For some millennials, littles are not anywhere on the radar. In a 2016 article , Rooster interviewed millennials and asked them their reasons for not having children. Although some of the concerns given for avoiding children were understandable and grounded in facts, the reactions that millennials had to the facts were problematic, to say the least. Check it out on today's blog!
If you asked me about my dreams for my life, the list has some big goals on it. I want to write a book. I want to launch my own website. I want to be a mom. I want to give a talk on Theology of the Body. I want to learn how to make creme brulee with a fire torch. I want to sleep in the back of a pick up truck and look at the stars. I want to have my own podcast. As Joseph and I got to know each other when we were dating, we gradually started talking about a future together. The dream of that future meant that we would start building dreams with each other in mind. Only 6 months into our relationship, I sat down for a heart to heart with him at midnight and decided that I wasn't going to look into getting my doctoral degree in history. Instead I was going to start a life with him that didn't require years and years of more school and a move to a city nowhere near him. Through my senior year of college, I started to work at the university library and I loved it. I loved the research questions, the front desk, and the interaction with fellow students. It made sense for me to keep fueling my interest in libraries and pursue a master's in library science (MLS). Everyone at the library thought it was a great fit for me. I learned a lot through my time there and, by the end of my college career, I had seen almost every aspect of the library and student success center that was also housed there. Sometimes I even brought part of the library home with me!
Then last summer, I decided that even pursuing a MLS didn't quite seem to fit into our plans, either. Most of my colleagues at the library seemed to think I was crazy for not going for that goal. I was told I was wasting my mind if I didn't get a higher education past my bachelor's degree. Even my professors told me I was ridiculous, marrying young and forgetting about school. But I knew that it was possible to get a job at a library after college without the MLS because of the experience I'd gotten already. And all the while I kept writing for my own blog, as well as picking up a couple of free-lance opportunities along the way.
I graduated in December and sent in what seemed like an infinite amount of resumes to libraries in Kansas City once Joseph and I knew that was the city that we'd live in. I went up and visited libraries and discussed their systems with connections from my time at Washburn. I poured my heart into cover letters and researching about how to answer the interview questions that would lead me to nail the job. And I didn't hear back. Or, when they did contact me, it was to tell me they'd decided to pursue another candidate. Nothing was working the way I had planned, and it was driving me crazy.
I started to attach my self worth to the job search, and quickly became disappointed. It felt like I wasn't useful. Wasn't worth it. Wasn't good enough. And the chorus of 'you're not good enough' seemed to follow me and ring in my ears with every rejection e-mail and every time the job was taken off the board without me in the position.
I ignored the small voice in my heart that told me to be still and wait and know He is God. Instead I frantically moved and put in resumes with jobs I didn't even want. I had the remnant of a plan left. I was grasping onto it, but it was slipping fast.
Then the answer came to me one night about a month ago, sitting on my bed and flipping through my e-mails. I'd just had an interview to be a substitute teacher at Catholic school about thirty minutes away from our new home . They'd offered me the position. You would think that this meant I was finally at peace. But I wasn't. I sat on my bed and realized that I didn't want that job. And I didn't want the twenty-some other jobs that I'd applied to. The reason I'd applied to them was that I wanted to proudly state that I was employed, as if that added something to my self worth.
What was it that I really wanted? To pursue the thing I was good at, that I enjoyed and that I loved - writing. At that point, I was writing for two different websites, I had my own blog and opportunities to pursue that dream kept falling right into my lap.
So, when Joseph got back from an out of town trip, I asked him if I could have another heart to heart. I spilled my thoughts to him in a corner booth at Panera. I didn't want him to think I was giving up on looking for a job, or being lazy by focusing on my writing instead of the traditional 9-to-5. But his response was amazing - he said he'd thought I should write too. I stopped my resume submitting, told the school I'd be unable to substitute for them. And on Monday I had my first day as a stay-at-home-wife while Joseph went to work.
On this first week of my time as a stay-at-home-wife, I've learned quite a few lessons already. To start the week, I became a little more stay-at-home then I would have liked...the transmission on my car gave out, so I've spent a lot of time in Joseph and I's little apartment. While that may sound like torture to some, it's been the perfect environment for me to write and enjoy my time as a wife. God was just giving me more opportunities to trust Him and be not afraid.
I've had family and friends ask me how long I'll do this, or if I'm looking for another job. Or what my plan is for the next year. But the reality of my life right now looks like this is going to be something that happens for a while. And I'm loving it. It is awesome to be able to finally cook. While some may consider that a chore or burden, I have missed my time in the kitchen so much while in college and living off of leftovers. And to have dinner ready when Joseph walks in the door? That's an incredible feeling that I've been looking forward to.
