October 29, 2010

Thoughts on Being Home

{ last year's halloween }
It's hard to imagine these sweet boys can be the source of so much stress as well as incredible joy.

I had a very lucrative and comfortable full-time job in Manhattan as an Executive Assistant up until August 31st of this year.  I gave it up voluntarily (along with the incredible benefits) to spend more time at home with the boys.  I was fortunate to work out a 10 hour/week consulting position helping with the firm's marketing efforts.  It gives our family a little cushion but it's chump change compared to what I used to make.

Up until this point, my in-laws had been watching the kids.  I never had to worry if they were being loved or given enough attention; my concern was that they were being loved way too much and allowed to get away with murder!

{ cj enjoying a juicy plum.  just a
prime example of the mess i'm
cleaning up after. }
In the first month home with the boys, I thought I might have to check myself into an insane asylum!  My day consisted of constantly changing dirty diapers, cleaning the floor of their mealtime mess, washing the dishes, doing loads of laundry, dealing with toddler tantrums, and somehow trying to whip up a meal in between.  I was lucky if I could take a shower, use the bathroom uninterrupted, or even rememer to eat.  And though I even had help (the in-laws come for a few hours in the morning), I was still struggling to keep it all together.

Thoughts like:
"What have I done?" 
"This is ludicrous!"

"Women are crazy for doing this!"
"I wonder if it's too late to get my job back."

started stirring in my head.

It didn't help that my oldest was just starting to go through his terrible twos.  And you know that kid in the playgroup that every parent shakes their head at and secretly thanks the Lord is not their child - yeah, well that would be my son.  He was the one guaranteed to be pushing, shoving, stealing, yanking, and causing other children to cry.

{ boys making their usual mess }
On the weekends, James and I would try to address these issues with CJ and reinforce good behavior.  But on a daily, consistent basis, my son was lacking discipline, structure, and guidelines.  James and I knew it was important for us as his parents to provide that.  So we were prompted to consider our options and I vacillated back and forth on whether or not to leave my job.  I consulted other stay-home moms and how they managed on one income, and they all said it was feasible.  You make lifestyle changes and make it work.

Well, God has a way of working and directing our paths when we come to difficult crossroads.  James and I knew it would be a big financial sacrifice for our family, but God revealed to us our idol of security and comfort.  He started chipping away at it and laying on our hearts the greater investments in this world than a nice home, fancy cars, or the latest doo-dads.  It really came down to evaluating our priorities and then putting our faith and trust in the Lord, His provision, and His guidance.

{ cj is less of a terror at the
playground.  here he plays with
a few friend. }
I've now gotten into a routine with the kids, and in one month, can already see the benefits.  My mom, my best friend, and even my mother-in-law have all noted a difference in CJ's behavior.  He didn't push as much or throw as many tantrums.  He still has his off-days (oh believe me, there are still many days I just want to yank out all my hair!), but it's been a gradual transformation.

It wasn't some magical formula on my part.  In fact, I credit it to a lot of prayer (from hubby, friends, family)!  It does also require constantly reinforcing what is right and what is wrong, teaching him to be kind and obedient, over and over again (sounding much like a broken record).  I also highly recommend the book, Don't Make Me Count to Three.  It's an easy read with great biblical and practical insights on how to rear children.

In only two months that I've been home, I can already see the impact and benefits it's had for my children and my family.  I won't say it's easy because it's not, but I am trusting the Lord for much guidance, patience, wisdom, and grace.

God is good, and He gives us what we need and so much more!


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