My Polaroid Photograph Life

My life is confusing for me right now.

I’m beginning my role a lunchroom aide/playground monitor at my kids’ school today. It’s 1.5 hours every day. Smack in the middle of my “me time” while the kids are at school. I keep reminding myself of why I’m doing this. The school needs me. My kids want me there. I have the time. It’s not going to be much longer that my kids are excited about me being at their school. I can get to know the teachers and the students.

But my thoughts keeps going back to my old job. The affirmation I felt there. The way I felt important and necessary. The title. The office. The prestige. I loved that job.

It all sounds so shallow but if I’m being honest, I really liked all that shallow stuff. All that worldly acclaim. And the fact that I chose to give it up, instead of having it taken from me in a restructure, is hard because I keep thinking I didn’t have to do that. I didn’t even feel like God told me to. I just did it on a whim, with the idea that with more space in my life, I might discover something more. About myself? About God? Who knows?

On a daily basis I spin between self-focus when I’m spending my time doing something for myself like exercising or reading or writing and self-condemnation for a lack of “productivity.” I question my purpose. One minute I feel super connected and present during a walk or coffee with a friend and then the next minute totally disconnected and untethered with the lack of structure and routine. Or expectation.

This is a weird season of life for me.

I have no way of measuring my success on an average day. All the things I used to look to – blog posts written, web pages built, feedback from co-workers, meetings attended, things checked off my task list, emails deleted – none of that happens anymore. I have no way of assessing whether I was a success or a failure each day. At the end of the day I have no accomplishments to look at and say “I did that.”

In my head I know being present for my kids during this season is important. It’s probably affecting our relationship down the road, and even the trajectory of their future, how they view the world, me, God, other people etc. Those are big things. I know it’s a long game, but to not have any short term measure of evaluation is really, really hard.

I can see the appeal of being career focused, even as a mom. I recognize the focus and purpose and structure it gives to daily life. Without it, I feel lost at sea.

And I’m also dealing with the question of whether, once this season is done, I’ll actually be able to jump back into a career. Or in giving that up, did I exit that road for good? Am I simply destined from here on out to fill the role of Trophy Wife? (But let’s be honest … I’m more like a Participation Ribbon Wife.)

I know what I’m doing right now is important. I know my worth is not in question. I know the purpose of this time will appear with time, like a polaroid picture where the image emerges slowly over time and only becomes clear later, looking back on it.

But right now the photo is still all white.

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