It was one of those magical days that come between Christmas and New Years. The 3rd day of Christmas to be exact. The family was all together, the gifting and cooking and church going was complete and kids and parents alike were in holiday happiness. A short trip was scheduled over to the cabin where fireside chats, woodland walks, and evening games would ensue with neighbors.
On our family road trips, sometimes an older teen, to the interest of those present, will open up like a March blooming camellia and start talking. This is notable because traveling teens have ear buds in and screens going. True interaction will come after a coffee stop or a gas station break. The officious teen will lead a robust discussion in the tight space of a vehicle traveling at 65 mph. “Is Wal-Mart better than Target?” “Does Global Warming really come from cow farts?” and “Has Homeschooling scarred me for life?” are a few of our most recent, vital topics. Most everyone in the large SUV will participate in these conversations, although at times they can get overly intense. On this occasion, it was my 21 year old who was speculating on the future.
“And, do you want your wife to stay at home with the kids?” asked a younger son to the older.
“Well, she doesn’t have to. I want her to be a successful person. But, if staying home is what she wants to do, I’ll support it. ”
The bomb had dropped. It dropped on me like a rotten peach in a gusty Georgia thunderstorm. It was the word successful that flattened me.
The others continued on with the conversation, but my mind drifted inward. Looking out at the barren trees and slick highway, I contemplated the comment: “I want my wife to be a successful person.” Well there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I want his wife to be successful too. I want everyone to be successful. But, somehow this comment mirrored back.
What is success? And, do I need to be doing something outside the home to be successful?
Can a modern woman, who spends 20 + years raising and homeschooling children rather than pursuing a career outside the home be considered successful? Is raising children a worthy career?
These questions welled up inside me.
“I’m going to get my resume done this year,” I thought.
I didn’t say anything for awhile and the conversation moved onto another topic, like “Was Fidel Castro a fascist or a communist?”
“This conversation isn’t about me,” I wagered silently and was able to keep my mouth shut. My boys will figure out how to run their own families.
I would like to tell you that I figured it all out that day and that all is well with my psyche. I could also sit here with my laptop and my cup of tea and tell you that there is a Bible verse somewhere that tells me I’m doing the right thing. But, that is not the point of this post. The point is that I still struggle with my identity and my role in this world. I wrangle with being important or successful. I grapple with being a quality role model for my daughter. And, the truth is, I’ll probably continue this tussle until I get on the other side of this child-rearing season. After all, there are lovely women in my family who manage to effectively juggle both career and motherhood. I will have to see them and hear their praises. The point is, I have to get “cool” with what I am doing and not worry about what others think or do. I’ve got to see my glass as full. I was supposed to do that in my 20’s! But, alas, here we are three decades later, still chipping away. Maybe, 2017 will be different. This is the hope we have at the beginning of something new: that we can change and grow and do things better! It is the hope we have in Jesus: That He will prepare us in His good timing!
Happy New Year to each of you! May it be blessed with peace and joy and new beginnings!