March 2013 was a big month for my little family. The S.O. (Significant Other- for those of you who are new here) and I both work relatively high risk jobs and we both encountered situations that made us stop and appreciate our health and safety. Within the same time period I was accepted into a nursing program at the local college. We spent a great deal of time contemplating what our next move would be, and what our long term goals were for our family of four. I even recall nervously posting a status around that time eluding to the course-altering, albeit intimidating changes that were coming in our near future.
In the last 7 months we have turned life damn near upside down in our quest to attain our long term goals. For one, I stepped down from the full time position at my job and transitioned into a part time role in order to accommodate the scheduling demands of nursing school. After months of discussion about finances and priorities, we finally took the first steps in listing our house with a realtor. This wasn’t an easy decision, we don’t really want to sell our house, but lightening our load will facilitate us reaching our ideal state. Making these changes has set into motion a domino affect and it’s ripples have been felt in every faucet of our lives.
Why did we take the leap to make these big changes? Most simply put: in the pursuit of us. As we evaluated what really matters to us, it came down to two things: Our Princess and Tiny Prince. It was time to rearrange my priorities. Time to shift our lives in a direction of having less distractions and more focus on our kids; more time at home, less hours at work, more attention on my children, less focus on the meaningless white noise of social media and shallow busyness. Less is more, I am learning, but I am also learning that reaching this long term goal of more family time via the avenue of a career change is very hectic.
I have experienced a lot of personal growth in the last five years, but none that compares to the growth spurt I hit when I became a mother. Little in my life now resembles who I was at 25 or even 28, and I’m not remorseful of that in the least. I have written before about knowing what my ideal state is as a mother, but the challenge is learning how to get there.
Over the past several years I’ve had the privilege of crossing paths with some profound people who have impacted my perspective on parenthood and personal growth. Some have influenced me simply through blog posts such as those written by Hands Free Mama, or like short this video – impressing on my conscience and making me acutely aware of where my priorities lie . Lindsay Nixon of the Happy Herbivore has influenced and encouraged me week after week in her Minimalist Monday posts, where she has taught me that being a minimalist doesn’t just mean reducing clutter in my home, but also reducing clutter in my priorities. I have dear friends who set such inspiring examples to me of what parenthood can be, like my sister who is single-handedly raising my adorable nephew, or my dear friends who embody patience and commitment towards their kids. There have been many moments in my short journey of motherhood that I have recalled the grace these moms and dads have shown. I often reference resources they have recommend. The most recent improvement of my perspective on parenting is the author Gordon Neufeld. His book Hold Onto You Kids highlights his insight on attachment parenting and creating family cohesion has influenced my interactions with my kids daily. (I’m working on a post devoted solely to this audio book, so stay tuned!)
I knew that the changes we were making would create a new set of busyness, and the fresh set of commitments would serve to stand in the way of my desire to invest more attention to my relationship with my kids. But I am certain that if I didn’t take these steps, the routine as it was could not change. This short chapter of chaos is simply a means to an end. My focus now is to keep balance; to remember what my goals are but to honor my priorities. We are two months into our new routine and I have come to accept the reality of full time school while working weekends and being a Mama at the same time. I’m certainly not the first person to undergo such challenging time constraints- there are full time working mom’s in my class that run circles around me! But for our family, taking this step towards our long terms goals is a huge change in our routine, our finances, and our stress levels.