What’s Next?

Figuring out life as a stay at home mom

I’ve written before about how I recently resigned from my part time job to stay home with my daughter. I made the transition slowly: moving from full time to part time after her birth, and then leaving part time after a year. I’m not one to make big decisions quickly. I’m good at making decisions, but I need to know the facts beforehand. I didn’t know if I would like being home all the time or if I would miss my work too much.

Fact: I like being home all the time.

Fact: I miss my work. But not too much.

When I put in my notice one of my colleagues asked me, “What’s next?” I looked at her blankly and said “This. Being a mom. Staying at home. This is my next.”

Fact: I always thought I would have some other work lined up before I quit my job.

Fact: I believe being a stay at home mom is a job. A holy, wonderful work.

The problem is that I don’t know if this is the only work I’m called to do. I’ve always had a passion for creative projects, and while I was never brave enough to leave my 9-to-5 to pursue a creative endeavor, I felt that my transition to mothering would be a perfect time to find my creative calling.

Fact: I don’t know what that is yet. And not for lack of options.

I’m struggling with too many options. I have interests and skill sets and I’m not sure how to put them together. Or even if I need to put them together for another purpose than mothering and homemaking right now. I asked my husband which course to pursue, as an opportunity to follow one path recently opened up. “Whatever makes you happy,” he says in his most loving way.

Fact: I don’t know what will make me happy.

Fact: I’m already happy.

When I open my calendar and see blank days spread out like little empty boxes…I breathe a sigh of relief. I love this flexibility. I love being able to say yes to hospitality and helping others and changing our plans at the drop of the hat. I love the slow and meandering days. I love asking daughter “what’s next?” and being able to follow her lead to the park or the pool or another round of reading books.

And I keep questioning if this is enough? Should I put more in the calendar? Will I be sad in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, if I didn’t go after opportunities for creative pursuits right now? Or will I be glad that I gave mothering my all and put my creative needs into baking cakes and building castles and writing blog posts during naptime?

Fact: I’m working on being okay in this in-between. Of not knowing. Of still wondering: “What’s next?”