I have been home with my kids for nearly fifteen years and I have loved every, single minute of it. I have remained patient and full of the holy spirit for the entirety of the past decade and a half, and I would never - under any circumstances - drive past my house and go around the block multiple times just so I can finish an audiobook in glorious, uninterrupted peace. Also, I have no flaws, so...
Okay, fine. I am a liar. And the past 15 years have been just slightly more nuanced than that. Maybe I do have flaws. Like, if I had to ballpark… I’d say maybe 5-7 flaws come to mind?
Okay, fine. I’m a liar. Again. I barely survived the past 15 years. My flaws are infinite, and they are just scattered haphazardly all over the floor with the other rando debris in my home. But, while it’s true that I have loved being home all these years, I hate when people say they loved “every minute” of something, as if that’s even possible. Clearly it’s a gross exaggeration and if there is one thing I won’t stand for it’s a gross exaggeration.
Okay, look, I am just going to be lying on and off, basically this whole post. The truth is, my favorite kind of exaggerations are the gross ones. Still, I do despise an overly tidy sum-up of something as complex and layered as 15 years of parenting! Or a lifetime of devotion to a particular profession, or 60 years of marriage, or 25 years of serving our country. Any experience that could be compared to Sisyphus pushing that boulder up a hill over and over cannot possibly be enjoyed 100% of the time.
Still, I really have loved being home all these years. And if I could go back and do it all over again, I would make the same decision to be home. I loved being there for every first - first taste of every food, first steps, first words, first time covering their entire room with sidewalk chalk, or oil paints, or human feces. I rarely ever missed a first anything. And that I loved. I have loved being the room parent and chaperoning all the field trips. I loved being able to bring my kids their stuff when they forgot it at home. I also loved not bringing them their stuff sometimes, so that they would learn the lesson of being more prepared. I loved that I had the choice.
But, there were also a lot of things that I hated. I hated when people would say I was lucky that I could afford to stay home - as if we haven’t made huge financial sacrifices by living below the poverty line for a hundred years. I hated not showering for more days in a row than I care to admit, because I WAS NEVER ALONE. I hated having no sick days, and I hated the moments that I wish I could do over. I have a lot of moments that I regret. Moments of selfishness, impatience, and straight up ugliness. I regret not savoring each day that I had my babies home. I regret the times when I wished away the hard days and longed for this season to come - the season when all my kids would be in school full-time.
Now that time is nearly upon me. On September the sixth, in the year Two Thousand and Eighteen, I will be alone for the first time in 15 years. People ask me what I will do with myself. Here is what I plan to do with myself, in alphabetical order:
Blog more frequently.
Complete tasks. Observe/record what it is like when the task is not immediately UNdone by another, smaller person.
Eat pieces of candy without risk of what I call “the seagull effect.”
Finish writing my book.
Go to a doctor for adults.
Have conversations with adults.
Hire new booking agent.
Increase the number of speaking engagements from what I was previously able to do.
Maintain flexibility in schedule so I can still be room parent/chaperone all the things.
Shower daily, during regular daylight hours.
Submit book proposal to publishing company.
Work during daylight hours.
Work without noise-cancelling headphones.
This might seem too ambitious, or maybe not ambitious enough. I honestly have no way of gauging what is realistic to accomplish during a school day. I had my first child in college, like a sinner, so I have no idea what it will be like to have five school-aged children and a whole day to accomplish things.
Here’s what I do know. I am at peace with it all. Not because I loved every single second of how it was, or because I have no regrets or because I was so awesome at being a stay-at-home mom 100% of the time. I am at peace with it because it’s what is happening. It will be like everything else… some of it will go too fast, and some of it will feel like it’s dragging on. Parts of this coming season will be easier, and I will probably be dismayed to discover that some parts will be harder. Some days will feel free, and some will be a grind. It’s going to be whatever it’s going to be, and I am at peace with all the unknowns and the certain bittersweetness of it all. While I am embracing the change, I am also operating under the total assumption that there will be a minimum of 84 mental breakdowns during that first week of school.
Until that day (where I can be found at home in a ball, eating candy, with a youtube video of seagulls attacking a sandwich playing in the background) I am preparing my heart for whatever God puts in front of me this year. In anticipation of what’s to come, I am so excited to announce that the amazing Jonathan Capuano - digital arts/graphic design extraordinaire - has completely revamped my website! While you’re here, please take a look around at how profesh he is making me look! My favorite new feature is that you can now send a request to book a speaking engagement directly through the site or, as always, connect with me through the contact page. I would love to speak at your next event - youth, church, college, women, corporate… I have had the opportunity to keynote so many incredible events in the past couple of years and I have loved every single second of it.
(Still, with the lying. smh)
Okay, fine… I maybe haven’t loved EVERY second, but if there is one thing I have learned in the past fifteen years, it’s that you don’t have to love every single second of something to know that you were made to do it. I was made to be a mom. But I was also made to be a fun and compassionate speaker who isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions, or to tell the hard truths or to lie comedically via gross exaggeration. So, I can’t wait for this next season of life, because I get to do all of the things that I love so much - writing, speaking, momming, eating pieces of candy. Even if there are a few seconds here and there that aren’t my favorite, I get to be what God created me to be, and I am still wrapping my mind around what a glorious and wonderful gift that is.
Lara is now booking events for 2018/19, click HERE to invite her to speak at your next event.