Ever feel like you’re doing things backwards? I certainly do. Especially when it came to my decision to leave work to spend more time with my young family.
To most others, almost having both of your children in school would signal the right time to start ramping up your career again.
I’d been sitting on the sidelines for close to 10 years working a part time job since having my first baby. A job that offered me the flexibility to be with my children but still keep one foot in the employment door of opportunity.
Then along came the chance of taking up a full time role and promotion I had been dreaming off. With one child in school and another set to start the following year it all seemed to be falling into place.
Except it didn’t.
After six months of rushing, stressing and trying to cram everything in, to keep everything going, it all came crashing down.
The first sign of wear started to show and painfully it wasn’t me that broke first, it was my eldest daughter. Severe anxiety and panic attacks began to take hold of my usually confident girl and it was a horrible experience to watch. I can’t imagine what it was like for her! I did my best to support and help her along the way, but it was a mum’s worst nightmare.
We persevered for another six months. Then I also started to outwardly show signs of my own stress and fatigue as my body announced ‘no way, no more’.
Illnesses that I couldn’t shake, severe rosacea on my face, my own anxiety developing to point I felt like throwing up.
It was time to wave the white flag. It was time to refocus and put first what really mattered the most.
Me. My husband. My girls.
Yes, it was time to move off the sidelines just not in the direction many others expected. But it didn’t matter what others thought because it felt right for me and it felt right for my family.
That was two years ago now and so much has changed in that time.
My girls are growing so fast and I have learned that each stage in their development brings its own joys and challenges … plenty of challenges!
We have also added another beautiful daughter to our family – an unexpected but delightful blessing that was so obviously meant to be.
It hasn’t all been easy, there have been some rather difficult times and some major adjustments to be made, many of which we are still working our way through right now, but I feel more tolerant, more focused and am able to take these in my stride most days.
Weathering the bad storms no matter how long they last usually means there are better conditions ahead. So in the meantime, I just keep putting up my umbrella and raincoat to ride it out as best I can until the calmer times arrive.
I’m glad I pushed aside other people’s expectations to follow my own path because sometimes you have to step backward to move forward. I know that was certainly the case for me.