Friday, January 13, 2012

A New Phase in Life

When I got pregnant with Kate I was an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant.  I had been desperate to get MANAGEMENT on my resume, and I was willing to work whatever job I could get that would pay me enough and get me there.  So, I ended up in fast food.  I don't really even eat fast food.  I discovered I was pregnant because my first symptom was that I literally thought I was going crazy.  It didn't seem that far off for me.  I was working 6 scheduled 10 hour shifts a week, plus driving where ever they needed me floating between stores up to an hour away.  I worked the opening shift, so I was going to bed at 8 pm to be at work at 4:30 am.

After 6 months of being pregnant and working that schedule I was just about done.  Because of the strain on my body (60 hours a week of being on my feet with no real breaks during the day) and the stress of working fast food my doctor advised me to quit for the sake of my pregnancy.

At that time God had already laid on my heart to stay at home with my new baby.  I'm glad He spoke so strongly to me, because it made it easier when I just wanted to take things over and make our life happen the way I thought it should.  I'm good at working, bordering on workaholic... John is... on island time.  The control freak in me would go nuts sitting by and doing nothing while John did things the way he knew how.

It was an incredible time of learning for me.  Learning patience, learning that God provides, learning that I can trust John, learning to be a mom, learning to be still, to be alone.

About 9 months ago John asked me to consider working some.  Now, he didn't go about this quite the right way and it was NOT well received.  I felt like I was failing at staying at home with the kids and John asking me to work felt like him agreeing with me.  But after he got his foot out of his mouth he explained that what he'd like was for us to determine what our family wants, what we need, and then go for it.  Take everything off of the table and start over with deciding what works for us as a family.  What works, what doesn't.  Re-evaluate everything.

So then, I decided I could work part-time.  John was going to school full-time and had been working part-time while I stayed at home.  I offered for him to stay at home with the kids while I took on a part time job, but I put in a ton of safety nets.  I told him I needed to be able to come home if it wasn't working for me.  I thought getting out more would be good for me (hello!  extrovert here!), but I was REALLY attached to my stay at home mom identity.

The perfect job popped up working at this amazing little French inspired bakery/cafe less than 2 miles from me.  I was... awkward the first few weeks.  I'll be honest, my problem solving skills had taken a dive after hanging out with tiny people all day.  I yelled at a co-worker, not just a co-worker, but my boss's brother.  So embarrassing, I had to apologize profusely and I still couldn't get over how unprofessional that was.  I had to remember what it was like to be out in the real world... apparently there was a learning curve.

It was really ideal.  I still FELT like a stay at home mom, but I also got to be around people and try on some old skills that had been totally dormant.  Like... thinking.  LOL...  then we got to a place where we NEEDED my income, which I thought we wouldn't.  So, I started thinking about how I could get more money working the same number of hours.  So, I started applying to upscale restaurants, planning to do just a few nights a week earning tips and then my normal hours at the cafe. But then, the bakery started doing amazing.  They got a huge account and then they asked me to work more.  So, I was looking at more hours, which would've made it hard to wait tables also.  So, I turned down the extra hours but told them that if they needed to take my hours to give to the new person, that I completely understood because at that point I'd been hired on to work dinners at the high end restaurant I'd been looking for.

The restaurant I'd gotten hired on at told me dinners were fine, and I wouldn't have to work lunches, and that they'd put me on the schedule after the new year.  So I finished up with the bakery December 23rd on good terms, and just relaxed with the family through the holidays.  Money was tight, but I had a job all lined up, so I wasn't worried.  You know, until I called after the new year.  And apparently not working lunches wasn't okay, and the whole situation was no null and void.

That's when I figured out that my faith might not have been in God after all, but in my and John's ability to provide for ourselves.  I had a huge panic attack, and spent all of that day applying to every job I thought I might stand a chance at.  Even looking beyond what I felt like I wanted to do.  I figured with John and I both out looking for work something was bound to happen.  And it did.  Quickly.  That was a Wednesday.  On Saturday I got called and had a phone interview that went amazing, then on Monday I had a lunch interview to follow up the first one, and by Tuesday I had received an offer to be the general manager at a new cafe opening in Rogers.

After my amazing interview on Saturday I kind of panicked.  Was I ready to go back to work full time? Would my family be able to survive without me?  Was I capable?  Could I really do this?  Was this best for the entire family?  For my marriage?  Was this changing my role because I wasn't trusting in God and responding to crisis mode?

John and I sat down and discussed all of these things, and the more we talked, the more I talked with those closest to me, the more we prayed and were prayed for, the more peace I felt about it.  On Sunday night I listened to an audio management book and realized that I could learn what I didn't know.  It inspired me to sit down and write out what I wanted to do with the store to present at my interview on Monday, and I really think that instilled the confidence I needed to really do this.

So, I start Wednesday!  I'm in charge of hiring 12 people straight off, so if you're local and reading this and know someone good, please let me know :)  I love staff development, hiring and training were always my favorite parts of managing.  I'm excited for the challenge.  I'm excited to work for a Christian who offered me flexibility and the understanding that my family comes first.  I'm excited to do something that I know I'm really really good at, even if I haven't used those skills in such a long time.  I'm excited to see John get to grow in relationship with the kids as he stays home.  I'm excited for God's provision for our family.

Please, if you think of it, pray for our family as we transition.  There will be a lot of new things in life, and not all of them will be peachy and perfect, we're going to have to adapt.  Thanks for the love and support we've gotten so far in this.  :)


KC said...

I just love you. The part about is this still God, or is this us being too worried and freaking out...we have all been there!

Anonymous said...

You really are as amazing, smart, and talented as l thought you were those years ago--i believe you were still pregnant with kate. It's definitely not a bad thing to be proud of your self. xoxo

lindsaybrooke said...

Tracy, thank you for sharing all of this. I love reading your open and honest process as you decided things. I am asking similar questions with my photography business... Trying to be open to God about what it should look like, if only for a season... We will see!

Kathy said...

By the now need to change your blog profile! ;-) You are no longer 'a stay at home mom'. You're amazing and I love you! Mom

Kathy said...

By the now need to change your blog profile! ;-) You are no longer 'a stay at home mom'. You're amazing and I love you! Mom

Tracy said...

I'm a full time stay at home Mom for 3 more days ;)

Tracy said...

I love you too Kari, it's so fun having so many things in common to talk about with you :) I'm happy to call you family!

Tracy said...

Thanks Patti, you're so sweet :) You and Marc are so strong, you're very inspirational, even from afar.

Tracy said...

I know a lot of moms probably feel how I've felt. On and off I've wondered if it was time to go back to work, but so often it felt like I was trying to force it and that it was only best for me. There's so much guilt in staying at home, not staying at home, just not being the 100% perfect mother all the time. I like that you're still out there keeping your skills sharp and doing an amazing job with your work, even if on a smaller scale than what you know you could do. The best part is that no matter what choices we make, if it's not good for our families, we can always do something different. Which just makes me breathe a sigh of relief :)

Erin said...

This sounds so much like where we are now, only I'm the one trying to figure out if becoming a stay at home mom is God, or us trying to take control of things. *sigh* Thanks for sharing!