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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Special Mamas 2015

www.unveiled-photography.com

I dreamed of making my writing public all the way back to 2003. But my writing remained private until I launched this blog in July 2012. If you were to peek at old journals and writings of mine between 2003 and 2012, you’d see lots of dreaming, lots of free writing, lots of brainstorming about a whole host of topics I believed would resonate with others.

Among those writings was this gem from March 11, 2007.

Special Moms

I found it nestled in a journal entry titled “Brainstorm of Topics for Books on Mothering.” Yes, back in 2007, one of the books I dreamed of writing was about special moms, moms who had unique journeys to and through motherhood. You see, between 2003 and 2010, I had a long-standing dream of becoming an author of real, relevant and raw books on mothering. That dream has since morphed. I no longer see myself as a “mom blogger,” but I’m not afraid to blog about motherhood. I no longer see myself as a “mom author,” but I’m pretty sure there’s still a book about motherhood in me.

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I haven’t written a mothering book yet. Heck, I haven’t written ANY book yet. But the heart of that Special Moms vision is alive and well.

In 2013, I made the Special Moms dream come alive with a month-long guest post series titled Special Mamas. In 2014, I intended to run the series again, but time got away from me, so I wrote Motherhood Unraveled instead. This year, I resurrected Special Mamas as the annual guest post series I originally intended it to be, and went ALL IN!

When I extended an open invitation for posts, I set a lofty goal of 12 mamas. To my great surprise and delight, 13 mamas indicated interest.

So here we are!

During the month of May, I’ll be hosting 13 Special Mamas on the blog.

13 Special Mamas will write guest posts.

13 Special Mamas will share their unique stories to and through motherhood.

13 Special Mamas will reveal their hopes and dreams for motherhood.

13 Special Mamas will get vulnerable.

13 Special Mamas will expose bits of themselves that are raw and real.

13 Special Mamas will talk about miscarriage, infertility, foster parenting, adoption, special needs, significant health issues, blended families, widowhood, divorce and custody, postpartum depression, single parenting, losing a mama at a young age, and parenting abroad, far away from family and friends.

13 Special Mamas will uncover beauty found in least expected places.

13 Special Mamas will proclaim the hope they’ve found, the love they’ve shared.

13 Special Mamas will share the newfound perspectives they’ve discovered along the way.

13 Special Mamas will impart wisdom.

13 Special Mamas will be brave.

Friends, you are going to LOVE these mamas. I’ve found great joy and admiration reading their stories, and I know you will, too.

Motherhood is beautiful. Motherhood is life-changing. Motherhood is important. And motherhood is a calling. But motherhood is real. Motherhood is hard. Motherhood tests us. Motherhood takes us on journeys we never imagined in our wildest dreams. And motherhood brings with it all kinds of special situations and circumstances. When we whole-heartedly embrace our unique journey to and through motherhood, beauty emerges, hope emerges. Motherhood produces fruit in us like nothing else can.

Let’s be real. Let’s be raw. Let’s be beautiful. Let’s learn. Together. Because the truth is, we’re all Special Mamas.

Tell God Your Plans by Melissa

My Life in a Week by Cindy

Could Every New Special Needs Mother Use a Little Lionel Richie? by Lita

Not by Blood, but Through Compassion by Amanda

What is in a Name? by Susan

The Hidden Special Mama by Jackie

Finding the Mama I Thought I Lost by Jessica

My Choice by Paula

Adventures in Uncertainty by Lissa

Motherhood is Not for Wimps by Emily

For His Glory and Our Gain by Gloria

Trusting in Life by Mariah

Broken But Still Fighting by Kathleen

www.unveiled-photography.comThis post serves as the landing page for Special Mamas 2015. ALL 13 guest posts in the series are listed and linked at the end of this post. I put the Special Mamas graphic in the right sidebar of my blog’s home page. Anytime you want to read a post from the series, go to the blog at divineinthedaily.com, click on the Special Mamas graphic, and it will bring you to this post. We’ll be writing a little book here throughout the month! Come. Enjoy. Be filled with beauty, hope and truth about motherhood.

greensig

 

 

When All Else Fails…Blow Bubbles

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When life is overwhelming…

When you can’t get out of your funk….

