Almost five years ago, after being a high school English teacher and basketball coach, I decided that living 40 miles from town and wanting to raise a family didn't mix with a long commute and a career. So, I said good-bye to my students, colleagues, and the only identity I'd had since college, and transitioned into being a stay-at-home wife and eventually a mom, when Benjamin Ross was born in April of 2004 and then Allison Lee was born in November of 2006.
The wife stuff was pretty easy when that was all I had to focus on. I could jump on the four-wheeler and zip out to the field to hang out with my husband in the tractor, or sprayer, or combine 'til all hours of the night if I wanted to. Help? Sure honey I can help! One of my favorite things to do was (and still is) to help with the cattle work: moving them, working them, branding them, feeding them. I could get the breakfast dishes done, plan lunch, fiddle around, go outside with Scott, serve lunch, hang out, plan dinner, do the dishes and then spend an evening with my husband, inside or outside if we wanted. The wife stuff was pretty easy to do when that was my only objective.
Now the stay-at-home-mom thing is another story. Laundry! Dishes! Messes! Toys! Potty! Lunch! Dishes! Snacks! Messes! Naps! Potty! Laundry! Messes! This is my life it seems. Did I mention messes? Sometimes I feel like I never get anything done, and that there's no time for anything I want to do. But then I find myself wasting time on things I want to do, rather than on the things I need to do. And then I get frustrated and get into a mood, and then I don't do a great job of either: mom or wife.
Last week, I had a little stint as a substitute freshman basketball coach. I drove to town on Monday, Tuesday and Friday for practice (as well as Wednesday for our church's all-night New Year's Eve party for the youth of the area). Then I had a game on Friday. We also had our older two kids (Haley and Adam) at our house for Christmas break. (Add two more laundries, dishes, and messes to the list). I had a great time! I enjoyed teaching the girls some of the fundamentals of basketball, getting to know a little bit about each of them, telling them what to do, when, and then they actually did it! I also had a great time coaching the game on Saturday. I was a little nervous at first; after all it had been nearly 6 years since I had coached a game. But I found it was like riding a bicycle... it all came back to me in a matter of seconds. ( I even found myself writing the name of my old team and my maiden name in the score book). The best part was that I saw the players working on some of the things we learned in practice, and figuring things out on the floor... We even WON!!! My first-ever season of being undefeated in eleven years of coaching.
And probably the last. Because while sometimes I really fight my head over being home and not getting my ego stroked because I am a cool teacher and coach, I found that I actually enjoy being at home with my kids while they are little, and I really enjoy being at the ranch on a day-to-day basis.
You see, Haley and Adam were just a little older than Ben and Alli are when Scott and I got married. When Haley and Adam come to visit during their various school breaks, I find myself in shock at how much they've grown and matured and changed in the course of their Dad's and my 6-going-on-7 years of marriage. I know that my kids are growing fast--Ben will be in kindergarten this fall--and I'm finding I don't want to miss it. Even those 3 days last week made me miss my time with my kids. And man did I feel disconnected with my husband. No amount of ego-stroking is worth that!
So I've decided that it's time to make peace with the laundry, and the dishes, and the messes, and the lack of "my" time doing what I want to do. Because really, I am doing what I want to do. I'm involved in the growing of our goals on the ranch--taking this wheat and cattle operation and turning it into Scott's and my operation; and in the growing of our children--guiding and disciplining them (hopefully) into people who love the Lord, who love people, and who love the country life.