I think I might be having a kind of mid-life crisis. I don’t know, is this my mid-life? And is it really a crisis? That word is probably too strong. Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately and what comes next. Part of this is, I’m sure, because of the time of year. There is something about spring that always makes me feel antsy. Probably this is because of the beautiful weather (as I sit here looking out the window it is pouring down rain and blowing with 20 mph winds. Beautiful, right). Probably this is also because spring brings with it a feeling of being on the cusp of something; on the cusp of summer vacation, on the cusp of picnics, swimming and vacations, on the cusp of another completed school year. So, in some ways, I’m just having my usual spring examination of life.
In other ways, though, this year feels different. My son is about to finish preschool and is beyond excited to start kindergarten next year. All day kindergarten. And practically everyone I see lately asks, “what are you going to do with all your free time next year?” Sometimes I feel like people think my stay-at-home mom gig is (or should be) coming to an end and I should be thinking about getting busy doing some real work. Of course, no one actually says this and, probably, no one actually believes this. Except me, maybe I believe it a little.
You see, I guess I never really thought I’d be a stay at home mom. I vaguely remember talking about it a little when my husband and I first got married but I always thought I’d stay home for a year or two, when the kids were really little, and then get on about my business. But here we are, coming up on 8 years since our daughter was born and I’ve never really used my graduate degrees, never really worked in my chosen field. And I don’t know if I ever will.
A few weeks ago there was a job opening in my profession at a local community college. When we talked about if I should apply for it, the conversation really revolved around what hours I would be working and what would happen with the kids. When did this become the first consideration in my life? There is no way to say these things without people thinking I’m a horrible mom. But my kids aren’t all that I am. And the questions, about how many hours to work, how it would impact the kids, etc, are never asked of my husband. When he is asked to join a committee or take on new responsibilities he only asks if the opportunity is something he wants to take. Sometimes that irritates me. And sometimes I wonder how we got here. Did I agree to this? I don’t really remember that. It just seems like we fell in to this life.
There was recently an article on Her.meneutics that I really appreciated. My Kid Is Not My Calling talked a lot about what it means to have a “call” and how that differs from having a “role.” I appreciated the author’s point that, in general, all mothers are called “to honor and obey God in they way they raise their children” and I definitely feel the importance of that call. But also appreciate the point about individual calling. I liked this definition of call: “It is a biblically grounded, Holy Spirit-infused, community-affirmed expression of one’s gifts, and it glorifies God for a purpose greater than one’s self.” Later on the author refers to callings as “unique purposes written into our beings.”
Perhaps that’s what I’m longing for in this season, clarity about what my real calling is. I still love my role as mother and will continue to love it and work at being a better mother throughout my life. But I also believe there is more. And I’ll keep seeking the One who calls me and hope that someday He makes it clear.