When all you can think of is heavy, deep and real…

When you’ve been disappointed…

When your dreams have been dashed…

When everyone seems happier and more peaceful than you…

When you can’t remember the last time you laughed hard…

When adults act like kids…

When kids act like babies…

When people are just annoying…

When you’re tired of drama…

When you have no clue how to answer the problems of the day…

When winter lingers longer than it should…

When you’re tired of seeing brown…

When you need sunshine, blue skies and a gentle, warm breeze…

When the to-do list never ends…

When the house looks like you never lifted a finger…

When there’s junk all over the kitchen floor and you just vacuumed it yesterday…

When you need some time alone…

When you need some time away…

When you need community too…

When you need someone to sit with you for hours and know it all…

When you want to fly away, zone out, drift off to a place where everyone just gets it…

When you need more time to do what you love…

When you wonder if you’re on the right path…

When life feels like a big question mark…

When all else fails…blow bubbles.

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pinksig

 

 

Jodi Herickhoff - I concur – bubbles! The pictures made me smile! :-)April 23, 2015 – 6:50 pm

Bearing the Weight of the World

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Most of high school I weighed 126 pounds.

Most of college I weighed 132 pounds.

When we got married in June 1998, I was down to a new low of 126 pounds. (I lost 5 pounds the week of the wedding due to crazy busyness. That was, no doubt, a one-week low.)

After college, but before babies, I weighed a steady 141 pounds.

After my first two babies, I hovered around 146 pounds.

After my sister’s first baby, I weighed 151 pounds.

After four months of intense personal training right before I got pregnant with our third baby, I was super happy with a new low of 143 pounds. (But let me tell you, that was really hard work and I was watching my diet like a mad woman.)

After our third baby, I got back down to 146 pounds, but it wasn’t easy. With very regular exercise, I still waffled between 146 and 151 pounds.

By the time I stopped working as a speech-language pathologist, I was at a new steady high of 151 pounds with all the stress.

And after two months of poor eating, poor sleep, and tremendous stress due to my husband’s eye cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery at home, I was up to an all-time non-pregnancy high of 158 pounds.

I felt like junk, to be honest. The pounds were piling on for no reason. I was beginning to get worried, in fact. My body was taking on a life of its own. It seemed like all I had to do was step on the scale and another pound would be there. Permanently. Like it wasn’t going away anytime soon. Like I had no control over how this body of mine was reacting to life. Like I was barely fitting into my pants.

One day in early March, when I was at that all-time high of 158 pounds, I stopped by the personal training desk and spoke with a trainer. I’d been working out 3x/week like normal, but I was convinced that all the stress and life changes had literally blown my metabolism to shreds, that my body needed a major re-boot. I’d heard good things about some new metabolic, hormone, stress & vitality tests my gym had available, and wanted to see how much they cost. I had a conversation with the nicest, most helpful and kind personal trainer in the world. Heck, after we chatted a while, he even brought me up for a meeting with the gym’s nutritionist so we could look closer at those tests I was hoping to run. Needless to say, the tests were out of my financial league. No personal income to speak of and many doctor bills left me realizing I’d have to walk through this weight problem on my own.

The personal trainer offered me a Sunday afternoon friends and family class for $10 a session, but between family events, my son’s basketball tournaments and my daughter’s volleyball practice and tournaments, I haven’t been able to attend. He also said I’d fit nicely in a group personal training session he runs weekly, but to be honest, I don’t have an extra $50 a week to put into group personal training right now.

