outside the home

August 16, 2013

a few weeks ago, i was alone in the car with my beloved grandmother. the subject of me working outside the home came up and she said that she imagines that at some point, i will return to work. her comment? “they need you.”

it struck an interesting nerve in me and prompted some further thought and musing.

may i be candid here? the work that i did outside of the home … the intense, home-based counseling and advocacy with teens and their families … spanning over a decade … that fueled me. i was *made* for that kind of work, i knew it in my gut during my time working at juvenile hall in san diego, working in gang-infested areas, working with primarily minority families and kids that were hurting and lost and desperate.

when i moved to oregon and was hired by the local mental health agency to bring an innovative model of care to their children’s mental health division, once again i felt *right* where i belonged, doing work that i loved and was good at. i spent a few years there, creating and facilitating wraparound home-based care for children & families … and then took a job that was honestly “gravy” as a supervisor for those working with kids. the work flowed and came easy for me.

and then there was this part: i got a lot of strokes, a lot of positive feedback and reviews and commendations over the years.

i share that to say that life is very different right now. the work that i am doing – being home fulltime with my growing family – i don’t feel so “good” at it most days. it doesn’t always flow.

mostly, i see my areas of lack and of insufficiency increase and get highlighted. they are on my mind so much, the ways that i wish i was better, stronger, more capable.

and there are few if any “positive job reviews” coming my way these days. i don’t regularly hear words of encouragement or praise for good work. i feel alone a lot, grappling with the many ‘shoulds’ that burden my heart, and feeling unable to tackle and handle all that needs doing.

just being honest.

and so yes, i *absolutely* get the appeal of working outside the home. it is not for me in this season, and perhaps not for a long time … because i know for sure i am right where i need to be.

but i sure get it.

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6 Responses to “outside the home”

  1. jaw123456 Says:

    Thank you Emily. Thank you for sharing from your heart. Thank you for exposing all those real feelings – truth about the encouragement that comes as a professional and not so much encouragement as a Mama. Maybe that is why Mama’s need each other? To remind and encourage one another that we are doing good work and we are right where we are supposed to be. Where we need to be…working so hard…daily making a mark…God refining us…us teaching and training, loving and guiding. Giving out and receiving. Trying our best, Failing and getting up again. Succeeding and feeling good. Questioning. Ultimately, marking our children’s hearts for eternity. They need us more than any work force ever will. Much love!

  2. Leaves Heal Says:

    Baby-girl had struggled w/ dishes. She was overwhelmed by a sink-full. I don’t blame her. Our dishwasher is a pain, and the counter-tops are a nightmare to clean.
    One day she managed to conquer it, and no whining. No baby-‘tude. No slipping off to play– nothing! Just did it! I asked her what she did differently this time. “Mama, I encouraged myself.”
    Baby-girl teaches me. Sometimes we have to encourage ourselves.


  3. I can totally relate! It’s such a draw to be out there where people “need” us. And they do. But our first & primary ministry is to our own children. You are in the right place for now. You are a good–no a great–mama. It’s a hard thing to sacrifice all the strokes, accolades, feelings of accomplishment and money for the sake of little needy people at home. But it is best. And there are seasons of life to come. When teenagers drive themselves around and no one wears diapers. Those outside your home will still need you then. And you will not have to say how you wish you’d cherished the young years because you will have done it wholeheartedly.

  4. Leaves Heal Says:

    “The test of a first-rate intelligence
    is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind
    at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
    –F. Scott Fitzgerald

    “When you love, you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.”
    –Ernest Hemingway

    When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.
    –Friedrich Nietzsche

    I am always doing that which I cannot do,
    in order that I may learn how to do it.
    –Pablo Picasso

    Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he has learned in school.
    –Albert Einstein

    “All of life is learning.”
    –your Hubby.

  5. Stacy Says:

    Yep. That was one of the hardest things- initially- leaving work to stay at home. I didn’t feel as PRODUCTIVE. I began my day at work with an overflowing in-box and phone calls to make and people to talk to and at the end of the day I could check it all off and feel good about it. Enter mommyhood: there is never an end to all the work and I often don’t feel good about it. 😉 But when we are weak, He is strong. This is EXACTLY where He wants me because I realize just how much I need HIM.

    Good candid thoughts, Emily!


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