficulty; overflowing with change, curve balls and transitions. But also blessings, beauty and grace.

Let me give you the rundown! I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible, but it’s been almost 2 weeks since I really wrote so I make you no promises.

As you may or may not know, I started my full time job on December 8th after being a stay at home mom for the last year. Operation “full time working single mom” is in full effect. Some may say, “Well, it’s about damn time!” Others may say, “Welcome to life as an adult! So what!?”

The so what for me, particularly in week one, is that no matter the circumstances, this shit is hard! (Pardon my French!)

So let me go ahead on with the updating for those of you interested…the abbreviated (but still kinda long) version.

After my scavenger hunt for a child care provider I could afford for my transition back to full time work, I found what I thought was an answered prayer. A true godsend. I prepared myself and my boys for the enormous change that rapidly approached as much as I could; and while my insides were dying at the thought of going from being with them 24/7 to being away from them over 50 hours a week, I remained hopeful, and confident in the fact that at least my boys would be in good hands with an option I could afford.

Two weekends ago was my final weekend as a stay at home mom. While speaking to someone that Friday, out of my mouth fell the words,

“This is my last weekend as a mom.”

I quickly caught myself and corrected, “…as a stay at home mom.”

I thought about this little Freudian slip and realized a part of me felt my first statement to be true. A piece of me felt as if I was losing some element of my motherhood. That I’m now less than to my boys and will lose something with them because of this great amount of time away each week. That I’d no longer be able to have my finger on the pulse of my family.

The thought devastated me.

I have loved every moment…(well maybe not every moment, but almost)…home with my boys and realize I am immeasurably blessed to have been given that gift and opportunity for so long. Especially as a newly single mom. However, no matter what the situation is, I think we can all agree it is difficult to stomach leaving our babies that long, or for any considerable amount of time, each week.

I found comfort in knowing my boys would be in what I believed to be good hands, for an amazing price, while I had to be away from them. But my mama gut started turning and I had a feeling this was too good to be true and something was going to go wrong.

As the start date of my new job approached, I was anxious but again, hopeful, striving to stay positive. My final weekend as a stay at home mom arrived and though I struggled with my mood over this next phase of life, I tried to enjoy the time with my boys and family.

Saturday night, about 36 hours before the start of my new job, life and schedule, I received a text from our childcare provider stating, “So sorry but we just can’t make it here. Moving back to Indiana with my parents.”

And that was that.

No phone call, no response to my texts, no answering the phone when I called. No nothing.

So there I stood, dumbfounded. I choked back tears and cuss words, hopped on craigslist and started making phone calls. I reached a woman who sounded absolutely sweet and precious. She quoted me an affordable price, explained it was her mother in law who would be watching the boys, and stated she’d be available to come to my home or have the boys at hers.

Could this be real!?

We arranged to meet Sunday afternoon and all I could do was pray desperate prayers that this would work out as I had only one other option in my back pocket and, at that point, less than 12 hours before I had to wake up for my first day of a new job.

Long story short, I loved her. Her location was perfect, price was great, and bonus…she is from West Africa, Sierra Leone to be exact, and is providing me and the boys with some cultural awesomeness they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

My social work, mommy heart is in heaven and all is good.

I started my day the next morning at 4:45 am on 2 hours of sleep. I knew it was going to be rough but we were running on adrenaline and anxiety and I felt like super mom that morning.

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I got us all out the door on time, dropped the boys off with no tears (from any of us) and made it to orientation with 30 minutes to spare!

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Whew!

I sat down and took a breath for probably the first time in 3 days and reminded myself that everything was going to be just fine. I felt grateful for the unexpected blessings found through chaos, humbled by the experience and new job ahead, and anxious for everything. I also felt the two hours of sleep catching up to me and worried I might fall out of my chair onto the floor at some point throughout the day! (That wouldn’t have been a great first impression!)

I’ll spare you all the nitty gritty details, but let me just tell you that first week was an absolute rollercoaster of emotions and moods. 

Between waking up around 5 am and not getting home until 6:30 pm because of the most insane traffic you’ve ever seen, even though I don’t start work til 8 am and am technically off at 4:30 pm; being exhausted; starting my period for the first time in 13 months; emotionally adjusting to this new life, among other things, let’s just say my mood was less than positive for a few days.