Since we met briefly in early March, that personal trainer has been the nicest, most supportive guy in the gym. When he sees me he says hi, and asks how I’m doing. He stopped me on the track the other day to let me know the tests are on sale this month. And he reminded me again with all sincerity, “let me know if I can help you with anything.” A couple weeks ago, I shared that I’m down 4 pounds since I talked to him in early March. “Keep up the good work,” he congratulated.

I’m down to 154 pounds. Still an all-time non-pregnancy high. The pounds are still coming off my body like molasses. But hey, I’m 4 pounds lower than that all-time high of 158.

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The past four weeks, I’ve begun lifting weights more than I have for several years. When I spoke with the personal trainer, he reminded me I should be lifting at least a couple times a week. And I promptly reminded him that I hate weight training, that I avoid it like the plague. But I knew I had to change something. I knew I had to kick this body into a whole new realm. I knew I had to do something different. So as much as I hate weights, I began integrating lifting into my workout program again. I’ve actually been lifting 3x/week for the past month.

But yesterday when I was lifting, I realized something. I remembered WHY I hate lifting. I remembered why I STOPPED lifting during my sister’s first pregnancy in 2010.

Because life feels weighty enough in itself.

Too often, I bear the weight of the world on my shoulders. I sense deeply. I feel deeply. I live far beneath the surface in my heart. Lifting extra weight adds burden to my already worn and torn body and soul.

I knew that was true back in late 2010 when my personal trainer was pushing me beyond my limits with weights, when I crumbled in tears and she couldn’t understand why. I knew that was true yesterday when the weight of the world just felt too heavy to lift, when I couldn’t even curl two 10-pound dumbbells three sets of 12 reps.

Yes, it’s all becoming crystal clear. This is an unintended consequence of slowing my life to a new pace, an unintended consequence of shifting directions. It’s all crashing down on me, or should I say, it’s all piling up on me?

I’ve spent a lifetime bearing the weight of the world. I’ve been bearing the unrealistically high expectations I set for myself. I’ve been bearing the unrealistically high expectations I set for others. I’ve been bearing the unrealistically high expectations others have for me. I’ve been bearing the unrealistically high expectation of doing what the world thinks I should do, and being who the world thinks I should be. I’ve been bearing the unrealistically high expectation of thinking I can help, fix, restore, renew and remove everyone’s burdens.

Yes, it’s becoming crystal clear. A lifetime of mental, emotional and spiritual weight bearing has taken a toll on my physical well being. I haven’t known my boundaries. I haven’t honored any boundaries.

158 was an all-time high.

Now I’m at an all-time (lower) high of 154.

What weight do you carry?

What weight do you carry physically?

What weight do you carry mentally, emotionally, spiritually?

Just because we can feel the weight of the world, doesn’t mean we need to bear the weight of the world.

How’s that for a revelation?

Let’s lift the weights we’re meant to lift, and loosen our grip on the weights we’re meant to set free. You and me, friend. Just you and me.

greensig

 

 

 

Susan Baunsgard - Hi Amy
Very interesting insight. Real physical weights vs emotional weights. We can simply walk away from those 10# weights. But those emotional weights? They are hidden in our hearts and minds. They can’t be walked away from. Instead we need to deal with them in a different way. This is where our loving savioMay 1, 2015 – 8:53 pm

Carol Forsberg - I love your writings …you are blessed with an amazing gift.April 28, 2015 – 12:17 pm

Barbara Matalamaki - Good article…as always!April 28, 2015 – 12:05 pm

Jennifer Johnson Camp - Amy, this is so powerful. I am so grateful for you–for your willingness to lead in your vulnerability, for the sake of loving people. You are so beautiful, sister. Thank you.April 26, 2015 – 3:44 am

Kris Camealy - Good words here Amy. You’ve been on my mind, friend. XoApril 26, 2015 – 3:10 am

Sarah Swanson - Wow! You have brought me to tears! Love love love this. Thank you thank youApril 22, 2015 – 3:26 am

