I remember, after I had 3 children, I needed to do some soul-searching and life-changing. Out of necessity, I had grown a hobby into a business. I was still at home all week, but I would fit "work" into times when my husband was home...on a week night or a weekend. It was a lucrative business, and it helped so much during the years when we needed it to. (I did faux painting and murals for interior designers and clients.) I worked hard at both jobs...being at home and painting...taking care of my kids and my clients. I often did samples at nap time, returned phone calls when kids were busy, and met with decorators in the hour or two I would employ a sitter.
It seemed like the dream job because it allowed me to do both things, stay at home and make great money. But the truth was, when my 3rd child came along, I was running myself ragged. Stretching myself thin, trying to do to much. My heart was in one place, my mind in another. It was nice to not have to budget so much, to have extra money for "things", but after awhile I began to realize that I was sacrificing my state of mind and more than ever, my family, my little ones, needed me to have their full attention.
I think when we mothers try to do too much something or someone pays the price. Sometimes it's the kids, sometimes it's the marriage, sometimes it's us. In this case, it was me.
I remember older ladies stopping me in the grocery store and admiring my children and saying,
"Those were the best days of my life."
"What I would do to have those days back."
"It goes so fast. It's gone in a blink of an eye."
I felt at the time, this general malaise in my heart.
I did some soul searching and talked (and probably cried) with Jeff and made the decision that if I would regret anything in life, it would NOT be spending these precious days of raising my children without a feeling of peace. I want to know, when I am that old lady in the supermarket that I spend quiet days, loving and having fun, and learning and NOT missing the small moments. I did not ever, ever want to have regrets. I don't think I could live with myself.
I quit. It just worked out that my last job was a huge one and enabled me to "retire" with confidence. I was proud of the business I grew, but it had served it's purpose and I let it go without a look back. Things were tight again, but I was OK with it. Because the peace in my heart was worth more than anything.
I have found one of the best ways to examine the course of my life is to ask myself, "Will I regret this?" I picture myself in a rocking chair on a front porch, watching my grandchildren, or great grandchildren play on the lawn. Will I look back with peace in my heart? Will I say,"I wish I would have slowed down and savored every moment?" It's not really a fun thing to do, but it always enables me to spit out the right answer. It enables me to stay focused, run against the grain of the times, and enjoy the small moments. It reminds me to stay strong and centered about what I want to believe...that simply raising my children, being a mother and a wife, is enough, when everything we read and hear and see is sending me the opposite message. It helps me establish priorities and to say yes to the things that really count in the end.
Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you. ~John De Paola