I finished the week much stronger than I started, but those first few days I was like a demon on a war path. I managed to smile and coffee my way through the work day, but by the time I came home, after sitting in 2 hours of traffic and realizing I had only an hour and a half left to spend with my sons before bedding it down to start all over, I was a beast.

Although I missed my boys something awful during the day, I was so tired and stressed by the end of the day I struggled to enjoy them. This phenomena had never happened to me. I’ve of course had sleep deprived days where I was low on patience, but never to that extent.

I started worrying that one of my biggest fears was about to come true… That I’d become Momzilla. So stressed by the job and schedule that takes me away from them, so that I can provide for them, so bitter and exhausted that I can’t be the mom they deserve. I muscled up as much sweetness and patience as I could find but I’m not going to lie to you. Those couple of days had lots of harsh tones, short tempers and frustrated responses.

I fell into bed those first few nights not only exhausted but also guilty, angry and frustrated. I was trying to control things I have absolutely no control over and then getting mad at myself for not being able to. (I do this often .) Then worst of all, I was taking it out on my sons and family…the very people I was missing most during the day. (Luckily, I don’t do that often.)

I even started complaining and being negative on Facebook!!!

I vowed I’d never become that mom or that person. After several long conversations over the weekend and a major attitude adjustment, I was determined to go into week two stronger, but I was beginning to wonder if I needed medication!

We adjusted to the schedule much better than I expected actually, although my perfectionistic heart still wanted fewer flaws than there were. I released those unrealistic expectations and regained my gumption, and I’m happy to report that week two has been SO MUCH BETTER. Not perfect, but who wants that anyway right!? ☺

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I have moved from feeling exhausted, angry, overwhelmed and scared, to feeling hopeful, grateful and content. I do still feel overwhelmed and fearful at times, but overall, I am settling into this new normal and actually enjoying it much more than I expected.

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We are all alive, happy and thriving…despite the chaos and complete 180 of life we’ve taken! Praise Jesus!

I’ve found new levels of gratitude, new heights of grace, and new depths of love. We are still figuring this thing out, but we are doing it and doing it well, if I do say so myself.

God is good! He works all things together for good for those who love and trust Him; and boy, has He proved that to be true this last two weeks.

I have so much more to tell you and share but I’m sure I already lost several of you many paragraphs ago. For those of you who made it to the end…thanks for sticking with me, not only through this post but through EVERYTHING! You all are my angels and strength down here! 🙂

Hopefully my next posts will be able to fill in the gaps, and be shorter now that I’ve given you the “brief” rundown of the last 2 weeks!

As always, thanks for reading and please, don’t forget to click the icon and send in a vote!

XOXO
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7 thoughts on “Treading Water…And Learning to Dance in the Puddles

  1. Dear Rachael, praying for you! All these changes would drive me to a fetal position in the corner of the room. It all seems too much, but look at you! You’re getting through it, and not just getting through it, you’re thriving! You and your boys are in good hands, God’s hands. 🙂

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    • Oh Ai! That means so much! Thank you for you kind words and encouragement… you are so sweet! I have been amazed at times at how well things have gone, and other times, I have been amazed at how poorly I have handled things haha…but all in all, we are doing well and adjusting and I am learning to trust God with each new step! Thanks again! 🙂

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  2. So excited for you! I would have totally freaked out when the nanny quit right before you were supposed to start work! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re short-tempered, cranky, or emotional for a while. You’ll get into a groove soon enough! Best of luck 🙂

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    • Thank you Meredith! I appreciate that! Yes, I did freak out…but I am so happy it worked out the way it did. God always has a plan! 🙂 I’ve still had a few cranky days, but we are finding our groove and it is getting better all the time! 🙂

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  3. There is nothing better than having someone to watch your child(ren) that you fully trust and are comfortable with. 🙂 And I love that she’s teaching your kids about another culture! How amazing for them. 🙂 I know working and being a mom is tough, but you can do it! Keep up the positive attitude. 🙂

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    • Thank you for that! Yes, it is a huge relief to know your children are loved and taken care of while you are away… It’s still not easy being away sometimes, but what a weight off to not be worried about them all day long! I appreciate your comment and encouragement!

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