This image was so easy to take because it feels so natural to me. Behind a computer. I feel like it’s the last connection for me to be able to be in “my stride” and still be in “my callings”.
I’m a full-time stay at home mom.
I’m a full-time home school mom of 5 kids ages 11 and under. (4 of them are old enough for school and I teach them.)
I’m 50% single mom due to the nature of my husband’s career.
And, I’d bet most people, even the ones who would never even dream doing any of that themselves, would at least say something like “I don’t know how you do it.” in an effort to applaud my survival in such circumstances.
My truth is that I didn’t have five kids because I had always dreamt of it. Not because I love babies and pregnancy, None of that. I have five kids because the night before our second child was born, I spoke words that opened up a doorway for the Lord to grow my faith in gigantic ways.
What did I say, you ask? In response to my husband asking me “How would you take it if you have a c-section tomorrow?”, I replied: “I’d take it as a sign from God that we aren’t supposed to have any more children.
Before we go any further, can I tell you that, since that time in my life, I try very hard to avoid putting God’s stamp on a thought I have without checking with him first? After I recovered from that surgery and a big move, God began to speak to my heart about trusting him with our family size. And I could checkmark some of the points:
– Birth Control makes me sick
– When I really stopped to inspect the reasons I’d choose our family size, all of them were rooted in either selfishness on my part or fear on my part. None of them required me to stretch my faith muscle.
But also at that time, the only family most people knew about that type of thinking had 18 kids.
Over the next five years, I’d have 3 more children and it would be a rollercoaster of peace and terror in my mind. My husband would be on board with trusting God and if I’m honest, to this day, he would agree to another baby if I heard a whisper from Heaven on the matter.
Trough those years, I also had a strong impression from the Lord about our children’s education. Like the family planning, there were points I could get behind:
– Our son needed to see my husband more than 16 hours a month (2 hours a day during the 8 days his daddy was home)
– I wasn’t sure that during the seven hours my son would be away, he would thrive quite like he could at home. He had done mother’s day out programs and always needed more than what his “age group” curriculum offered.
So, we tried it and it worked well for us. But, can I tell you that it’s hard? Can I tell you that while I know I was made for and called to being their mom and teacher, I also feel like I was made for even more?
I recently took the enneagram test after strongly avoiding it simply because I was so annoyed with “the crowd’s” seeming obsession with it.
I found out, I am a “2”. The Helper. And from the moment that I began to read more about my type and people like me, the more things began to click and the more guilt washed right on off of my shoulders.
When my second child was in my tummy, I began making tutus and bows. My bows were the worst ever and when I moved to South Carolina, I learned quickly what real bow looked like. It wasn’t long before I started selling my bows and tutus on social media. (That sounds fancy. It was Facebook. I don’t even think Instagram was a “thing” yet.)
My other twos will hear me when I say that I started selling them because I truly wanted other moms on a hard-line budget to be able to put their girls in cute boutique items without having to stare at the price tag and bow out. Nobody’s girl was going to miss out on the trends on my watch. The problem was, I sold everything for cost or less than cost. But, just like I enjoyed working the register at the school products store I worked for in high school, I LOVED the interaction online with moms shopping with me. I’d take all kinds of custom orders and making people happy felt amazing to me.
Sadly, people are also hard to take sometimes and I decided I would hang up my ribbon and tulle in 2012 to enjoy my 3rd pregnancy.
In 2013, when I had unexpected baby number four and she was terribly ill, I was introduced to a product that was sold under the Multi-Level Marketing (or network marketing or brand rep or social marketing) business model. The following March, when I decided to tell all of Facebook how much this product had helped my daughter, they knew I was telling the truth because I had shared her entire journey.
And just like that, I had a new business. I was helping so many people every day. I would look up their questions and give product related options. I’d pray for them on the phone as they shared their need for better health and quality of life. I’d be on the phone sometimes 4-5 hours a day.
I could see the concern from my husband, but he filled in where I was stepping out a bit to grow what seemed to have fallen into my hands. If God gave it to me, I was going to water it and speak kindly to it as faithfully as possible, and after a while, we found our stride. I helped people, I helped them learn how to help people too. The glorious part was that moms were helping moms in this underground conversation and everyone got to feel better and also build businesses. They got to interact with other adults regularly with a purpose beyond a glass of wine and the latest episode of reality TV.
It. was. awesome! I felt so fulfilled. I felt in balance. All areas of my life felt like they were working so well together.
And then I met the shamers. The people who hit “block” if you sell anything using social platforms as the avenue as if somehow a marketing team derived Target ad on the side of the screen isn’t bad, but if I show a picture of my kid 5 years ago and one now, I’m a scammer. The people who wouldn’t choose to save their life with a product simply because of the business model. The mockers and naysayers. I saw the memes. I saw PSAs and open letters “to the girl from high school selling something”.
And it HURT me. It was painful to be made to feel like a scammer or a fraud. It hurt to feel like the thing that I had found that took my hardest places and turned them into the most beautiful story was somehow offensive to others. It blew my mind that I saw people being praised for buying a car or a house or a dog or acquiring more debt, but if I have success in my business, I was somehow bad.
And there was more. The guilt. The comments about being “focused on motherhood first” as if running my business somehow took away from what I was doing in my parenting. As if helping people in front of my kids was wrong. As if them seeing me navigate (wins, losses, and all) owning my own business and educating people on my product would somehow be less “good” for my motherhood checkmark chart.
Then the two in me lost my focus. I got sidetracked trying to please everyone. I began to believe that if I had a slow month, it was because I wasn’t connecting with people. They didn’t like me. They didn’t want me.
Friends, none of that is healthy or true. Being a type 2 can be dangerous when we let the desire to help others make us feel like a loser if our idea of connecting isn’t what turns out. And I’m here to say with confidence and peace:
I love being a mom. I love homeschooling. I love educating others about my products. I love owning my business. I love connecting online because adult interaction is sanity. I’m lonely without it because our lifestyle is different and I don’t get to see as many friends in person as moms who live differently than I do. I love my callings AND my stride. I love creativity and helping others and it’s possible and okay to do all of the things I was gifted to do.
There are no rules to doing life or motherhood “right”. Even a perfect two cannot please everyone. We all only get one go around this life and I want to slide into home thanking God for all of the inspirations he gave me to try my hand at.
I hope that for you too.