(Or..Saving Toads is Thirsty Work!)
I’m a work-at-home mom with a home office, aside from the occasional workshops and networking meetings for my business that I conduct outside the home. During the summer I have the privilege of working at home exclusively so I can be with my kids.
Privilege? Did I just type that? That’s a shocker. How’d I ever get to feel that way?
This is a story of how, as Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
When I first got married, (and really since I was a child myself), I thought the worst thing for me to do for myself would be to “get stuck at home with the kids”. I’m just not the stay-at-home type–or so I thought. I wanted to be a successful career mom (still do). Of course, I’m no different than any parent—I adore my two sons. But for the 11 months I tried being a stay-at-home mom, I thought I would lose my mind. It is the toughest job I have ever had, bar none.
We all know how challenging, exhausting, yet rewarding parenthood can be. Although I am grateful to be blessed with 2 extremely energetic, healthy children, this also means that they’re in constant need of entertainment and activity. This often turns life into a 3-ring circus and a roller coaster all at once. (Whew! Just writing that needs another sip of coffee…)
I have often heard that, as my friend Deshon Fox writes in his book, “The Middle Theory,” the key to life is balance. (This is not just true for Libras like me.) So I’ve realized that the key to my survival this summer has been cutting back on my work hours. This way I can actually enjoy being with the 2 wonderful people I get to be with every day.
For me, it really all depends on how I choose to look at it, every day. When I wake up, I try to remember to say out loud, “We’re gonna have fun. This is going to be a good day.” When I can do that, as well as cutting my work hours and trying to find the fun in each moment, my days go a lot better.
For example, since I’ve been cutting back on work, I’m not rushing around, trying to get a bunch of deadlines met or projects finished. Yes, this also means less income. I don’t tend to worry about stuff as much when I’m less stressed, however. It’s a trade-off.
I also have more time to smell the roses (sometimes literally) and enjoy the things my kids enjoy doing. They remind me daily of the big kid I’ve always been, no matter how much I love my work. How else could I have had the patience to do what my husband couldn’t? Namely—catch the small toad who got itself lost in our garage a few nights ago.
As you may know, toads are pretty slow, except when they’re trying to get away. By having a more relaxed attitude, I took the time to get it to come out of hiding, catch it and set it free in the woods in back of our house. For a big kid like me, and for my kids, this was the coolest thing! It was so cute. It felt good to save a life—if it had remained stuck in our garage, it would not have survived.
So in summary, staying at home with the kids this summer has actually been a blessing. It’s allowed me a lot more balance and a lot less stress. As a result, I haven’t been the only one to benefit…my whole family has!