I’m so thrilled to host the fabulous and talented Michelle DeRusha on the Working Mom’s Devotional today. Besides being one of my favorite writers, Michelle leads her own blogging community at Graceful and is a wife and mother to two busy boys (including Rowan pictured above who is beating the summer heat with the hose while Michelle tries to write inside!). Her words hit close to this summer. Please see if her voice resonates with you and be sure to visit her at Graceful!
I had big plans. Big, big plans. When I resigned from my part-time job as a communications specialist for Nebraska Public Broadcasting on May 3 to launch a new career as a free-lance writer, I couldn’t wait to get started. I leaped into the challenge head-first, making to-do lists and ticking off goals one by one. I stuck to a rigorous writing schedule and wasn’t even tempted (much) by Facebook and Twitter.
This impressive productivity lasted all of three weeks.
Exactly 21 days after I dove into my new career, my two elementary school-age boys celebrated their last day of school and jumped headlong into summer.
Suddenly, when I set my coffee cup on the desk and pulled my chair in toward my laptop each morning, instead of hearing the beginning of a story stir, I heard this: “Mommy….what can I dooooooo?” (a question repeated no fewer than 427 times a day).
Suddenly, instead of a block of several hours in which I mulled over the perfect metaphors, edited an entire chapter and wrote 1,000 words, I snapped up 40 minutes to slap together a 400-word blog post while the kids played Super Mario Bros. on the Wii.
I was not pitching new projects. I was not querying magazine editors with story ideas. I was not churning out 1,000 words a day on my manuscript. In fact, I was hardly able to accomplish the bare minimum.
Suffice to say, for the first month or so of summer, this situation made me crabby. I was a crabby mother. A crabby wife. And a crabby writer, anxious about my lack of productivity and lack of income.
After four weeks of epic crabbiness, though, something happened: I gave in. I cut myself some slack. I penned a new set of bare-minimum goals for the rest of the summer. I accepted the simple fact that for 10 weeks out of the year, I work from home in the company of two young children. And I embraced the reality that these weeks will not be among my most productive…at least when it comes to my job.
In short, I realized that there is a time and a season for everything:
“A time to plant and a time to harvest…A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones…A time to keep and a time to throw away.” (Ecclesiastes 3:2, 5, 6)
I may not harvest many words this summer. It may feel a bit like I am scattering fruitless stones. But I know when I close my laptop and head to the backyard with the boys, this work time I abandon is also a time to keep. And I don’t get to keep this time with them for long.