The Power of Identity.

For the last six years, I've inwardly identified myself as a Stay At Home Momma. Here is a weird fact, six years ago, I transitioned out of the classroom and began a 50+ hour a week teacher recruitment job. But, I worked primarily from home, and I kept Neiko home with me many days a week. I planned my days around his schedule. I worked when I wasn't mothering, and so I saw myself as a stay-at-home mama.


Here's the confusion, I flourished at first.


I loved it...until I got a promotion & we moved to Atlanta (and Mike traveled non-stop)... and I couldn't transition my thoughts around creating the rhythm of a working mom. It wasn't until the last three months of the season - I hired a nanny, and I started going to the office many days. But even then, I'd do half a day - so that I could spend the early afternoons at the park/playground/museum/frolicking with my babies.


This sounds nice when I write it years later, but the truth is that it was also complicated and was additional stress.

 

Why?


Because I was obsessed with being a very high achieving recruiter AND a stay-at-home/homeschooling mama with fresh-made EVERYTHING...and I was one person.


I enjoyed spending my DAY:

  • studying education trends

  • surrounded in college data facts

  • analyzing teacher studies

  • gobbling up childhood development articles

  • focusing on long-term research

  • creating strategy

  • engaged in team meetings

  • organizing plans and visions

While also:

  • baking

  • cooking

  • cuddling

  • going on field trips

  • moving autonomously

  • cutting no corners in the day-to-day hustle.

I fancied it all.


And when I look bacK: I cringe.

 

But yet, I've done it AGAIN.

Read what I drafted just two months ago:

Although I have a job where I work more than 60 hours a week (currently), I still consider myself a stay-at-home mom. And why I always will. 
 
Even when I worked from home, one of my greatest issues what that I would see myself as a SAHM instead of a working mom, but

LORD, help me. Even while CO-CREATING a school - I still perceived myself to be a stay-at-home mom.


Why?


Because my nieces (who recently returned to their mama) went to Gather daily, my sons would come weekly. I was back to designing work and my day around "my" kids. ONCE AGAIN, I did not organize my life in a way that accepted the fact that I HAVE A JOB. And here is the deal, when creating rhythms based on slowness - it's imperative to correctly and honestly identify yourself. It's essential to recognize your energy levels, body movement, and daily stressors and see your lifestyle objectively. Or else you create chronic stress and a daily flow that overextends, makes tons of multi-tasking, or worse, builds low self-esteem. Low self-esteem because you are never accomplishing your goals or to-dos.

 

Car Office

#goals picture by Tobias Tullius

Now that the girls are happily back home in Cincinnati, and we are almost a year into the creation of Gather - I am officially reflecting, praying, and creating life as a working mama. I am re-identifying myself. That doesn't mean that I am seeing myself as less or better - just different. I'm once again slowly learning myself.


The first step, my car office, lol. Yes, you heard that right - I am in the middle of creating a cozy mobile office in my trunk. It's inspired by all the inventive farmers and mamas of Gather students that work/live/camp out of their trunks. I realize that I separate better when I am not in my home. Being at home triggers me, lol, and so I will be working on the farm in my car office and slowly adjusting our daily rhythm - more to come.


Shalom, friends.

Shelby

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