because I can’t get this back

The other day, I had to run a quick errand to visit a local events designer in her showroom. I had about an hour before Hayes and I had to go pick up Hudson from school. I ran into her beautiful showroom and held Hayes as we walked around and looked at her gorgeous event decor.

If you’ve been reading Blue-Eyed Bride for a while, you may remember that I planned events before I had Hudson. A few weeks ago, Todd said to me, “Remember about seven years ago when you wanted to leave Columbia and go start a big private event company in a bigger city. And now look at where you are. Did you see this coming?”

And the truth is, I didn’t. My days are spent exactly how I want to spend them, but it’s a far stretch from where I thought I’d be.

As I stood there talking to this talented woman (who is closer to my mom’s age than my age), I mentioned to her that she was living my former dream. And I admitted to her that there are still moments when I wonder if I could ever do something like what she’s doing.

She looked at me, and she looked square at Hayes and smiled. She told me that years ago, she was doing what I’m doing now. She volunteered in the community and at her church and released her creativity through those outlets. But when her kids were little she knew she didn’t have the time or energy to devote to starting and running a business.

And she said, “Your time will come, but this time with your babies? You can’t ever get it back.”

I know she is right. Her words reached me and I realized that there is so much time. There is no reason that I need to attempt to “do it all” right now. The day will come when my boys are wrapped up in sports and music and their own social lives and I will have time. My old college dreams aren’t gone just because I chose a different path for this season of my life.

As I stood there with Hayes leaning on my shoulder and running his sticky fingers through my hair, she told me that if I needed my wedding fix I could come lend her a hand one weekend. But this time when they’re so little and really, really need me is time that I’ll always wish I could get back.

I wanted to share this story with all of you to encourage you. As moms of little ones, we know how hard we work and how much recognition comes with that. But our work is just as important as the most widely recognized and wildly praised professional’s work. As long as we’re doing it for the glory of the Lord.

Our other dreams and aspirations may become a reality now or they may take a back seat for a few years while we sort through our current seasons. We may not be able to do it all right now, but He gives us the desires of our hearts when we delight ourselves in Him.

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  1. some times i worry as i work my 9 hour days that ill miss out on all things with p.
    kat recently posted..Make your own diaper cakeMy Profile

    • Kat,

      You won’t miss out on everything and you are an amazing mom! And she is having so many great experiences during the day and comes home to a loving family at night.

      The point of my post was to say that I don’t have the money or the energy to start a business right now, but maybe I will someday. :) But there is so much time to TRY to do those things even though I can’t right now.
      Blue-Eyed Bride recently posted..because I can’t get this backMy Profile

  2. These are words I needed to hear today. I have been in a constant struggle lately over working a job I hate just to pay someone else to watch my daughter and whether or not those few extra dollars brought home are worth it…in the end what will I miss more…the tiny bit (after daycare expenses) money or my sweet girl? And really there is NO question there ; ) Thank you for this simple reminder b/c you’re right…we won’t get these moments back
    Sondra recently posted..Pumpkin Caramel Monkey Bread…A Very Coveted RecipeMy Profile

    • Hey Sondra,

      We struggled with that decision a few years ago and still 3 years later it hasn’t been easy at all. Especially during the house selling process. But your relationship with your daughter is not defined by whether or not you are at work. I just didn’t want you to think that was the message of my post. I’m so sorry you’re in a job that you don’t like. I’ve been there, too! I’ll be thinking of you.
      Blue-Eyed Bride recently posted..because I can’t get this backMy Profile

      • Oh I know you wouldn’t mean something like that. I just think it’s funny that I happened to come across this post at the very time in my life where I am questioning things, weighing pros and cons, and trying to make the best decision for MY family because this exact topic has been the one that keeps tugging on me the hardest : )
        Sondra recently posted..Pumpkin Caramel Monkey Bread…A Very Coveted RecipeMy Profile

  3. I’m just a new mom (2 months old) and I really needed to be reminded of this. Things have finally gotten to the point where I feel comfortable picking up my work load while staying at home with my little girl and I’ve found myself get frustrated this week that I’m hurrying through my work and wish I had the time to devote to it. But this isn’t the season of my life for that and this was a great reminder that that is ok.
    Laura recently posted..Reason EnoughMy Profile

  4. Funny you post this today. My daughter will be 3 in two weeks, and until the last year I struggled with not using my education in the career world while I stayed at home to raise her. I didn’t plan on staying home and actually was working the first few months of her life, but my plans changed. There is no explanation besides knowing that God made it all work out so I could enjoy the this time with her and help her grow. My graduate degree is in Family ministry and I use it EVERY day with her. I teach her about our God, how he loves us, and try to set the example for her to follow Him. God has purpose in all that we do and He will show us if we let him take the reins. It is more enjoyable that way and I am so thankful for the chance to soak up every second with her! Thanks for sharing! I enjoy reading your posts! Your boys are absolutely adorable!!!

