Dr. Mom

by sarahmfry, September 08, 2008
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.

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