Expectations vs Reality in the Life of a Christian Wife and Mother
(21 week photo - note the unpacked boxes in the background which just go to illustrate what I talk about in this post)
I have been blessed. God has blessed me with a career in an amazing company. Not only that, I have been able to work my way up through the company into a position that I am passionate about. I love what I do as a Corporate Recruiter. I love the relationships and trust that I build with my hiring managers as well as the candidates that I hire. I love that the result of my hard work, usually has a positive outcome and that I am able to impact people's lives for the better. That said, I always knew that as a woman with a passion to become a mother, there would come a day when I would have to make a choice between my career and my family. When Adam entered my life, for the first time, I began to seriously contemplate the choices that we would need to make together.
When Adam and I decided to begin trying to become parents, our expectation was that IF we were able to conceive, there would only be one baby. I don't think anyone ever expects quadruplets or that it's something anyone sets out to "achieve". Our intentions were that with one baby, I would go back to work after a regular maternity leave and we would be able find an amazing childcare provider as well as keep up our busy lifestyle. I would be able to manage my career by keeping a strict schedule at the office and working diligently to separate work and home life.
God quickly let me know that He had other plans when he chose us to parent four children all the same age. Nothing about this pregnancy, or our lives is "regular" anymore. With four babies, all expectations go out the window. Seriously, for some (especially myself), it's hard to imagine not being able to plan even some of the most minor things we take for granted. You never know what tomorrow will bring when pregnant with quadruplets. Each night, I thank God for keeping me home and away from bed rest for one more day and I ask him for one more, knowing that eventually, my time will run out. You literally have to take it one day at a time, and sometimes, one hour at a time in such a high-risk pregnancy. I have no reason to think that will change once the babies are actually here.
I also immediately knew that with four babies at once, there wasn't much of an option for me to quit working and become a stay-at-home Mom. Now, even more so, it is important for me to continue to work. Although Adam and I are both blessed with good jobs, he works in an independent sales position that does not offer benefits. My position comes with an array of solid benefits that will help to support our family and are necessary for our family to prosper.
As a Christian woman in today's society, it can be really difficult to keep up with all of life's daily demands. We want to follow the Bible and serve our husbands as well as take care of our family but economic situations often force us out of the home and into the work force. I've sat on the sidelines and watched female leaders in my industry work long-hours due to corporate/society expectations. Some are successful and are (at least on the outside) able to implement a system that works for them, their husband, and their children. Although I expect there are days when they want to do nothing more but pull their hair out and scream at the top of their lungs but I'm pretty sure that comes regardless of one's employment status. Others are not so successful and end up putting in long hours at the office working to climb the corporate ladder to provide for their family only at the cost of watching their families fall apart as the cost for their corporate -success. I've sat back and watched the stay-at-home moms not only struggle with staying on top of managing their households, but also struggle with managing expectations, acceptance, adult friendships, and the general feeling of lack of interaction with other adults. I've read the blogs of other women, glowing in their pregnancy, as they actually leave their careers behind and move on to their new career as a mom/wife. I also see tons of wonderful, creative, beautifully crafted Pinterest ideas (which is an entirely different subject). I'd be lying if I said I wasn't envious of those women who are able to put their entire focus into their family and home. In my heart, I'd love to spend my days caring for my husband, my home, and my children, planning wonderful meals, creating fun, yet educational activities for my children all while caring for and decorating my beautiful home and spending evenings cuddled with my husband on the couch watching movies and lovingly gazing into each other's eyes.
In reality, as I get closer and closer to the time that I go out on leave from my career, and as my pregnancy progresses, I struggle with finding energy at the end of the day to cook a hot meal for my husband, keep up with the laundry, or just push the vacuum across the living room floor. I'm really struggling with trying to determine and prepare for how I will manage once the babies are here. Let me be clear that God has been gracious and blessed me with a strong support system. My husband has picked up lots of my slack around the house, and can often be found running the vacuum, straightening up after me due to my lack of energy, or toting groceries into the house because I can't carry them. My Mom has been amazing and has helped me to keep up with some of my household responsibilities and I have no doubt will be a HUGE help with caring for the babies once they are born. My sweet mother-in-law from out of state has also volunteered her time once the babies are home as well to help us get started with our adventure into parenthood. That said, I have a lifetime ahead of me of managing my career as well as my household. I struggle with wondering how I can find balance between my career and what I can do to serve my husband, take care of my household, financially support my family and still provide my children with a loving, Christian environment to grow up in as well as serve as a role model for my daughters.
I pray every single day that God will go with me and show me the path He wants me to take. I know that God will not give me more than I can handle, but I can't help but think about what life will be like trying to manage a career and keep a strong marriage, all while spending sleepless nights with four crying, hungry babies. I know it won't be easy by any means, but anything worth having doesn't come easy. I just pray that God's grace alone will be enough to get me by.