Dr. Mom

As I sit here reading the Revivalist and catching up on Hilltop news, that aching feeling creeps into my soul.

"Dr. Jo Anne Lyon (GBS HS '58) is the first woman to serve as General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church" (followed by picture of an elegant woman speaking at podium)

"Mandy Buckland....as the Executive Assistant to the Presidant" (beside picture of my gorgeous & lovely friend)

"Faculty Assessment Climaxes 2007-2008 Academic Year" (followed by a photo of my teacher and friend - Martha Miller - sitting at a board room table)

And I sit here, spelling words out loud for Kayla, viewing craft creations, changing training pants, planning supper, spending another night alone (well - as alone as you can be with 3 kids and 2 dogs) as my husband works on his PhD in Chicago.

As I read, my ambition wells up. I think of the degrees I still long to pursue. The books I ache to study. Those voice lessons I desperately need to take at Butler. The high school students I miss. The pediatrician I planned to be.

This is not a death-dirge of my dreams. It is that re-evaluation that comes periodically when I look my current choices full-faced.

It's not that I want to be the General Superintendent of anything. Or be anyone's Executive Assistant. Or sit in boring Academic Assessment meetings. But it is easy - as I read about and rejoice in the activities of my friends and see their elegant high heels and lovely high hair -- to feel rather common and stale. And I find myself longing to do something "important".

But I DO rejoice in the beauty of where God has placed me now. I have chosen this career with open eyes and an open heart.

I realize that as I help the girls through a bitter fight over the scotch tape, I'm training them to be peacemakers and put others first.

As I allow them to make messes I foster their God-given creativity.

As I take the agonizing time to make THEM clean up the explosive remains of said creativity (instead of quickly cleaning it myself), I purposefully add one more strand of good habits into their personality.

And as I sat working at my desk this morning (Karissa's piano practice and kid chores done, laundry humming along), I got a call from David in Chicago. He was almost to his class. He was just thinking about me and wanted to call and tell me he was glad I'm home with our kids. And I smiled inside. Yes - it was a good choice to stay home and put my best energy here.

This is NOT about stay-at-home vs. payroll moms. I have teaching in my blood, and I fully intend to be a payroll mom again someday. It is not a discussion about what decisions you are making. Nor is it insinuating that you have to be this or do that to be a good mom. I'm sorta really sick of all that comparison. It is a reflection on my own choices - my own identity. And my own needs and limitations. About doing what is best for us as a family right now.

I have realized that I have a driving need in my life - Margin. Space in my schedule to accomplish what I'm committed to and to do it well. With space left over for the unexpected and unplanned.

I am all too familiar with that sinking, sick feeling in my soul when going to bed at night or waking up in the morning. The realization that the next day and week will hold more than I can possibly accomplish well. That I will have to stretch my energy very thin so that everything and everyone in my life has just enough of me to keep things afloat.

So I've made what to me are some pretty dramatic decisions. Learning to say no. Deciding on purpose where my best energy goes.

I feel bad. Sometimes I even feel guilty when I say no. I don't want to seem uninvolved or unsupportive. But it certainly feels good when I can say "yes" to something knowing that I actually have the time to accomplish what I've committed to.

O goodness. Please don't EVER get the mistaken impression that I am under the delusion that I have it all together. Or even half of it. I certainly don't have it all together. Trust me. I never will. I don't even intend to! (Although it would be nice.....) I know that the pieces of my life will forever be wiggling out of my neat little package, forcing me to scramble and reorganize and regather myself.

There are many moments when I wonder why in the world I ever imagined that I should or could have children and keep them from being societal rejects. If I can't even get them to PEE in the right place or sit still for an hour and a half through church like everyone else's kids, what in the world do I think I'm doing with these energetic, eternal souls in my hands?!

Take for example NOW: I just ran outside when my 2-year-old came and got me. The 4-year old waited partway up the tree, encouraging the 6-year-old as she clung high in the tree - trying to cut down a branch with my kitchen shears!! When I confiscated my beloved shears and explained that such a practice could get her killed, she calmly asked me to send up some shrubbery clippers. See what I mean?! Maybe I SHOULD be sitting somewhere in a boring committee meeting. The world might be a safer place.

But this is also an example of why I rejoice in the now. I wonder at the energy pouring from those little bodies, minds and souls. I pray for Divine wisdom, energy and guidance as I mold and shape and model.

I still ache to write and study and learn and wear high heels and high hair. But I am happy with who I am.

I choose to be.

Besides, It woudn't be nearly so fun to be Dr. Sarah Fry and not have some well-trained, God-honoring, people-loving children to take care of me and change my diaper in my old age.

If you'll excuse me - I have a tea party to attend on the kitchen floor.


Misty said…
Thanks Sarah!

It is hard sometimes to feel very motivated when you have spit up all on your shirt or your 2 year old has decided to remove her dirty diaper and make a mess TWICE in one day!! When you "go to work" you interact with other adults, have motivation from others, etc. Some days I feel like I am dreadfully failing as a mommy...you know when you LIVE for nap time for some sanity! It is hard at times to get past the "everything I should be doing" guilt.....

So I have to remind my self that Motherhood is the highest profession we can have, but it can only be accomplished with God's grace and guidance each day.
Alanna said…
I really enjoyed your post. Thanks for the reminder to be joyful in whatever state we're in.
Regina said…
Well said! I am soooo right there with you! Hugs!
Misty said…
Just FYI, your website is down....I was trying to find the CM Bible cards you had on there.

