I can’t believe I’m thinking this, much less writing this.

But I would really appreciate any positive thoughts/prayers coming this way.

I kind of knew I wanted to go back to work one day.  And for the last year or so, the thought of working outside the home has been stirring inside me more and more.  And now that Allie is “officially” in pre-school I feel like it is a good time to explore my options.

But y’all.

I’m trying not to be negative, but I haven’t worked since I was pregnant with Caroline.

Caroline is 10.

That’s a long time to be out of the work force.

Does a “traditional” employer understand that while I have been a stay-at-home mom for the last several years, that doesn’t mean I can’t do something else?  That I have probably learned more staying at home with four children than most people learn in a formal job setting?  Let me delve in to this a little more.

First of all, there is the obvious — scheduling.  Even with babies/toddlers we operated a tight ship of schedules around here.  When Allie, our youngest, was born, Caroline was all of 6 years old.  Old enough to help out a little bit, but also old enough to realize, “Great.  Now there’s another one.  Know when to say “when” people.”  And with RJ working 10-12 hour days at his job, it is my responsibility to coordinate schedules and organize the home to where things run efficiently.  With the added distraction of four children (and a puppy).  And if there’s one thing I’m learning as our children grow, it’s that scheduling just gets more complicated as they get older.  The amount of activities, sports, events, school projects, etc. just multiplies.  Times four.  And I can’t be everywhere at the same time.  So I have to manage our schedules down to the last clean bridle and math worksheet.

There is also the art of compromise.  Now, I know what you might be thinking…maybe there shouldn’t be compromise in parenting?  Well, we took a Love and Logic class that opened our eyes to our approach to parenting and I really try to compromise with the kids when we are butting heads.  This is not always easy; we are transitioning from, “Give me another fruit snack!” to “You can leave me at the barn for the afternoon, I just want to be with the barn crew and do chores.”  For this mama, learning to let go while compromising in different situations is a “must.”

Then there is compassion.  Y’all.  This is one I really struggled with in my “former” life.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a parent and with my postpartum depression, it’s compassion.  I was very hot-tempered growing up and while I still have moments of frustration, I really try to see things from other perspectives.  I think this is the key to compassion and empathy, and not always easily done.  This is essential in parenting and goes beyond the scratched knee while running down the sidewalk.  Have you ever seen your child disappointed?  Not, “I want a cookie and didn’t get it” disappointed, but really disappointed.  Oh, is it heartbreaking.  I know our children are still young, but they are growing up so fast, and this is one of those feelings you just don’t want your children to experience.  But they do.  And it’s our job as parents to lead with compassion and understanding.

I don’t know about you, but I think these things are pretty important in the regular job world.  I know, I know, there’s also got to be a specific skill set too.  But the jobs I’m looking at after my baby hiatus aren’t rocket science.  Part of me just wants to have an identity outside of the home and spread my wings a little.

But the one thing I’m counting on the most in this potentially life-changing decision?  God.  I know that a door will open when He sees fit.  I really feel like there is only so much I can do and the rest is up to His plan for me.  If there is an opportunity for me to grow as an individual and contribute to a positive work environment, I hope that it will work out.  I feel ready.  If not, I will pray and be steadfast in the Lord, knowing He has a plan for me and our family.