Carol Femling - You spoke about your mom (me) perfectly!! I know that’s why I am at a personal high for my weight. The last 10 years have weighed me down in every way possible BIG TIME!! I need to start doing the exact same thing you’re doing or I will continue to fall down. Thanks for sharing!! Love you! Mom :)April 22, 2015 – 12:59 am

Monica Anderson Palmer - Amy Pederson my prayer for you is that you see the intensely brave person you are. First, you posted actual numbers (something I would never be humble or vulnerable enough to do. Secondly, you expose areas of yourself that again, I’m not sure I could admit to others out loud much less write about and post on a blog…so I pray you know in the very deep parts of your heart how brave you are. You will help someone, you’ve certainly helped me.April 21, 2015 – 8:58 pm

When God Calls You Behind the Scenes

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I hadn’t known grace. I hadn’t known surrender. I hadn’t known what it looks like and feels like to be okay with God’s approval and God’s approval only. That is, until the Dominican Republic.

The most important day of the trip found me highly emotionally unstable. I was about to spend several hours with our Compassion sponsored sweetie, Meranyelis, and it just so happened that every perfectly planned thing went wrong for me that morning. To make things worse, I brought my camera, but forgot the charged battery back in the room. That left me without a functioning camera, the ONE physical possession I really thought I needed that day besides a swimsuit. Knowing how much I love and treasure pictures, God, in His infinite wisdom, provided Lairs, a photographer, to capture beautiful moments during my visit with Meranyelis.

It was awesome to have Lairs as my one-and-only photographer, but 40 other child-sponsor memories were waiting to be memorialized too, so there were plenty of times when it was just me, our sponsored sweetie, her tutor and the translator. No photographer. No camera of my own. Nobody else capturing moments from the sidelines.

Those moments were quiet, intimate, precious.

I vividly remember the moment when God’s still small voice stirred in my soul, the moment He asked me to work quietly behind the scenes, for Him and Him alone. It happened somewhere between our first swim in the big pool and our Dorito-stained fingertips in the treehouse. Meranyelis and I were off the beaten track, walking down a dusty, dirty, rocky hill towards a swimming pool with a waterslide.

As we walked down that hill, just the two of us with the translator and tutor following behind, I knew there was a good chance Meranyelis would be going on a waterslide for the first time. I was desperate for Lairs, my cameraman, to be there to capture the moment! I didn’t want to miss this! I wanted to be able to send Meranyelis a photograph of the first time she went down a waterslide! I wanted her to be able to show her friends and remember how fun it was for months and years to come!

But I had no camera. I had no cameraman. Lairs was nowhere to be found, and I wasn’t about to waste precious time chasing him down.

There was, in fact, nobody in sight with a camera.

This moment of grandiosity was NOT going to be captured.

And that’s when I heard God’s still small voice. As I held Meranyelis’ hand, as my bare feet walked the uncomfortably rocky, dirty, dusty soil, I heard it in my soul. Just be with my child. Will you love her? Will you serve her? Will you forget about everything else, just be with Meranyelis and enjoy the moment, even if the only evidence is in the recesses of your mind? 

There was no other choice. God put me in this position for a reason. I needed to surrender. I needed to know what it looked like and felt like to REALLY serve with my whole heart, for no other reason than to faithfully love the person in front of me. I needed to love this girl, to serve this girl, to be with this girl because she’s God’s beautiful creation, on loan to me for such a time as this.

I whole-heartedly accepted God’s invitation to work behind the scenes.

Extravagant cameras were nowhere to be found. Cell phone cameras were nowhere to be found. NOBODY was to be found. It was just me, Meranyelis, the tutor, and the translator. On a hill. Together in the Dominican Republic.

As we continued further down the hill, Meranyelis decided she didn’t want to go down that waterslide. We stopped to ponder the reality of climbing those stairs. I showed her the slides and explained we’d ride down on a tube, that I’d be with her every step of the way. But she was hesitant. She didn’t want to do it. She couldn’t bring herself to go that high. She was, in fact, afraid of heights.