It is beautiful to finally have time to read books that have been sitting on a shelf since I graduated from high school. And I've blogged and written more in the past three days than I have been able to for weeks. Who knows...maybe something will happen in the next year or so that will change what my day-to-day look like. It could be that God opens the door to someplace where He thinks I can better serve Him. Maybe littles will come along and the job description of stay-at-home-wife and blogger will transition to stay-at-home-mom and blogger. I don't know...but I know someone who does.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
He has a plan for me. It may not look conventional, and it doesn't look like a thing I had planned. But I know He has work for me to do. And if my mission field is here within the walls of this apartment, then His will be done.
“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start. Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.” (Saint Teresa of Calcutta)
It was freshman year of college and I sat in the first day of class Monday morning. The professor's ice breaker question was "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Answers flurried around the groups. Hopeful future lawyers and entrepreneurs swapped opinions on grad schools. Social work majors discussed non-profits and the Peace Corp. When the small circle turned to me, I answered, "Well, I've always wanted to get married and have kids. If it works out, I'd like to stay home with them and homeschool them."
Stares. Silence. Smirks. This wasn't a popular answer on a University campus.
In comparison to the dreams of my fellow undergrads, my dream sounded...crazy. Mundane. Some even called it a waste. Why would I choose littles when I could choose learning and writing and staying up into the wee hours of the night discussing intellectual topics over lattes and craft beer? Wasn't I just wasting my time even in my undergrad if I was just going to throw it all away?
I decided to prove them all wrong. I came up with my life motto and ran with it for the next three years: "The place God calls you to is the place where your deepest passion and the world's greatest hunger intersect" (Frederick Buechner). Ironically, the place that I saw that hunger was the university campus itself, especially in the way that Catholicism was taught in history classes.
I began to entertain dreams of pencil skirts and practical heeled shoes, lecture podiums and power point clickers. I was enamored with what "Professor Mooradian" sounded like, and how proudly I'd display the diploma that I could almost taste. I dreamed of late nights spent grading essays (which I'm sure is completely over-romanticized and not nearly as exciting as I picture in my mind) and coffee with students to discuss the beauty of Catholic history.
But I was torn, because deep inside me I still ached for that original dream. That freshman-year-Chloe answer that I loved so much, despite what people said. That raw version of me, before I had soaked up the influence of a University environment - before I listened to what so many people said about me wasting my potential on a family. So I toyed with the notion that maybe I could do both. Do it all. Pick options 'a' AND 'b.'
Over winter break, senior year loomed ahead of me. Adulthood and decisions beckoned to me. I was asked to put together my top list of graduate schools where I would venture into the depths of a doctoral degree in history. I mulled over the list, chatted with students and professors, and dug through course catalogs. I watched countless video interviews of professors, read random samplings of essays and contemplated life over multiple vanilla lattes. And after all of that I felt empty. I wasn't just wrestling with a doctorate adviser, I was battling with whether a doctorate graduate degree was actually my dream, and if so, what ramifications that had for the rest of my life. Early in January, one night during a family vacation, Joseph and I had a long heart to heart where the reality that decision time was right around the corner hit me.
Don't get me wrong - women who have doctorate degrees are amazing. My favorite professors during my undergraduate degree time have been women who know their subject inside and out and have been an incredible source of knowledge. But I didn't know if that was for me. Because, deep down inside of me was a dream that I had...I wanted to stay at home with littles and teach them. I wanted to see their first steps and tell them about the saints and what the Eucharist meant. I wanted to cook breakfasts and sew pillowcase dresses. I wanted to spend the summers with grass underneath my feet and smelling like kid's suntan lotion.
Because, deep down, the issue was much larger than a job decision. It was a heart decision. It was a soul-searching, gnawing realization that dragged me to adoration. A question that tugged at me and left countless journal pages scrawled with my thoughts, prayers, hopes and cries to God for clarity.
I realized that the idea of being a stay-at-home mom scared me. Because it made me realized this adventure would take a selfless heart that I didn't know if I had.
It would mean balancing and organizing. Schedules and spontaneity. Littles with their muddy messes crashing into my muddy heart that wanted only what was good for me. What made me comfortable. What made me happy. Which, as it turns out, isn't the healthiest for the soul. Or sainthood.
So for now, we're planning a wedding for early next year. And when littles come, they come and bring with them decisions and bridges to cross when we get there. There is a lot of unknowns right now...and learning to trust God and His plan for us that is better than anything we could have ever imagined.
I'll still read through stacks of books. And talk about Catholicism and history until everyone wishes I would just be quiet and enjoy the silence. I'll still drink the same inhumane amount of coffee that I would have had a doctorate been in my future (maybe more, you never know).
Do I know what the future holds? I sure don't. But I know what I choose is...God's will. Simplistic and childlike faith that does not come naturally to me. But I do know that, doctorate or not, I'm called for a life that has peace on the inside, and doesn't always look like the the world's version of success on the outside. And that's better than okay. For real.
"Be truly glad...there is wonderful joy ahead." 1 Peter 1:-6