“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3 (NIV)
One night, several months ago, I was tucking our four-year-old into bed and lovingly told him how much I enjoyed it. “That’s my job…one of my favorite jobs,” was my reply. Fast forward to a different night last week when he repeatedly got out of bed for silly reasons, each time asking me, “tuck me in again. mommy.” I must have sighed exasperatedly because he replied, with the kind of impish smile only a four-year-old can give, “But, mom, that’s your job. Your favorite job. You said so.” As I tickled his belly and spread a million kisses on his neck, pulling the covers up to his chin for the millionth time, I replied, “Yes, a job I love but not ten million times in one night.” He laughed his big belly laugh, I smiled, and we both went to bed happy.
This year has started out crazy busy with extra deadlines, multiple snow days, and schedules that have been anything but scheduled. I won’t allow life to get in the way of me spending time with my Heavenly Father since I can’t do life successfully without first getting strength from Him. I also don’t ever want to get so busy that I forget my most important earthly job – to be the best wife and mother I can possibly be. There will be seasons when I will have to work harder and longer and get more creative with my free time, but I don’t ever want my kids, and especially not my husband, to think work ever takes the place of spending time with them.
My husband and I had a conversation about these strong beliefs while we were engaged. I had the choice to take one of two jobs: A job with less income but more personal satisfaction since it aligned with my gifts and talents or a job with more income potential but had nothing to do with anything I enjoyed. I remember telling him that I would never allow a job to take the place of being the best wife and mother I could. I also issued him this challenge: If he ever saw that happening to please let me know and I would quit, taking a different job to help pay the bills but keep my focus where it needed to be: As a wife and mother first. Five years after accepting the job I loved, I turned in my resignation because, for me, I knew I couldn’t continue to be effective in that career without neglecting my family. Others have the personality to handle both very well, but knowing my limitations, I knew I needed to make a change to keep my family a higher priority than my employment.
God blessed that personal decision and I’ve been able to help with the income while working from home the last decade. Sometimes it feels crazier trying to juggle three kids and at one point three jobs from home then leaving the work behind in an office at the end of the day, but I wouldn’t trade it. God has me where He wants me and I get the privilege of raising our family while contributing to our income.
It makes my heart happy to know my four-year-old knows where his mom’s priorities lie, even, or especially, if it means tucking him in a million-and-one times in one night.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014