It’s interesting, really, how God chose to speak to me in that particular moment, how He asked me to work quietly behind the scenes without cameras, without spectators, without physical evidence of it ever happening.

It wasn’t a picture-perfect moment. It was just me and my sponsored child. In what turned out to be a very vulnerable moment. Meranyelis came face to face with her fear of heights. I was there to let her know it was okay. She didn’t have to conquer that fear today. She didn’t have to do it. I wasn’t forcing her to do anything. We were just there, together, as we were – faults, fears and all.

Nothing needed to be documented. God seared the moment in my memory. It will never fade, it will never wear, it will never tear. That moment He first asked me to work behind the scenes? That moment He asked me go, do and love just because? It was holy.

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So it came as no surprise when God called me to work behind the scenes again.

On February 23rd, 2015, just 5 1/2 weeks after I returned from the Dominican Republic, God cracked open another chapter in the book He’d begun writing in me long ago. The chapter was unfolding like mad. It was literally writing itself. It was beyond me. I was simply along for the ride of my life. And I was determined to let God lead. He was clearly in control and had a plan. I knew it from day one.

By April 2nd, just three days before Easter, I was convinced and had proof on multiple fronts that this was actually happening. I was convinced of my role in this thing. I was convinced I was 100% in for the long haul. There was no turning back.

Everything had unfolded in private. It was incredible, miraculous, and delightful. Nobody knew what was going on except me, my husband and the few key parties involved. But things had progressed to the point where I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep this inside anymore. I needed people to know. We were going to need help. And I knew that if this story kept going down the road it was on, that I’d have to make it public sooner rather than later. So I started sharing the story with a select handful of people – my parents, my mother-in-law, my God-size prayer and support team, a friend, three individuals from my writing group, and one other person who just really needed to know what was going on. Heck, I even shared a vague prayer request on my blog’s Facebook page the week leading up to Easter.

But the story took a turn.

I’d been belly deep in this thing since February 23rd. I’d experienced the fullness of God’s provision and love for His children. I’d witnessed a multitude of miracles. I’d been brought into a story that was ridiculously rich, fulfilling, challenging, rewarding and completely in line with who God created me to be. But by April 10th, I very clearly sensed God asking me to step aside, to begin working behind the scenes instead of on the front lines.

It wasn’t an easy decision by any means.

It means I won’t be sharing the story on my blog the way I planned.

It means I’ll have to break my promise to you, a promise I made the Tuesday before Easter that I’d share this whole story with you someday, that I’d invite you into all the details from the very start.

It means my role will change.

It means, at least for now, that I’ll be working and loving behind the scenes without anyone else knowing details except my husband and one family from afar.

It means, at least for now, that this story will continue to unfold largely between me and God.

It means I’ll have to trust that God folded me into this story and is now sending me behind the scenes for a reason. It means I’ll have to trust that He’ll work it all out, that He’ll carry it out to completion, that He’ll draw me back into the front lines if and when He sees fit.

I’ve been working behind the scenes for 9 days now. I’ve experienced moments of sadness, uncertainty, wonder and even a little doubt that there’s a bigger purpose in all of this. But I’ve also experienced peace. And joy. God’s shown me other ways to love, other ways to serve, other ways to give that are perfectly tailored to the deepest desires of my heart.

This is where I’m supposed to be. For now. For such a time as this.

So I’m wondering about you.

Are you on the front lines, or are you behind the scenes?

What are you doing in the quiet, to love, serve, and give, that nobody knows about besides you and God?

Maybe you’re caring for a disabled child.

Maybe you’re letting an elderly parent live in your home.

Maybe you’re loving a friend when they’ve fallen off the wagon yet again.

Maybe you’re donating to the crisis nursery, the homeless shelter, or the United Way.