  5. Oh Erin,
    I can so relate. I left my teaching job after having our first child. My students were my babies and there’s no doubt in my mind that I couldn’t be the teacher I was AND have my family of 3 kiddos. I worked so hard and I loved it so much, but not enough to give up this opportunity to stay home. I’ve kept my license current and have even subbed recently at my children’s preschool, but I’m so thankful to be home. I’m so thankful to be with my babies even on the hard days. Teaching will still be there. But sadly these years are already going by too quickly even with being home to watch them grow and change each day. :) Jenny

  6. Your personal justification for staying home feels like such a jab to working mothers.

    Some women have no choice but to work to support a family. Others choose to work, like myself, because we’re in senior positions and aim to balance family with career goals. Please don’t forget that when posting about how you don’t want to “miss” anything.

    • I kind of agree with A here. As the child of a working mother, I cannot say that any of my needs went unmet because my mother was away from the home from 8-5pm every day.

      Biologically speaking, there is a short window in which babies “really really need” to be with their mothers.

      Many women can balance career and family life quite well- you know, like men do.
      SWR recently posted..Our holiday travel plansMy Profile

  7. I know that you write from your heart and this blog is about YOU and YOUR experiences with life, marriage and motherhood but I have to admit, this post stung a little bit. But not because of anything you wrote – you’re just writing your truth and the meaningful purpose you’ve found raising your two beautiful boys. It’s all my own frustrations and second-guesses. I teach and I coach. And I adore what I do during the day but I know that I’m missing out and I know “that I can’t get this back” as the event planner put it. And I feel horribly guilty and conflicted. I love my job but I love my daughter…..
    Laura recently posted..Guilt and ShameMy Profile

  8. Oh, I loved this post. I think you expressed yourself so beautifully and I couldn’t agree more. Lately I’ve toyed with finding a job where I could be around other adults, but you hit the nail on the head. The time will come but right now, I’m so grateful to be a mom. Love you and your beautiful heart. Xoxo
    Rachel recently posted..You Better Watch Out!My Profile

  9. Man, you certainly have a way of tugging at my heart strings lately!! I decided (well, our bills decided) that I would return to work after Cameron was born and it’s a decision that I think about daily. I SO wish I could be home with him all day to watch him grow, to be the one to make him smile (It secretly makes me cry inside when I see him give the same huge smile to his day care provider that he gives to me – I want to be the only one who can make his eyes twinkle like that!), to be sure that I saw his VERY first roll over, crawl and steps…not just the first time for ME. This post is hitting home, girl!! THANK YOU for reminding me not to take any second for granted with him!! xo
    Jess recently posted..RandomsMy Profile

  10. Bless her heart. I love how she encouraged you with words of understanding and not of guilt for admiring and perhaps even envying her a little bit. I think all moms struggle with the balance of treasuring the time we are blessed to spend with our babies and secretly (or not so secretly) longing for something fulfilling in our professional field. I love how you said that you’ve chosen a different path for this season. It is a really short period of time (even though the days can be long) and I’m thankful to also be putting my professional interests on hold while I do a much more eternally relevant job. :)
    Thanks for the encouragement today!
    Tiffany McKeown recently posted..Brain dump Friday.My Profile

  11. Thank you for this post! I really needed to read this today!
    Anna recently posted..Fall ProjectsMy Profile

  12. Jaclyn says:

    I think this was beautifully put. I agree completely.. Growing up I had huge dreams and plans and I’ve watched all that fade into a distant memory in the three and a half years I’ve been a mom. For several years I was a single mom and I had to work but turned down big job offers and big dreams to be able to work in my family business (for MUCH less pay) but because I had flexibility and perks of bringing my little guy to work until he was 10 months and then any time I needed to. Now, I’m a stay at home mom and tho I wouldn’t trade it for anything lately I’ve been thinking of those old dreams and how at times my life seems so much smaller than I ever thought it would be. I needed this reminder that these days don’t last long and all too soon my babies won’t be dependent on me anymore. This is where I need to be, cherishing every sticky, loud and precious moment.

