Keeping the Future Open

I never paid much attention to my LinkedIn profile before Bea was born. I had been at the same job for seven years and, while the lure of other districts or overseas experiences was tempting, I was content to stay put. About a month after the newborn fog started to lift, I had sudden stress about my resume. Who would hire a stay-at-h0me mom? What does one even put for that gap? Would I ever be employable again?

Who needs a job when you can have hammock time?
Who needs a job when you can have hammock time?

Fortunately, these anxieties were calmed as Bea and I found a routine and I settled into a groove of enjoying my baby and getting to know other moms. About a year later, I got a part-time job working at an art museum. As an art history major with a graduate degree in education, being on a team of gallery teachers seemed too good to be true. The job’s flexibility and the fact that I was able to combine two of my passions has been an amazing experience.

As we think about our next child, some of those same marketability fears have started to creep in. What do I want maternity leave to look like? What are my priorities in this phase of life? How can I keep my foot in the door but also focus on my family?

One of the most amazing things about working part-time and having a more independent child is the ability to pursue interests that had always been put on the back burner while I had a full-time job. Is now the time to pursue those other interests?

And then I step back and realize I’m trying way too hard to control the future. I am amazed at the doors that have opened for leadership opportunities, for teaching experiences, and for use of my time and talents in ways I could not have imagined. As we near this next phase of family life, I need to stop and let go. To remember that when I stop trying to over-plan my life, doors open to possibilities far beyond my imagination.

What is your view on women and family and work? How do you find life-balances and holding careers loosely?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. 

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14 thoughts on “Keeping the Future Open

  1. Hi Annie,
    What a precious picture of your little sweet Bea! I can relate. When I had my first daughter I was 33 and had been working for a NASA contractor and was pursuing my Computer Science degree. I never looked back after having her, and three children later and several years of homeschooling them, my life is VERY full!

    I pray that God gives you wisdom and peace about your future. He knows best what you should do, so ask Him!
    Blessings,
    Selena

  2. I know what you mean. I have a 16 month old and I work full-time from home. It’s hard to balance everything but I know that I am providing what he needs. We’re in a position where we have no choice but for me to work full-time due to health insurance and student loan debt. But I’m still able to enjoy all the precious moments with my family, serve my church, and work hard for my employer. It’s only by the grace of God that I’m able to get through the day.

    Thanks for your post!

    1. I think it’s so incredible that we are given the time we need to do everything. It may not seem like it (and some days everything certainly does not get done!!) but I am always in awe at just how much I can accomplish! Prayers for you as you continue to balance it all!

  3. We do try to control our futures don’t we? I think it’s awesome you found a part time job that lets you utilize two of your loves/gifts. So cool!

  4. Annie, I loved, loved this post. I am the queen of trying to control my future. How silly is that, really, when God is sovereign? In His sovereignty is His love. Because His plans for His children are always perfect. 🙂 When our first boy was born, I stepped down from a women’s ministry position at our church. I went from being in the center of everything to feeling like I’d been put on the shelf by God.

    But that God of ours . . . as I spent time with Him, and learned how to be a mother, He opened up other opportunities for me to minister to and encourage women. I never would have learned the lessons He had for me, nor known the blessings waiting if I had insisted on doing my plans after our first was born.

    Motherhood is such a gift. And they are only little for a little while. So, as you and I have written about before, I’m working to embrace my moments with my boys. Sometimes balance comes moment by moment. Sometimes, it eludes me completely. But I figure, if I am seeking the Lord and how He wants me to spend my days, I’m right where I need to be.

    I’ll be praying for you as your second one prepares to come. 🙂

    PS—Sorry for the novel. 😉

    1. Yes! That moment-by-moment balance is such a reminder about God providing our daily bread. That we need to keep coming back… And yet (as you know from our conversations!) that contentedness is something I need to continually ask for as well. Thankful for this learning process! And, thank you for the prayers! We will definitely need them in these coming months!!

  5. I took a 13-year “haitus” from work. It was through volunteering that I found a new passion, new skills and eventually a new job/career. God put these things in my path- I wasn’t searching them out or trying to make them happen. It’s been a life marker for me. Each time I try to control my life or the lives of my daughters, I am reminded that God knows the plans He has for us. And they are good.

    1. Annette, you are my role-model for giving God control of careers and listening to his timing. I remind myself of your experience, especially when dreaming about completely different fields of work. God’s plans are so good!

  6. I saw Madeleine Albright give a talk and she said you can have it all but not at the same time. That is my mantra and I’m sticking with it. Don’t over think just enjoy what you do on a daily basis. We miss all of you.

    1. Love this quote, Leslie! I’m going to hang it by my desk. Miss you, too! Hoping to head to PA in October with the newest girl – hope to see you all then!

  7. Choices seem more complex today. I can be a classic over thinker but when our first was born I realized my desire was to be home with her. There weren’t many doing this at the time. I realize now a lot was about control in the sense that I knew what was best for our family. A little fearful about the no working credits for future social security but no regrets about our choices and thankful my husband supported me. The best is when we have the choice. I think what you’re doing is great.

    1. Thank you so much for this encouragement, Debby! I need to remember this most – that mothers who have been through it and made the choice to stay home have not regretted that decision. I haven’t met anyone yet who said they wished they worked more… Stopping to enjoy this season!

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