Maybe you’re forgiving the person you abused you, betrayed you.

Maybe you’re setting aside time to mentor someone in need.

Maybe you’re giving your spouse a weekend away.

Maybe you’re serving at the soup kitchen.

Maybe you’re watching children in the nursery.

Maybe you’re bringing a meal to someone going through cancer treatment.

Maybe you’re sending a note of encouragement to someone who’s doing awesome things with their life.

Maybe you’re sending a note of encouragement to someone who’s down in the dumps.

Maybe you’re housesitting, dog watching, or cat watching.

Maybe you’re making big decisions on a nonprofit board of directors.

Maybe you’re wiping butts and cleaning toilets day after day after day.

Maybe you’re caring for kiddos all on your own.

Maybe you’re loving, honoring and conversing with elderly in a nursing home.

Maybe you’re making warm chocolate chip cookies for kids in the neighborhood.

Maybe you’re singing, writing, painting, photographing, creating…because you must.

Maybe you’re running marathons for a cause.

Maybe you’re running marathons because you can.

What is it? 

What do you do behind the scenes? What do you do when nobody’s watching?

How does it fill you? How does it encourage and speak life to others? How does it make the world a more beautiful place?

“…do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:3-4

greensig

 

 

 

Amy - Sandra, this is the story I very vaguely referred to in my message to you and Kris.April 19, 2015 – 9:01 pm

Sandra Heska King - Puddled.April 19, 2015 – 4:46 pm

I’ve Become The Woman I Silently Criticized

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My mom worked full-time as a public school teacher from the second she earned her bachelor’s degree until the second she retired. Even now, in retirement, she still substitute teaches quite a bit.

Growing up, never once did I hear my mom complain about her job.

Never once did I hear my mom long for an alternate life where she didn’t have to work as much.

Never once did I hear my mom wish she could be a stay at home mom.

Never once did I hear my mom question her purpose in life.

She just did what she needed to do. She did what she loved. She made it all work. She worked full-time, cared for three children, tended the household, supported my dad who worked two jobs (full-time teaching and part-time car sales), made delicious homemade meals, kept beautiful flower pots, sewed and mended things as needed, hosted a garage sale every year, and so on.

Between mothering, teaching, cooking and tending house, my mom was in her glory. She seriously DID. IT. ALL. (Although note I didn’t give her any credit for awesome self-care practices along the way. Mom, you know we always want you to do more for yourself.)

Before I became a mother, I assumed I would follow in my mom’s footsteps. I assumed I’d be 100% ALL IN for the balanced lifestyle of full-time work and full-time motherhood.

Yeah, before becoming a mother, I knew so much about balancing work and motherhood, that for years, I silently criticized moms who had college degrees, but chose to stay home full-time with their kids and “do nothing with their lives.” To put it more bluntly, if a mom had a college degree and she wasn’t actively using it towards gainful paid employment, I thought she wasting her degree, wasting her life away. Yep. What a waste.

Man, do I need to EAT my silent, unspoken words now.

Please forgive me, moms.

Please forgive me, college-educated moms who aren’t employed full-time in the workplace.

Please forgive me for criticizing you when I had no clue.

Please forgive me for placing judgement on you when I had no experience.

Please forgive me for assuming such harsh things about your life and your decision-making capabilities.

Please forgive me for being so narrow minded that I couldn’t understand why a woman would have gotten a college degree in the first place if “all she was going to do” was stay home with her kids.

Yeah, I had no clue. 

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By the time I returned from maternity leave after our first child was born, I knew this full-time working and full-time mothering gig wasn’t going to work for me. Nevertheless, I survived 1 1/2 years of full-time employment as a mom because the truth was, at that time, we couldn’t afford to have me stay home in any capacity.

Approximately 18 months into motherhood, my husband got enough of a raise that allowed me to stay home one day a week. I applied for a part-time leave, and by the time our son was 22 months old, I was working four days a week. Life felt much more comfortable.

