Last week, something finally happened that I have mentioned a lot over the past several months: I stopped working so much.
Since a few months after we moved back to Kansas City in late 2014, I have worked 32+ hours at an adolescent clinic. I love my job (although it took me a while to get there emotionally), and it has been an amazingly good fit for my passions and skills.
But last fall, our family was struggling to stay connected and not overwhelmed and tired all the time. Andrew called me over lunch at work after a particularly difficult daycare drop off and said, "I think you need to stop working so much."
My initial reaction was not very gracious or grateful. But as we talked about what we wanted our family life to look like, we realized that my pursuit of a full-time career didn't match that.
So I took a risk, sat down with my managers, and asked them if I could work less. And amazingly, they said yes. It was perfect timing (read: God's timing), as they were in the process of hiring new staff. They could just add the 12 hours per week I wanted to drop onto the new schedules. When the new staff were hired and trained, I could cut down to 20 hours per week, which gave me two full days off work.
And then the waiting started. It took nearly six months for the clinic to find, hire, and train the new staff. And that gave me a lot of time to think about our decision. We've actually adjusted a lot better to my work schedule. But, let's be honest, I am not a career woman who wants to advance in the ranks of nursing professionals. I just love taking care of teenagers and making a difference in the life in front of me.
Then in mid-January, I finally got the green light that in February, I'd be able to reduce my hours. And a bit of a panic set in. What in the world am I going to do with all that time off?!? Because when you are used to having your days filled to the brim (and overflowing) with work and stress and household chores, white space can be a little scary.
But I said ok (of course), and last week was my first week at home. I'd like to tell you it was wonderful and easy and more beautiful than I'd imagined, but it was actually really, really hard. Declan got sick Wednesday night (cough, fever, general misery) and was awake crying literally every hour throughout the night. I called in to work and spent Thursday on the couch watching Daniel Tiger and squirting Tylenol into his little mouth. It was exhausting, caring for a sick toddler, and not how I'd imagined spending my week. Friday went better, but by dinner time, I'd reached the point of mental fragility. As Declan threw food on the floor and screamed he didn't want to eat, I calmly lay down my fork and informed my husband I was leaving and would be back after Declan went to bed.
Thank God I have such a gracious, understanding husband.
But despite the rough nights and long days, I am so, so thankful for this change. I am thankful that I get to spend more intentional time with my son, investing in him and helping him explore and learn about the world, and to have more time for relationships and creative pursuits. I am thankful for a husband who watches out for the good of our family and helps me see how our life together can be better. I know that so many women would love to stay home with their babies and can't because of social or financial situations, and I don't take it for granted that I am able to do it. Yet I'm also thankful for a flexible job with supportive managers who still want to enable me to do what I love as a nurse.
So as the week starts, I'm reflecting on another life transition and all the things that brought me here. It's a new (even if a bit of a small) adventure that I'm excited to tackle.
P.S. I'm working on sending out a February newsletter (I know! After months of silence!), filled with personal updates, fun things I'm loving, and what God has been teaching me lately. I'd love it if you signed up to see what it's about. Plus you'll get access to my list of awesome Bible study resources to help you understand and apply the Bible. Sign up here.