Discontent (n): a sense of grievance: dissatisfaction: restless aspiration for improvement.
What is it about the human spirit that never seems to be satisfied? Why is it that I’m always looking for, and wanting, more? Why am I not content with what I have?
This has become a sincere struggle of mine as of late. I find myself mulling over this concept of contentment and struggling with why I’m having such a hard time lately. I’ve had many discussions with friends, sisters, and my mom regarding this and truth be told, I have no answers. I’ve just come to the root of my discontent.
From the moment they laid that sweet baby girl in my arms four and a half years ago, my biggest desire was to be home with her. I struggled through the first weeks of Devyn’s life, vacillating between baby blues and learning my new role as a mother. But the rest of my 12-week maternity leave was wonderful; I learned the intricacies of my new vocation and loved this little girl that I had been gifted with.
When it came time to return to work, it was not without many tears. I remember standing at the doorway to our bedroom, Jon and Devyn were cuddled on the bed, and I had just packed the diaper bag for her first day at my parents’ house. The bag felt so weighted, like it weighed 20 pounds instead of two. I was devastated, completely distraught at the idea of my baby spending nine hours away from me. I remember Jon looking at me in horror, wondering how to calm and soothe his sobbing wife. I repeated over and over that I just couldn’t do it, but in my heart, I knew that I had no choice. Jon and I vowed then and there, that one day, I would be home more often. And that was a goal we worked towards diligently.
The same onslaught of emotions consumed me when it was time to return to work after Hudson’s birth. At the merest mention of work, or concern, I’d burst into tears and was inconsolable as I hugged him tighter to my chest. I can’t begin to explain the weight of those emotions; I just know that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. This time around we were in the process of buying a house and any drastic changes to my employment meant the difference between our own place and my parents’ basement. I knew I could handle it for a few more months.
Within two months after closing, I was finally realizing part of my dream and working part-time. It was divine having those hours every morning! I didn’t have to be at work until 11:00am and Devyn, Hudson, and I made the most of that time together.
Then we discovered our surprise pregnancy with Reagan and we knew that I couldn’t possibly work that many hours with three children. And yet, we still needed some of my income and insurance benefits. After weighty discussions, prayers, and trust, my job finally agreed to a job-share situation, and the perfect working schedule. In fact, I never even had to face the possibility of full-time work after maternity leave. I went straight into working two and a half days a week! This is the most any baby of mine has had me around, and I can already feel the difference in Reagan, in our home life, and in the post-partum recovery.
Here is where my discontent comes into play and I’m trying to reconcile these feelings, but I’m not there yet. I once prayed fervently over my first- and second-born that I would do anything, be happy in any situation, if only God would help us find a way that I could be home more. I couldn’t imagine feeling more fulfilled and happier with a part-time position, knowing that those extra hours were going into our home life.
You all think I’m going to say that I’m discontent with being a part-time, stay-at-home-mom, don’t you?
Nothing could be further from the truth. My discontent now lies in the fact that I’m not home full-time! The days that I’m home with my beautiful babes, are heart-warming days to be sure. I finally feel like I’m being more pro-active in their upbringing years, in the housework, in the amount of time that I get to play with them. I love having a clean (or mostly clean) home when Jon comes home, I love knowing that dinner is cooking and waiting to be served. I never thought I’d be this woman, but not only am I embracing it, I truly find joy in it!
Each morning that I wake up and have to go back to work, it’s with a sense of discontentment. It’s not that I don’t love my coworkers, because I do. It’s not that I’m not thankful for my part-time job, because I am. I am eternally thankful that they allowed me a way to continue making what I make and doing what I do, while balancing that with more time at home. Then, why do I feel discontent with it? What happened? Why is part-time suddenly not good enough? Am I being unthankful? Truth be told, I’m feeling a bit like a spoiled brat, who got exactly what she wanted but now it’s not good enough.
And so I wrestle with my thoughts and with my feelings. In the mean time, I’m praying for a better attitude, I am willing myself to find contentment on these days, and I’m hoping that my heart catches up with my mind soon. We’ll see…