Friday, May 23, 2014

What do working moms and frogs have in common?

How do you boil a frog? If you put him in boiling water, he will jump out. But if you put him in a pot of water and then slowly turn up the gas, he will doze off until death. Well, being a working mom, is kind of like being that unknowing frog.

I have been a work out-of-the-home mom for almost 13 years. Except for work from home Fridays, and a brief period in which I worked in a virtual office, I have worked in a traditional office in the fast-paced field of public relations. I have been fairly successful, working at a nice firm that has great perks, got to travel to amazing places and serve clients who are making a difference in the world. At the same time, my precious family has grown and I have been involved at school, with Girl Scouts, advocating for my son and volunteering. It easy to think I have been doing all right. It's easy to be fooled. 

You see, as I had more babies, it got more difficult. Traffic has always been an issue, there have been times I traveled two hours each way to and from work, for many years it was at least one hour each way. When I moved to our current neighborhood, my commute was cut to 20-30 minutes each way. With this new found convenience, it was easy to fool myself into thinking I had it all together. That this "extra" time was put toward my family, but I still didn't make it home much before seven. My husband and I played tag team with house and kid responsibilities to juggle responsibilities at our two jobs.

I was missing my family, my life. We were just barely getting by and I didn't see it.

As a working mom I jumped into that pot of water. Each year, as I had more children, took on more responsibility at work, got involved at the school and in extracurriculars, the pot of water got warmer and warmer. I was unknowingly existing in a constant state of stress - boiling. Yet, somehow I was so used to it, it seemed normal. 

Sometimes, it takes being plucked out of the pot to fully realize all the stress that was bubbling up underneath you all along.

That is what happened to me. I was simmering in the pot and was given an opportunity to jump out. I'm beginning a new career as a work from home mom, an entrepreneur. I'm starting my own communications firm and I signed my first client today! 

Now I know working from home and launching my own business will bring its own stress, especially since I'm launching just as summer takes off. However, I've already had a glimpse at how being present and available can positively affect my whole family. It's an incredibly exciting road ahead that is God's design, not my plan. It came together unexpectedly and clearly with God's fingerprint all over it and I'm excited to be on this journey.

Being a mom, whether you stay at home, work from home or work out of the home, will always be a balancing act. Dear moms, don't let the stress lull you into such a numbness that you get boiled like the frog, listen to that still small voice that tells you there is another path, wake up and jump out so you can be all you were designed to be.