  13. Thanks for this post, Erin. It’s a good reminder. I’m currently at home with my two little girls, and though it has been tougher financially, it’s the job I had always hoped for. Someday I’ll go back to teaching elementary school, but until then I’m enjoying the smaller class size. :)
    meghan recently posted..In September…My Profile

  14. God has all kinds of plans for us that aren’t always laid out to where we can see them, huh? :)

    Also, you can’t speak for working mothers, obviously, so I think those asking you to think of them before you post isn’t really feasible. You are speaking from your heart and your opinion…..the way you feel…. and you shouldn’t ever change or sensor that :)
    In This Wonderful Life recently posted..31 Days of Twin Treats: Days 23 & 24My Profile

  15. I am a working mom of a 4 month old and I loved this post. I get to work from home and take my baby boy to “school” from 9:30-5:00 and I feel that it is perfect for us. I feel like I need to work for my sanity (and ego) and sometimes struggle with wondering if I should find a new job but I like that I am able to work and put on my nonmommy hat for a few hours a day.

    I feel like I am a better mom for working and I think that we as moms should always support each other. I did not feel like your post stung, it was your opinion and you are entitled to it.

  16. I am sad to see that some working moms are upset with you over this, when it’s just your take on your particular situation – and not a judgement on those who don’t or can’t stay home with their kids. Can’t please everybody, my dear.

    This was a beautiful post.
    jcristg recently posted..Pulled Pork Mac and CheeseMy Profile

  17. I loved this post Erin! It tugged at my heart today. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! You are one of my favorite bloggers and I just want you to know what a blessing you’ve been to my life. “Thank you!”

  18. Molly Ishmael says:

    Thank you for this!

  19. I totally agree! But it’s not even when they are little. My school-aged kids need me right now, too. While there are days I dream of doing more than grocery trips, acting as a taxi driver, etc…I know my days with these sweet ones at home are numbered. Here is where I belong.
    Christi recently posted..What Might Have BeenMy Profile

  20. So. so true. Putting dreams on hold for other dreams doesn’t mean giving up on them. I’m totally in this stage too. God has been teaching me so much about contentment in this season.

  21. KBGrits says:

    That is a beautiful post! She is so right and I have no doubt your time will come when you can be an event planner again. Yes life moves so fast, but there are also so many years ahead for new adventures and we don’t have to live or accomplish it all in one year. Enjoy this time just as you are!

  22. Thank you for this post! I needed that today. It was one of those day that although I am so happy to stay home during this life season with my almost 1 year old and 3 year old, I really missed teaching! Well spoken!
    Amy George recently posted..Life These DaysMy Profile

  23. Rebecca Scott says:

    I think this is my very favorite post of yours, thank you so much! As someone who has struggled with this as well, it’s a beautiful reminder that I have all the time in the world for my future career goals but only this teeny tiny window with my girls to enjoy this season, as hard and long as it is some days : ) And bless her heart for encouraging you like that!

  24. I really needed to read this. I’m struggling as of late with my decision to leave my job. Actually, now that I think about it, my last day of work was one year ago today! I’m so happy being home with my little boy but I miss being creative and worry that some one younger and sharper will beat me out for future jobs. But, I don’t think I’ll ever regret morning snuggles and afternoon dance parties with my guy.
    Rhi recently posted..Boston, You’re Terrific.My Profile

  25. You are an amazing woman. I love reading your blog and your insight is always above and beyond. Thank you for being an encouragement to others. I teach 1st grade and have 2 little girls at home with another little one on the way. Your post reminded me that it is ok to say “No” to othes so that I can just be a mom to my girls. Thanks!

  26. I’m not married, nor do I have any children, but your post resonates with me. I was thinking on this just last night, how much TIME is still left, God-willing. I’m only 26. There’s plenty of time to get married, to have kids, to do this and that and all these other things. I need to enjoy THIS time, a time when I can go out on a whim or have a girls night just because we can, not wish it away.

    Thanks for writing this!
    Sarah recently posted..Confessional FridayMy Profile

  27. My son is due in exactly one month and I will be staying home with him. I feel extremely blessed to have that opportunity. It will be a sacrifice financially, but my husband I both feel like it is worth it. Staying home with your kids can be very counter-cultural, and since I am prone to caring what other people think of me, I know there are days I will need to remember why I am doing what I am doing. I am so encouraged, thank you.

  28. LOVED this post! Thanks for encouraging my mommy heart! I am at home with two little boys right now and I want to treasure every moment!
    Ashley recently posted..Pencilled Daydream MOVED!My Profile

  29. Teresa says:

    My boys are now 13 and nine, and the years have flown by so quickly. I have experienced this passage of time from the viewpoint of a stay at home mom, a working part time mom, and now a working during the school year mom. Now, my 13 year old wants to be the technical advisor to a blog I’m trying to start- I think he just wants to approve the content. And when we we in Target last night, my nine year old told me he needed a new Halloween candy bucket, but he made it clear he was too old for “one of those cute, fuzzy ones.” This is the boy who spends his free time reading about World War II and know more about military aircraft than his father. Yikes…… The lesson in this for me is that we need to enjoy each of stages of childhood, regardless of our career/employment status, as our kiddos will be adults before we know it.

