The Smallest Working Mom Mental Victory

Working Mom Victories

I’ve written this post a thousand times in my head. I think, I want to stay present here and I want to remember this forever. But then I get distracted by the dishes, Adeline needing another rocking to go to sleep, work tasks I’ve yet to do for the day, the ice cream in the freezer.. the list goes on and the post fades away in my head.

But tonight I’m choosing to write.

Wednesday nights are some of my favorites because it’s the end of Adeline needing babysitters for the week. Tuesdays are my longest days in the office – they usually end up being 9 or 10 hour days after office hours and worship team practice that night. Wednesdays are my second office day and the only day we usually get an actual sitter for Adeline. Those mornings are the hardest because the last thing I want to do is drop her off and drive away after I spent all of Tuesday away from her.

But Wednesday nights are the sweetest. I don’t have to fight the temptation to stress and wish the moments would hurry if she doesn’t go to sleep right away because the next day holds nothing pressing. I can soak up the snuggles, the way her head fits into my neck and her sweet little fingers that sometimes stick out from the swaddle sack and hold my fingers. I can breathe in the fresh scent of clean baby and it’s the easiest night for me to stay present. The anxiety of a Sunday morning feels far away and most of my work tasks for the week are already finished. All that usually remains is more practice hours, and on Wednesdays they feel totally doable during my remaining days.

It’s these moments in the fading evening light of our bedroom that I feel overcome with gratefulness. I can’t believe God gave us this sweet little gift that I didn’t know I always wanted. I can’t believe I get to be her mom and I get to struggle with the tensions of work and motherhood and homekeeping and following Christ diligently and loving my husband well. Sometimes those burdens feel heavy and completely unattainable, but I’m trying to live in those tensions and press in to what I know is true. In this season, God has called me to all of those things. And he’s already given me the grace to walk through it with him.

So all at the same time I’m practicing gratefulness for my job that stretches me and requires much of me, while also soaking up these moments with her that are speeding by too quickly. I’m tempted to think I can only do one or the other when things get hard, but thank you, Lord, for the reminder tonight while I rocked Adeline to sleep that with him I can do both. Be present. Be present. Be thankful. Give yourself grace.

You can check out more photos of Adeline’s nursery here.

Out of Whack (prioritizing struggles for this new mom)

Reprioritizing as a new mom

I do this annoying thing all the time where I get all high and mighty because I think I’ve got this motherhood thing down. I did it during pregnancy, too… for example, I thought I must just be an amazing pregnant lady because I wasn’t getting all swollen and huge… until I did.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but those thoughts have continued right on into motherhood. I think, I’ve really got this bedtime thing down and then this happens. Or I think my daughter must be the best baby ever because she’s never fussy and I can take her anywhere… and then she cries through an entire meal at a restaurant, or while I was frantically checking out at Target, or she suddenly decides she hates the car and screams during every single car ride.

So, of course, I felt like I had this motherhood gig down until I started work again. That little piece of humble pie I’ve been served has certainly done the trick! I am a hot mess. My first week back to work I ended up canceling all of the friend hangouts I had scheduled on my days off because my days off aren’t really days off anymore. Since motherhood happens all day every day, my work from home hours are no longer so scheduled or limited to certain days of the week.

I am incredibly grateful to have a job that I love with flexible hours and that allows me to work about a third of those hours from home. The problem, though, is working from home. It takes on a whole new meaning with a baby who has a lot of needs (AKA food, help falling asleep, diaper changes, someone to play with her and oh yes, general care). My hours worked from home that were once “only on Thursdays” are now split up into 15-60 minute chunks all day every day in the form of sending emails while nursing and scheduling, planning, and practicing during naps, etc.

With all of these changes, I sat in bed the other night and realized I needed to press the reset button on my priorities for this season. My Scripture reading has been spotty at best, I sometimes forget to kiss my husband goodbye when I head into the office (but never Adeline, of course!), and I can no longer schedule multiple friend hangouts on “days off.”

But instead of measuring a day’s success based on the status of dirty dishes and household clutter, I need to turn the pyramid upside down and rethink those measurements.

Instead of measuring a day's success based on the status of dirty dishes + household clutter,… Click To Tweet

My New Daily Priority Pyramid:

  1. God – Have I spent time in the Word today? What are three things I can thank Him for today?
  2. Jacob – What is one small way I can serve him today?
  3. Adeline – Have I talked to her, played with her and enjoyed her without my phone nearby today?
  4. Work – Did I accomplish the “must have’s” today? Am I on track to reach my hours this week? Is the house at least in a livable condition (are there clean dishes and clean clothes)?
  5. Friends – If I can’t connect with a friend in person this week, how can I make a point to serve her? At least send a quick text to let her know I love her and ask how I can pray for her, write a quick card, etc.

