An answered prayer can be a strange thing.
Last year around this time I was praying that God would give me a strong sign about whether I was supposed to stay in my current job at a start-up company, or whether I should begin to look for a different position elsewhere. I wasn’t hating work, but I definitely wasn’t loving it, either. Basically, I began to feel like I’d rather stay at home than waste my time in an office (I’m sure the nice weather had something to do with that) where I wasn’t being fully utilized, but I had only been at the company for about 10 months so I wasn’t sure it was time to make a switch.
About a week after I started really praying about this, I got laid off.
This is how I knew it was an answered prayer: The first feeling I felt was relief. Instant relief. Like, my boss was still talking and I had already checked out and was thinking “Thanks, God. I wasn’t expecting such a definite answer, but you sure provided me with one!”
Not that being laid off was fun. My pride was hurt and I didn’t have a next step in mind and I suddenly had no insurance (yay for them making the strategic decision to let me go at the end of a month/quarter!) and they weren’t going to pay me severance so I had no additional money coming in… but luckily Tim and I were in a great position and we simply added me to his insurance and kept living life.
And then the next five months happened.
At first I simply relaxed, giving myself a break from work. I don’t know how people work for 20+ years without a real ‘break’, but it felt wonderful. Plus it was in the summer and we had a deck so I just read and talked to friends on the phone and went out for coffee dates and walked Oz and went to Crossfit. We even went on a few vacations and I didn’t need to get approval from anyone or use PTO… It was as life should be in the summer.
I also applied to jobs, lots of jobs.
I watched Jeopardy and Ellen daily (and some Judge Judy) and stayed relaxed.
I even made dinner from time to time (almost every night)!
I had time on my hands, and time is truly an invaluable tool.
Last year we truly had a carefree and super-fun summer together as a little family!
There were days when I was a bit anxious/depressed because everyone else had work to go to and I couldn’t find a job, but luckily, God was with me in those moments and I just knew He had a master plan for me. I had the utmost faith that whatever His plan was, far surpassed any plan I could think of myself.
Our marriage was definitely improving during this time, which was one ‘side effect’ that I assumed God intended. Tim was struggling with a job he didn’t love (he has since switched and loves his current role) and while both of us were unhappily employed, the household was a bit tense, but as soon as I wasn’t working, I was happier, more laid-back, less anxious, and more helpful. I had less expectations of Tim because I had more time to get shit stuff done around the house! It was a great feeling.
Not that I was super productive all of the time – I mean, that was the goal, but it didn’t happen – but I at least didn’t feel overwhelmed with a to-do list.
At first I thought that was God’s plan, giving us a few months of a care-free marriage where we could both figure out our career goals. And I figured my dream job was about to be given to me. I applied for a few jobs that I was really excited about and made it to final round interviews.
I didn’t get the offers. This was another blow to the ole’ ego!
Then we found out I was (pretty unexpectedly) pregnant.
Never had God’s plan been so clear to me than right at that moment when I saw the indicator on that stick that said ‘Pregnant’.
You see, I had always thought I would be a working mom. Independence was important to me, especially financial independence. Plus, I loved working (or at least I loved the idea of working).
Well, after having five months off and realizing how richly those months had benefited me personally and also our marriage, it was a no-brainer. I would not be working with a baby at home. It was the easiest decision I have ever made.
I stopped trying to find a full-time job the day I found out I was pregnant, and instead focused on trying to find a contracting job so I could make a bit more money and stay preoccupied during the pregnancy. I found a position (that I’m still at today) immediately, and have been happy to be back in the working world again, if only temporarily. Mainly, I like working in a more stress-free environment where I know I won’t be forever.
And then when Bumpy decides to make his/her appearance, I’ll be done – no maternity leave needed!
Yes, it will be an adjustment for our family to live on one income. And I may decide to go back to work at some point in the not-so-distant future, depending on how I’m feeling. I’m quite certain being a SAHM is no small feat and I only hope and pray I can handle it and maintain a level of sanity! But right now, it’s clear to me that my most important role is going to be the one at home.
I know people work for a variety of reasons, but for me, it’s important for me to pour my entire self into my family for a while, without being distracted by external stresses. Because work will not and should not be the source of my happiness and identity, but my relationships (including the one with myself) are.
I’m so thankful that God’s plan for me and our family was bigger than the one I had for myself. I’m glad He used those five months to teach me that my self-worth is not tied to what I do for a living and that I could be perfectly happy staying at home and caring for my family.
While He didn’t answer my prayers exactly as I had hoped, He answered them far better than I could have ever anticipated.