  30. Kristen says:

    Erin, I wish that I felt differently, but the truth is this post flooded me with working mom guilt that I *thought* was long gone. I know that wasn’t your intention. It’s just that as a working mom, this post was really hard to read. I can’t help but feel a wound has been re-opened by another mother who thinks staying home is the only way to make sure you don’t miss moments you can’t ever get back. As a working mom, I try to assure myself that my experience as a mother is not any less than that of one who stays home. But then you read something like this, from a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t appear to believe that, and it makes me panic that one day, I’m going to regret this time when I tried to “do it all.” Oh, how I pray that I don’t.

    As a working mother, I would never publish something stating that staying home is a waste of a good education and that a stay-at-home mom gives up years of workplace experience, market knowledge and opportunity for advancement that she can’t ever get back. Among other things, saying that might hurt another mother’s feelings … and what good does that do anyone?

    I hope you know my heart is in the right place. I’m not angry nor am I attacking you. I know that sometimes it’s hard to understand how or why our words might affect others, so that’s why it’s important to talk through things. I thought long & hard before posting this comment, worried about it coming across the wrong way. In the end I decided that since you’re my friend, I should share how this affected me – because it’s honest, and I thought you might care to know. I also thought maybe another reader might benefit from my point of view. I hope you don’t become cross that I shared this with you!

    • LeighAnn says:

      Kristen, you say you would never publish anything that might hurt a SAHM feelings….but then you did. Erin is a kind and generous person and I am sure your post hurt her feelings. It is her journal/blog and her truth. When I get my feelings hurt I try to stop, take a breath and discern the intent of the person. I know Erin would never intentionally hurt someone. I would encourage you to examine why this post is such a hot-button for you…..that is where your energy might be better put to use.

      • Kristen says:

        Hi LeighAnn,
        Thank you for letting me know that my comment did not come across as I intended it to. I thought I made it clear that I know Erin did not mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, and that’s ultimately why I shared this. It seems as though the good intention of my comment was lost in translation … that’s unfortunate, and I am sorry for that.

    • kristen – i’m glad you shared this. as a blogger myself and a sahm mom – i never wan to hurt anyone and want to be so careful how i word things. i know erin and so know her intent on this. it really surprised me that anyone got upset at this – but your post helped understood how it could’ve happened. just like erin – you are certainly entitled to your opinion for sure. and the great thing is – that every mom is doing their best and love their kids to pieces. we don’t need to compare so much. i think we all just get in erin’s spot and wonder and have thoughts of ‘what if’ and are grateful for things in our lives- either way. grateful for the job, grateful for the time. a reflection is great to read. and your reaction was great for me to hear too. so thanks. it sounded like you took time to think through and share in love.

  31. Love this. You were on my heart this morning and I wasn’t sure why. I was thinking it was just because I haven’t read blogs in so long and you’re not on Twitter as much anymore, so I hadn’t read what you were up to lately. Then I saw a tweet today about your day being a tearful one. Maybe that’s why you were on my heart. :) I’ve been praying for you. Hope your tomorrow is better.

    <3
    Jill recently posted..Amelia’s Ballerina Party…My Profile

  32. Erin P. says:

    Erin,

    Your blog is the ONLY blog I have ever commented on and is one of only a very few that I read. As I am a very busy SAHM of two rowdy boys – 8 mths and 2 years.

    I felt compled to comment when reading your thoughts and then felt I had to after reading some of the other comments. I appreciate other opinions, especially those of mothers. And I feel we have a duty to stand by each other. This post brought tears to my eyes – I can totally relate to you. I did corporate event planning for years before “giving it up”. Your words shed a new light on my feelings of late – my career can be paused but this PRECIOUS time can’t! Thank you for sharing something that I can imagine can pull at your heartstrings at times and being so honest. All while giving me someone to relate to in this season that can seem so confusing!!!!

  33. I love this Erin.

    I’m realizing that our plans for ourselves are nothing compared to His plans for us. It’s weird how things happen that we don’t expect. But his timing is perfect.

    And yeah, we’re all still so young.
    Mandi recently posted..Sunday SocialMy Profile

  34. Erin, as a fellow boy mom to two in Columbia, you are not alone! I went to college with aspirations of becoming a wedding planner in Charleston, and I still dream about it frequently. Sometimes we put our dreams on hold for even bigger dreams, like motherhood. You’ll get there one day, but in the meantime, squeeze those little boys tight!

  35. What a good word. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement!
    Leslie recently posted..52 Weeks — One YearMy Profile

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