Things shifted again when our second child came along.

And when our third child arrived nearly seven years after that, things shifted yet again.

There’s only one thing I know for sure after 12 1/2 years of mothering. I have NO. IDEA. HOW. TO BALANCE. WORK AND MOTHERHOOD.

It’s clear, okay?

I have no idea how to do this.

The proof is in the pudding.

As of 2015, I’ve DONE. IT. ALL. as far as work-motherhood balance.

I’ve worked 5 days a week. 4 days a week. 3 days a week. 2 days a week. 1 day a week. And now, in 2015, for the first time ever in my mothering career, I’m home full-time.

Yes, I’ve become the woman I silently criticized.

I have a bachelor’s degree. I have a master’s degree. And I’m staying home full-time.

Writing this truth makes me feel kind of icky. You know? The kind of icky like I had to eat all those ugly thoughts and words I kept to myself about college-educated stay-at-home moms all those years. Icky like I should be working today, bringing in some income for our family other than just sitting here typing away on a blog, hoping and praying for a writing career that will actually pay something someday. Icky like I have NO IDEA how to strike the magnificent work-motherhood balance that almost everyone else seems to have found?! Icky like this is NOT the balance my mom struck. Icky like this is NOT the balance my neighbor struck. Icky like this is not the balance my husband’s female corporate colleagues struck. Icky like this is NOT the balance I envisioned for myself.

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We’re modern women, they say, pioneers of a whole new generation. We’ll make our own way. We’ll establish our own place at home and in the workplace. We’ll land somewhere comfortably between the old-fashioned housewife who was expected to stay home and abandon her own self-fulfillment and actualization, and the feminist who burned her bra, abandoned all traditional notions of motherhood, embraced equal opportunity employment and fought hard against the so-called glass ceiling. Yes, they say we modern women can “Do It All In Our Lifetime.”

But I have to ask. Have we found a comfortable resting place between old-fashioned housewivery and and feminism? I, for one, am sometimes still confused, lacking clarity as to my place. Clearly, I haven’t quite figured it out. Clearly, I’m a pioneer, often left wondering and wandering in the sea of questions, insecurities and uncertainties about how work and motherhood fit together.

I rationalize.

I’ll become a “better mom.” I’ll have all of this worked out when the kids are older, when they’re in high school and college. Maybe I’m just not good at figuring this all out when they’re still little.

I justify.

I know in my heart that this is a season, a very short time in life when I have the opportunity to be home full-time with the kids, that years from now I’ll be SO glad I had this opportunity. And I know with all my heart that this is TRUE. But right now, there’s still a part of me that feels like I’m wasting my college degree, like I’m wasting my potential at home…tending a house, caring for children full-time, wiping counters, wiping butts, writing for no pay, and doing all the most ordinary, mundane things of life like cleaning toilets and packing cold lunches.

Then, I accept the truth.

I’m a mom. I have a master’s degree. I worked for 14 1/2 years. Now I’m not working at all. My work life has been all over the board. And I don’t claim to have any balance.

It is what it is.

Okay?!

I don’t have any balance.

I have no clue how to achieve work-motherhood balance.

I don’t get it.

And that’s okay.

I don’t claim to have mastered anything about this parenting or mothering gig, so why would I expect myself to have mastered the elusive work-motherhood balance either?

As I stood quietly by the monkey bars at the park this past weekend, I accepted the fact that this is my life, my one true life. I have three kids. My husband has a corporate job. He’s magnificent at what he does. I’m blessed to have this once-in-a-lifetime, very short-term, seasonal opportunity to stay at home full-time while these kids are still young. Before I know it, they’ll be all grown up. I’ll long for these days, I’ll miss these days when the kids are still small, when they’re all still at home. So I will embrace this life, even if it feels a little mundane at times. I will embrace this life, even if I have to remind myself 500 times that my contribution to the human race is just as worthy inside the home as it is outside of the home

I looked down at my jeans and Sketchers against the playground wood chips, and let the reality wash over me. Yes, this is a far cry from my favorite White House Black Market work clothes that fill the closet. But this is my life. This is a good life, too.