(Found them on CM thanks to google!)
skier1998 said…
Sarah - I really enjoyed your post. What a timely post. If you have time - stop by & read the latest post on my blog. It is the same train of thought. I'd love to hear your comments... or use the ideas to post on your blog. :-) Hang in there. We are training up tomorrow's leaders.
Carrie said…
Sarah, I felt the exact same way about a year and a half ago. So, because we thought it was a convenient time, I went back to work (and started school).

Now I'm at a point where I might have to quit my job. Why? Because my kids come before anything else, because my kids need me now more than ever, because God has gently (and slowly, for my own sake) changed my heart into one that wants to be a mom more than anything else.

That's not to say I don't want a part-time job. Both my kids are in school all day--I just will not work anywhere that doesn't allow me to be home by the time Brennan gets off that bus. And that's why my current job is now in question.

I feel your heart right now. The feelings of inadequacy when asked, "What do you do?" Feeling mentally stagnant. Eventually things will change (although sometimes it seems like forever), I promise.

Sorry. I've gone and written a book. Not only that, but the book wasn't even necessarily well-written and the thoughts were broken and scrambled! That's what happens when A Bug's Life is blaring in the background.
Toots said…
What you're doing right here...writing, sharing, inspiring from an open, honest heart, is just one more outreach you have to add to your so-important-role as a mother.
God bless you!
Kimberly said…
YES to saying NO!!!
(and maybe high hair is over-rated?!)
sankey family said…
As always, you speak eloquently for us all - I say amen! keep leading the charge.
Love you, friend.
Sarah Cook said…
Love it! Had a good laugh!

Love ya!
Stephanie said…
Excuse me, ma'm...have you snuck into my life somewhere and posted some of my deepest thoughts?! Right there with you, girl! Keepin it real! Love you!
GodSeeker said…
thank you. it's so true and I needed the reminder. I live there too. wishing some days for "important" things, and forgetting how important I am to my family.

blessings on your weekend, Carol
jenny said…
Very well said...I read this heart to heart. Really appreciated the way you prefaced this is not about the stay at home vs. working mom debate. I'm kind of fed up with how much we tear each other down with that one.

I really needed the "margin" reminded also.

And you know what? Free days at the museums, zoo are coming up in the fall...perhaps we could plan a meet (or perhaps not with gas prices...sort of takes the joy out of "free")?
Mary Ellen said…
I REALLY enjoyed this blog. While I feel absolutely positively 100% sure that MY place is in our home raising our kids, I don't feel the need to run around and tell all the other Mom's out there what they should or shouldn't be doing and I can't understand those who think that is their place to do. I have friends who work and I've never once told them I think they should be home. I figure I have enough to worry about. "-)

I know our stay at home Mommy days can be filled with seemingly endless laundry and child like "stuff" but I believe the rewards at the end of a life putting our husbands and children first will be so much more rewarding than we could have ever imagined.

I have yet to hear an older woman who choose family over career wish she had made the opposite choice...but I have heard those who choose career over motherhood live to regret it. So I'm guessing that in the end, when choosing the role of wife and Mommy, it must be the most rewarding when you look back over your life and what you did right. "-)

There have been so many times during a day when I've seen something one of my kids has done that I've thought, "I'm so glad I am HERE, I wouldn't have wanted to miss what I just saw for anything in the world."
beautiful thoughts Sarah. God does each day of our lives planned out. He is orchestrating the whole thing. you hide and watch, your dreams will be realized, those children will rise up and call you blessed!
Sarah, You are so cute - you can word things SO WELL!!! I feel the same in so many ways (as I try to type with a just awakened 2-yr.old on my lap, wiggling, making me mis-type, asking me a million times, "where's my daddy and brudders at?") How teensy will all our fancy dreams of degrees and important status seem, when, by God's great mercy and strength, we can someday stand - WITH our children - in the presence of God. Then I think we'll know that eternity's greatest accomplishments are much different than we're programmed to think - this morning!
Besides, in my mind, you ARE a high heeled, high haired accomplished speaker and teacher! So, hold your little blond head up high and go enjoy your tea party! I've got laundry to do. :-)
Hey, Angie! It was so good to hear from you. I suspect you have the gift of encouragement. I certainly felt encouraged by you. I clicked on you to see your blog or find an email and found NOTHING. :(

I enjoyed very much visiting with you at WOW. Maybe we'll get to chat again one of these years.
Valorie said…
Sarah, a zinger! Girl, you can write as well as sing, speak, play your soul on the violin, and do a bang-up job at being your husband's greatest asset and your kids' most devoted mom! You said it well. Cheers!
Bev said…
Sarah, I know how you feel. Many times I look back about 15 years and wish I had continued college and finished my degree in music. I did become and LPN and I enjoy what I do but as a women it did not feel important at the time to complete just move on, get married, have children. I accopmlished all those things and love it but the if only I had done this, or that pops up many times. I love being a mom and will never regret that, I try to look at that as my greatest accomplishment with the help of the Lord, of course. I do still have my dreams of becoming a nurse practitioner some day, I may be much older and children grown by then but I can dream can't I. Your blog is inspiring to me and I love to catch up on your life and see your children. You have a beautiful family. Bev
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