Monday, January 7, 2013

A really difficult decision

            After only three months of employment, I am once again- “just a mom.”  It was not an easy decision to leave my job.  Though, I was officially hired on as “seasonal” I had the option to stay on after Christmas.  In fact, I was asked by one of my superiors, on two different occasions, about whether I was willing to consider moving up in the company.  I quickly explained that I had no interest in moving into a management position.  I definitely did have an interest in staying on at the store.  

But, as it turned out, I just couldn’t.  

I found that, as much as I enjoyed the job and as well as I felt I was balancing all my responsibilities, there just wasn’t enough of me to go around.  There were too many days that Tim and I did not even see each other until 9:30 at night because he left for work before I got up in the morning and I left for my job before he got home in the evening.    There were too many days when the children were left alone, in the care of my oldest daughter for up to an hour or more, between my departure and Tim’s arrival home from work.   

I loved my job.  I loved the feeling of being good at something and being out in the world.  I loved going to work and feeling like I was accomplishing something and feeling like I was part of a team.  I loved having something that felt worthwhile to do in the evenings and then I loved coming home to hug my family and tell them all about my time away.  Work was fun and it was validating in so many ways and it was easy compared to what I do at home with the kids.  The outside-of-the-house, for-pay job was a great reminder that I am good at something and I am capable of worldly success.

But, as great as it all was and as much as I agonized (and let me tell you-- I agonized and agonized for weeks) about the decision- I guess I knew in my heart that I was needed at home.  I guess I knew all along that worldly success is not what matters most…….

What I do in my own home is what matters most though home does not provide me the same feelings as working outside the house did.  I do not always feel confident with what I am doing at home with my kids.  It is hard to feel capable of great things when my three year old is whining and my nine year old is nagging and my fourteen year old is giving me attitude.  It is hard to feel successful when my eleven year old tries to manipulate my every decision and my seven year old completely misses half of what I say to him.  It is hard to feel I’ve accomplished anything when the laundry is never ALL done and the sink always has dirty dishes in it and there is no conceivable way to keep up with the clutter of Legos and Polly Pockets and books and schoolwork and so on…….  

It was a tough decision to resign my position at work and even after I made it, I felt torn.  I continued to agonize and to try to figure out another option.

But then, two days after I gave my notice at work, it was the Feast of the Holy Family.  The homily that day was all about how families are breaking down.  The priest talked about how people just do not value family anymore and about the far reaching effects of our shifting priorities.  As I listened to Father Ross’ words, I knew God was talking to me. 

He was telling me I made the right decision for myself and, more importantly, for my family.  He was, very clearly and very pointedly, giving me the validation I so desperately seek.   He drove home the point by allowing my family to be the one to bring forth the gifts to begin the Liturgy of the Eucharist and then by sending the nicest little old man up to us after Mass to thank us for being such a beautiful family and to tell me I was obviously a great blessing to my children.  

I am a mom.  Motherhood is the gift and the vocation God has given me.  And when I asked Him in prayer what to do-- He answered.  He wants me to focus on being the best mom I can be—full time.  

I understand, now more than ever, why working moms do what they do, balancing all those different roles.  Working outside the home feels good.  Making a little money is nice too.   There are so many ways we can serve God out in the world and sometimes He calls mothers to do just that.  

But, me?  I am called to be just a mom.  I found that out first hand over the last three months.  So, though I am sad to leave my job after such a short time, I could never be sad to be with my children full time.   It is not easy to be “just a mom” but it is a blessing and, for me-- it is what’s best. 


  1. It seems to me that all of the pluses that you list about your job (doing something you're good at, accomplishing something, being validated) are already being carried out in your decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I would imagine that maybe my mom often felt that way. We never had enough money, I'm sure we all displayed our share of "attitude" at times, and I guess maybe there were things that didn't get done. But what I remember is that she was there and we had a very stable life together. And...she turned out three kids who grew into three pretty good adults!

    1. Sr. Ann Marie- It seems silly that I did not see it- but you are right, of course. Being home with my children, it is sometimes hard to SEE that I am doing something well and accomplishing something. It is hard to FEEL successful each day as I toil in my home, whereas at work there was positive feedback and thank yous during every shift. At home, I don't always get that. But, when I take the time to step back and notice the simple moments- it IS all there.

      You were very blessed to have a mom who was always there for you. I thank God that He is allowing me (gently leading me) to do the same for my children.

      Blessings to you, Kari

  2. Kari,

    Just a mom? You are a very special mom!

    I once had a very busy and fulfilling life as a breastfeeding counsellor and trainer. I studied and held various positions in the organisation as my skills increased. I received a lot of feedback on just how well I was doing and how much I was valued as a counsellor. Then one day I realised I needed to spend more time with my children and I resigned. Like you, it was a tough decision. Who was going to make me feel valued? I was so silly having these worries. I never missed counselling and all the praise. My children smile at me and ask for hugs. They tell me I a beautiful. What more could a mother want? I am sure you know what I mean!

    Maybe in the future you will use all those skills you have accumulated by working outside the home. They will still be there waiting. In the meantime I hope you feel at peace being a full time mother. You could still write your novels in your quiet time!

    You have just written a blog post. Does this mean you are back to blogging here?? Btw, I love your new family book blog.

    God bless!

    1. Sue-

      Thank you for your words of encouragement. I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed my work outside the home and how hard it was to leave it behind. But, at the same time, I know my children will not be little forever and will someday move away to have families of their own. I really do not want to miss out on any of this precious time with them.

      I have decided, though, since I will be home more- I will try to make the time to write. I want to commit to at least an hour of writing each day. So, yes, I am back to my blog and will be working on some fiction ideas I have too. I guess, I just couldn't stay away long. I know you can relate. There is something about the written word that just draws me in......:)

      Thank you for always supporting me and reminding me that I am good at some things-- the ones that matter most!

      With love and blessings, Kari



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