After typing those out they seem ridiculously simple, but in the minute to minute of my day it is so easy to let them slide through my fingertips! Would you say a quick prayer for me today that God grows me in discipline in this season and I make this pyramid flip a priority?

How can I be praying for you? Are there priorities in your life that are out of whack? I encourage you to take a minute to consider what is most important to you and ask yourself if that is actually lived out in the reality of your day to day life.

Returning to work + Fighting to believe the truth about it

Encouragement for returning to work after maternity leave

Today marks the end of my maternity leave… Or, rather, the start of my return to work. I’m a ball of mixed emotions as I drive to the office today.

A huge part of me mourns the hours of my week that will no longer be devoted solely to meeting the physical and emotional needs of my daughter. I’ve spent the past 8 weeks learning how to care for her, anticipating what her needs may be and constantly shifting my priorities from my needs to hers. Very little during that time required me to shift my thoughts from her to something else. Those eight weeks passed in what now feels like the blink of an eye, although I know some of those nights felt like an eternity in themselves.

Related Post: Adeline’s birth story

But a small part of me fights to speak truth into my sad heart this morning. That small part reminds me that I’m acting out of obedience to God by returning to this job. I know this responsibility is a calling he has placed on my life – a calling he has given me in addition to motherhood and being a wife that I want to walk in because above all else, first I am his daughter.

My job is completely a gift from God; it’s one of the several loud, tangible examples I’ve seen of his grace in my life over the past two years. In fact, about this time last year I realized this job was the dream job I didn’t know my heart desired!

But I now know motherhood is another job I didn’t realize my heart desired… I had no idea how much I’d want this and never want to turn back.

So as I drive to work today, I’m reminding myself of these truths, because despite the changes this new season of working and motherhood will bring, I know I’m walking in God’s desires for me and my family.

When I go to work, I get to spend part of my week exploring how we can help people encounter God each week through the arts. I get to brainstorm and bring to fruition these ideas with people who are passionate about making the gospel known to our community.

When I go to work, I’m surrounded by people who inspire me to grow and be better. They inspire me to renounce selfishness and remind me this life is about more than just myself and my wants.

When I go to work, I get to lead my community in meeting God through song. What a joy and what a responsibility! I don’t take Sunday mornings lightly. What a privilege to gather freely as a community to preach truth to ourselves, to each other and to unbelievers who visit with us through the words we sing in those songs. I am incredibly grateful that God has entrusted me with the responsibility to lead part of his people in this act of obedient worship each week.

When I go to work, I get to use my gifts as a musician and grow in them! I get to collaborate with other musicians and be inspired by their discipline and talent. I’m driven to further develop my gifts and that brings me incredible joy.

When I go to work, I get to help provide for my family. I’m not leaving Adeline for my own selfish gain (not that “me time” isn’t a healthy thing for moms to have each week!) – I’m leaving her so that I can help keep a roof over her head, clothes on her body and food on the table! I am glad I get to help demonstrate for her the discipline and value of work.

When I go to work, I am walking faithfully in one of the many callings of my life. I’m renouncing Satan’s whispers that I’m neglecting my daughter or that I’m not qualified or that I’m not creative or talented enough for this job. And boy does he try to lure me away with those lies! Motherhood is another string for him to twist in my heart. No – when I go to work, I am honoring my commitment as a follower of Christ, as a wife to Jacob, as a mother to Adeline and as a woman who values growth, hard work and chasing a dream and life she loves.

So when I need to remember why I’m going to work, I’m going to re-read this post and ask God to use me, to make those hours count for his Kingdom and to help me remember the freedom I have to do so joyfully.

Ladies, no matter what your season of life looks like – whether you stay at home or go to work or do a mixture of both, live this season faithfully! If you are struggling with where you’re at, I encourage to to sit with the Lord and ask him to show you why you’re there. And then write it down! When Satan tempts you to sink into the lies that where you are isn’t enough, read that list to remember God’s truth. And then walk in it confidently! All of the seasons of our lives and motherhood look different, so don’t worry yourselves by comparing yours to the people around you… You matter right where you’re at, right now. As I press “publish” today and drive into work, I’m praying for each one of you reading this, that you’ll believe the truths God has for you in this season instead of Satan’s temptings to despair.

Mama, you matter right where you're at, right now. Whether that's at work or at home. Click To Tweet

Thanks for your encouragement as a new mom these last 8 weeks! I hope we can continue sharing so much more encouragement with each other!

What’s an area of your life that you are struggling to believe is purposeful or valuable?  Claim that truth today and ask God to help you believe it!

So. Many. Changes!!!!!!!!!

