Taking the year off

So, I decided I’m taking next year off.

Off from what, you ask? Off from everything that brings me away from home too much. You see, I tend to be happiest when I’m doing “homey” things. As much as I tease, I truly do enjoy being a stay-at-home mom and housewife (not that you can tell from the current state of my home). I feel the most at peace when I am doing things that benefit my family, although those moments are few and far between. The outside stuff distracts me, then I get stressed out and cranky, but I keep going back for more distractions. And no, I’m not going into hermit-hiding. At least, not any more than I already am.

Over the last few years, I’ve tossed some of my own ambition into the housewife mix. I built a successful direct sales business. I brought in some income, earned some trips, made some new friends…. All of these things are wonderful, but they took me away from home. They made me feel “important”, but they also significantly increased my stress. When I set goals, I expect to reach them, even when it means working more and more and being home less and less. Now, I’m not saying that personal ambitions are bad. In fact, I’m in a bit of a limbo at this point. Since deciding that I’d rather focus on my family and home, I have no goal for myself. No ambition. No direction. That’s not good for me either. The trick, I think, is finding a goal that is related to home or to me personally, and not related to any outside focus. In this season, I need to be wife and mom more than I need to be successful at an outside undertaking – and that is really hard for me to admit.

I crave a simpler life. I want homemade meals with real food. I need less stuff in my house. I want to create memories. I want to learn to garden and to play guitar. I want to practice my art. I want to read to my kids more often. I want more time to relax and enjoy life. (I honestly don’t know how to relax, just ask Hubby. One night I had the whole house to myself and decided to reorganize all the the hand-me-down bins of clothes in the basement. That is what I chose to do to “relax”. Granted, I did it with a big glass of wine, but still. Sigh.)

My kids are getting older and I want to be a part of their everyday – not just trudging through to get to bedtime. I want more patience. I want less stress. I want to learn to be content and enjoy this season of life. I know there will be hard days and hard times. I know not every minute of every day will be enjoyable. But I want to be around for all of them – and not just physically. I may be home most days now but I can tell you I’m rarely present. I’m always finding ways to distract myself from real life – in fact I’m quite certain I’m addicted to the distractions. If I don’t make some changes, I’ll look back and realize how much I missed even though I was here all along.

So, maybe that means stepping away from “work” for a while, or making changes that allow me to work almost exclusively from home. Maybe that means we will step on the homeschool path I seem to be gazing upon. Maybe that means something else entirely. But for now, it means taking a step back and a deep breath. Now it means I need space and quiet to listen, truly listen, to what it is I need to be doing – or not doing.

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