The kids fight over swings. They twist swings. They taunt and tease one another. They don’t go up the slide the right way, and do all kinds of potentially dangerous things. The honest truth is, we’re all a bit edgy because daddy had a ridiculously busy week and was gone six out of seven days. And yeah, we’re going out for dinner because I can’t handle more meal preparation at this point.

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But hey.

Life is good.

We’re going to walk home from this park.

We’re going to enjoy pizza buffet together when daddy gets home.

We’re going to do this again tomorrow.

And it will be good and grace-filled all over again.

The kids don’t have a clue about work-motherhood-fatherhood balance yet. Neither do I.

Perhaps my work-motherhood IMBALANCE will prove to be a blessing someday.

Perhaps someday my children will reflect on their upbringing and realize it’s okay to not have everything perfectly together all the time. Life isn’t always about mastering things and getting everything JUST RIGHT.

Perhaps someday my daughters will come to me when they’re confused about this working and mothering balance, and I’ll be able to tell them with all honesty…been there, done that, sweetheart. Here’s how I worked through it. Day by day. Year by year. Child by child. Follow your heart, sweet one. There’s never one best answer.

Perhaps someday when my husband’s ready to retire and I’m still working like a mad woman in all the unconventional ways, he’ll realize I meant what I said. I’m not saying I don’t want to work, I’m saying for right now, my work is at HOME.

Perhaps someday when the children are grown and we have grandchildren running in the yard, I’ll look back with peace, resting confident in the knowledge that my degrees were never, ever wasted. In that moment, all the pieces of my life put together will make perfect sense. And I’ll whisper to the mamas from the mountaintops, forget about the magical work-motherhood balance. Just forget about it mamas. You’re doing great right where you are.

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Alison Miller Murphy - I loved reading this. You write beautifully. Your words strike home with me. Thank you for sharing your honesty and encouraging others to be able to accept that sometimes, it just is what it is.April 15, 2015 – 12:06 pm

Rachel Arntson - I think this is my favorite post you’ve ever written, and i love all of them. Great job, Amy. I love your insight.April 15, 2015 – 2:49 am

Valerie Hubel - Love it so much! The balance is hard. I too am grateful, but need to be reminded of the precious time I have with my young ones right now.April 14, 2015 – 11:58 pm

Gretchen Wendt O'Donnell - I’m smiling because the one time we’ve met in person I was a stay at home mom with a college degree and a masters degree! I’d say I told you so only I didn’t tell you so. But I will say this, we can never understand another’s life until we’re in it, can we? I, too, have judged others. I still do, though I try not to!April 14, 2015 – 11:02 pm

Nicole Marie Newfield - So well-written, Amy. Your degrees are never wasted. They are part of the experiences that have made you who you are. Embrace this phase, yes- I try too to just soak it all in, even though I too never feel like the balance is ever perfectly achieved.April 14, 2015 – 9:46 pm

Amy - Becky, you are so welcome. I’m really glad the post resonated with you. After I published it, I was really worried for a while that I’d made a mistake, that I should have kept these thoughts to myself. But every time I have a post like this in me and it’s fairly well formed before I even begin writing, I’ve come to realize that I just need to get it out for others’ viewing. Part of me is reluctant to share, yes. But the content typically resonates with someone, sometimes many. So glad I chose to say it out loud.April 14, 2015 – 9:28 pm

Becky - This took so much courage to write! Many people reflect on this type of uncertainty/restlessness/whatever AFTER they have come out on the other side. You write about it when you are in the middle of it. That takes guts, and as another mom who has these same thoughts… THANK YOU for saying it all out loud.April 14, 2015 – 8:22 pm