EUsing the air travel analogy, this time last year I was a flight attendant. In fact, I had been a flight attendant (remember this is a word picture) for sixteen years, diligently taking care of my passengers and my hot pilot. Snack cart fully stocked, I cheerfully passed out treats, drinks, and occasionally a barf bag for the sick. I knew my job. I could recite the whole oxygen mask and seat belt thing in my sleep. My passengers loved me.
Then it happened. Totally unexpected. I was transferred. Not to a new plane or different flight itinerary. Nope. I now work in air traffic control!
No more familiar routine.
Good-bye snack cart.
Good-bye seat-back trays and overhead bins.
Now instead of taking care of my passengers, I direct their flights and in my free time I fly the planes too. Oh, did I mention that I’m now a pilot too? Crazy, I know.
Stop. Analogy over. Let’s talk.
Last year I was taking care of our home, six children, and Hot Pastor. Full load I thought. I did find time to exercise and write as well as lead our children’s ministry at our church.
I did things like run errands without children, bake muffins for their breakfast, and get the car washed. I knew how to do it. I could make a menu and even show other ladies how to do the same. I paid the bills and had coffee with friends.
Then it happened. I became a Special Education Teacher. A working mom.
The other day, this whole analogy came to me as I sat at the orthodontist with one child, texting Hot Pastor who was home recovering from surgery, while another mom picked up Mini Me from cross country practice and yet another gave Sweet Boy a ride to football. I left the orthodontist in time to pick up Distracted Son from practice before going to Tall Girl’s volleyball game. I direct traffic. I make flight plans.
Lately I feel like I manage the lives of my family without living it with them. I am here to make sure that all passengers get to their destination and that no one crashes and burns.
I miss the passengers in my plane. I miss going to every destination with them.
You wanna know the funny part? The airline couldn’t find someone to replace me so I have to figure out how to be a flight attendant from the control tower.
My snack cart has suffered. Running low on pretty much everything. My passengers have to rummage through their carry-ons in hope of finding a pack of crackers from the last flight. My uniform needs ironing and I’m not quite as bubbly. My passengers still need drinks, peanuts, and pillows. They still have questions about the flight. Hot Pilot still depends on my to keep everyone calm and comfortable.
But how? How can I keep all of the planes in the air, fly one myself, and pass out peanuts?
Those two little words may fly in the face of all those women who put their faith in the whole “Super Woman” myth, but it’s true. I can’t do it all.
I am new to the whole working mom scene, but from my short experience it is no cake walk!
Not only am I still fighting off mommy guilt, but now work guilt has starting picking fights with me. I literally walk out the door reminding myself out loud, “I have six children.”
No matter what anyone says, or what titles sit on the shelves in book stores, I still believe the wise words of Hot Pastor, “We can not add anything. We can only replace something.” When we take on something new in life, we have to let go of something.
When I started working full time, expectations that I had of myself had to go. Thinking that I could work full time and maintain our home as I did before and keep the same gym schedule and have time to blog every day would be nuts! But I tried. Fail.
The truth is that I can not be at every school party, game, and appointment. I can not stay as late as some teachers at work. I can not be a room mom or a team mom. I can not bake muffins on school mornings. I can not lead children’s ministry. I can not blog daily.
Not the message you hoped for today?
Let me tell you what I can do. I can trust the one who gave me these roles as mom and teacher. I can seek his wisdom as I decide how to spend my time. I can listen for his expectations instead of the unrealistic ones of my culture. I can be present for my family when I’m with them. I can be okay with not doing it all. I can walk past the mess on the floor to my Sweet Son who needs me to read to him. I can walk away from lesson plans to watch Tall Girl play volleyball.
I get it working moms. I’m in it and still seeking the Lord and his expectations. I’m still trying to figure out how to find margin and stay healthy in the midst of taking care of everyone.
This is what the Lord showed me this week.