Man, oh man, it’s been a while!! I can’t believe it’s been five months since my last post – oh friends, so much life has happened! Allow me to fill in the gaps.In February, our church invited me to come on staff in an interim position as one of our worship pastors. It has been a crazy five months between doing that and my other job, but it has literally been a dream come true. I have been passionate about music for my entire life – and serving the church through music has been a priority for me since middle school. So the opportunity to come on staff and be one of the driving forces behind planning our services has been such a joy!

There have been many, many moments I have felt completely inadequate and overwhelmed by the job ahead of me, but again and again the Lord has affirmed me in this role and led the way. He reminded me that this is FOR him, that worship through the arts comes FROM him and he is WITH US in it! Those reminders lift all of the pressure and distractions that so often dirty the waters when we’re asked to step outside our comfort zones. Needless to say, this position has forced me to lean into Christ and also given me the gift of witnessing him meet us week in and week out. Have you ever had a moment where you just think to yourself, “Man! How full life is with God! My heart feels just brimming with thankfulness, hope, joy and LIFE because of him!!”?? That’s how I feel when I think about this being my job.

So here’s the big news – I am no longer the “interim” worship pastor – they have welcomed me onto the team for the long haul!!! If you had told me I’d be doing this job this time last year, I’m not sure I would have believed you. I wouldn’t have seen tangible steps to see how it could come to fruition. But now, seeing the way God orchestrated so many small conversations, families moving around, and bodies willing to trust God’s leadership just blows my mind. He is so good and his plans are infinitely better than ours.

The thought that week in and week out I get to consider how to usher people into the presence of God and teach people the truth of the gospel through the arts is incredible. I just think how is this even a job?! And how is it MY job?! I am overwhelmed with joy.

I work my last day at my previous job today. This afternoon I will pack up all of my work equipment and over the next couple weeks I’m going to get some rest. We will see some family, work on projects that have been put off far too long, and then dive into doing vocational ministry together. 

I am so ready for this ride. And, Lord, I am so grateful!! I may be around these parts a little more often during this next season… we will see 🙂

This Week I Joined the 6am Club… and I Like It

coffee on the deck

I got up at 6am today. Believe it or not, I’ve done that every day this week, and I can (surprisingly!) tell you I’ve never felt better.

I don’t work until 8am and I have zero commuting time, since I work from home, so this 6am wake-up call has gifted me an extra 90 minutes every morning to get stuff done! This week I have pounded out some blog posts during that time, scheduled some sponsored social media posts, and checked some design projects off my to-do list. Yesterday I even went through our bills, washed dishes and cleaned the downstairs of our apartment!

Now, I have to be honest with you –  I’ve been aiming to go to bed by 10pm every night. That means I’m in bed and reading by 10 most nights, with 10:30pm being my “lights out” goal. When the alarm goes off at 6, my initial feeling is alertness, but if I choose to snooze the alarm, that’s when I start getting groggy.

I’ve wanted to get up and do things in the morning before work for a long time, but it’s never been something I was disciplined enough to do. When my alarm goes off, usually I think, “I don’t really need to get up this early,” and I proceed to hit snooze until the last minute. That leaves me groggy and unfocused while I scramble to get ready for work and sit down at my desk. It also leaves me with a long to-do list that I think about all day until 5pm, only to push it back even further after I get off work, with dinner and whatever evening commitments we have that night.

I’ve been reading a lot about time management and various business strategies lately, and so many people said you need to find the time that works for you and protect it. Then actually use it to get stuff done. I’m learning that I cherish those extra 90 minutes of quiet and coffee every morning because I can start off the day doing things I love to do – blogging, business strategizing, designing, getting organized, etc. Then, when I sit down at my desk for my “real” job at 8, I don’t feel like I’m spending my whole day doing something (I appreciate very much!!! but….) I am not passionate about… see what I mean?

For those of you in a similar boat – working your “day job,” but hoping it might turn into something else… don’t be passive about it! Get up and carve out time for your dreams. It’s so worth it!

the truth about working from home.

My desk is red. Let me tell you, that brings me a lot of joy. No more gray cubes! Or gray desks! Red!!

I can sing and hum to myself for as long as I want, as loudly as I want.

The office coffee is always good.
If I wake up 10 minutes before start time, there’s no reason to freak out. Unless it’s Monday and I have an 8am video conference call.
My entire lunch break is mine… I don’t have to travel anywhere except downstairs to my kitchen, or possibly down the street for some extra special coffee.
I can do laundry all throughout the day.I can take a mid-day run to give my mind some rest and get my stiff limbs moving… and I don’t have to walk through the whole office in exercise clothes!

Slippers. Enough said, right?!

When it snows, I don’t have to leave my heated apartment. That’s probably the best part, if I’m honest.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!