Updated: Jun 7
Have you ever seen someone try to ride a hoverboard for the first time? Well, actually, have you seen me ride a hoverboard? Even though I feel like a pretty coordinated person, when I hopped on one of those things, I could not get my balance. My kids and husband, Jeff, were laughing at me and worried I was going to get hurt. My body was moving back and forth and I was shaking. It didn’t take me long to realize that balancing wasn’t going to happen.
That’s about how good I am balancing my life.
There isn’t much balance when struggling with chronic illness. You give all your energy to something and then you are too worn out to do anything else.
As my health has improved, I was finally feeling good enough to go back to work. I was blessed to be a stay at home mom while my kids were little, doing freelance graphic design on the side. It was the perfect setup and I was able to spend so much time with my kids while also making extra money. Now my youngest was in first grade and I needed more to fill my day than sitting at home waiting for them to come home. (Sure there was always plenty to do, but with my body still being pretty fragile, I couldn’t do too much physical activity. I couldn’t risk a relapse.)
Getting back to work was a tough decision since my health was still so up and down, but as I prayed about it, I felt like I should start getting my resume out there.
I told my husband in order for me to go back to work, I would have to find the perfect job, with the perfect hours, and perfect pay, which seemed impossible.
There was no way I would find a job that would fit all my needs, but I searched the ads anyway.
After sending out my resume out to a bunch of places, it was time to wait.
Three weeks went by and I was surprised to be sitting in an interview for a graphic design position. Three days later, I got an email saying I got the job. It was the perfect hours, 8am-2pm (while the kids were in school), five days a week, the perfect pay and also offered flexibility. I couldn’t have been more happy and terrified at the same time.
The first week I started working I didn’t feel very good. By the weekend I was feeling pretty bad and came back from Urgent Care with a diagnosis of pnemonia. Because my job was so new, I didn’t want to ask for any time off, but I was so sick, I was forced to. Luckily, when I told my boss I had pnemonia, he was more than willing to give me days off to feel better. With the help of antibiotics, I was back to work by Wednesday, not feeling 100% but good enough to get back to designing.
It seemed like once I started working, pnemonia was just the start of many challenges. Some of which included, Jeff got very sick and had a super bad ear infection, my youngest son broke his foot and needed surgery (which I had to take time off for his recovery), my oldest daughter got a bad ankle sprain (needing three weeks of physical therapy and a walking boot). It seemed like one of my kids had the stomach flu every other weekend. Then at Christmas time, our youngest daughter’s appendix ruptured and she was in the hospital for nine days.
Things kept getting harder and harder and I kept telling Jeff that there was no way I could keep working if things like that kept happening. Things were too hard. I would cry at night, wondering how I was going to have the energy to go back to work the next day.
I prayed a lot because I needed strength I didn’t have.
At first, my prayers went something like this, “God, I felt so good taking this job, but I can’t keep working if my kids keep getting sick. Please help my kids to stay healthy, so I can work.”
Slowly, I realized that I couldn’t tell God what to do, I had to accept that I wasn’t in control of my life, even if I wanted to be. Instead, I changed my prayers. First, I had to accept the fact that my kids might keep getting sick. As much as I wanted, I couldn’t pray my life into what I wanted. Yes, I felt good going back to work, but it didn’t mean that the rest of my life was going to magically fall into place. That’s just not how it was. Sometimes I have a hard time accepting God’s will. Instead, I want to tell Him, “Ok, I’m being faithful, so bless me!”
The thing was, I had to accept that I felt good going back to work, knowing that my most important job was to take care of my family. I didn’t have to choose one or the other, instead, I had to realize that God was giving me both.
He knew that my mind needed a job to help me continue healing my body. He also knew that I needed to be there for my kids. Guess what, I have the best boss who is very understanding of my family. When I need time off, he lets me take it off. That’s an incredible blessing.
I am finally trying to accept that my kids are still going to get sick, they are still going to need me, and sometimes I will have to take time off work to be with them. But there will also be times where they will be in school and I will be at work, getting off before they get home, they won’t even notice I am a working mom.
I might never get complete balance in my life, or be able to ride a hoverboard, but little by little I’m learning how to be ok with that.