December 11, 2016


My oldest child graduates this year.  He has already received one college acceptance letter and is hoping to be accepted at BYU-Provo soon.  He is graduating 3rd in his class (two girls are ahead of him).  He has taken as many AP or college credit courses as our little school offers- maybe 7?  He played Varsity Soccer, got his Eagle, sang in select choir, designs robots, serves at school, church, and home.  Jakob is showered with awards and is well-loved.  He hugs me at least once a day and is adorable with Ben. 

This little boy diagnosed years ago with dyslexia has grown into quite a young man.  I have no doubt that he will continue to succeed.  I will miss him dearly.

Last week I noticed one of Jakob's soccer jackets hanging on the chair in my dining room.  I had recently placed two other hoodies or jackets in a pile for him to hang up or take to his room.  As I was huffing to myself, wondering when he would ever learn to put his coats away, tears came to my eyes.  This time next year I will miss his presence.  Yes.  I'm getting misty eyed just writing about this. I will miss him.

It's not just Jakob, everyone is growing up and they are all doing well.  Our life is smooth.  

My youngest child goes to kindergarten Fall 2018.  This is also the year my husband applies for tenure.  Drew is only a year behind Jakob, so in Fall 2018 we should have two missionaries serving somewhere in the world, and kids in 11th, 10th, 6th, 5th, 2nd, and K. 

I really think I will begin a full-time masters program that year.  The thought makes me almost giddy with excitement and I wonder why I am not more scared. 

For nearly 20 years I've been a stay at home mother.  I've struggled through and cherished my time at home.  For 20 years I've learned patience and organization and kindness and love.  Oh the education I've received here.  I have actually never spent all my time focused on my own family.  I think children are blessed as they see us learn, create, and serve others outside of our home.  Children learn independence and altruism when they are supported but not smothered.  I have no regrets about how I've spent my years from age 20 to 40.  I believe I did my greatest work.

If I felt called to remain in my home for the next 20 years I would do it.  But I feel something compelling me onward.  

This comes after a few years of seriously feeling finished with my life's mission.  It's almost like a girl might feel on her wedding day who spent years hoping and trying to marry.  Bringing Ben into this world was something that compelled me forward.  I have felt my family calling to me since I was a very young girl.  My children are here.  My uterus and ovaries are removed.  My baby is going to kindergarten and my kids are starting to leave the house... Yes, I realize I still have years of child raising and nurturing left in me.  There is so much good to do in the world without a job or paycheck.  Trust me-- I know that.  

What I never fully imagined is that I could or ever would choose to work.  Can a mother of eight really go to work without negative consequences on her home and family?

I sent a desperate note to a dear friend of mine who is the mother of a similarly large family.  Her oldest is just leaving on a mission and her youngest is in kindergarten.  It was a plea for help in my midlife crisis.  This was her refreshing but surprising response to me...

Hey, you're talking to the wrong person!  I spent the summer studying to be a financial planner and I am now licensed in securities and life insurance!  I work from 9-3 every day. I absolutely love it and feel completely energized every day.  It has made a huge difference for me and for our family.  So of course I say GO FOR IT! Times and seasons, baby! Your time to be pregnant is over. Your brain is craving a bit of a stretch!

Times and seasons, baby!

I have placed a GRE Study Guide on my Christmas Wish List.

I have started to write a list of things I want to do if I only have one more year as a stay at home mother.

I've been talking to friends and family about possible jobs and have been researching graduate programs.  I feel drawn towards Psychology, perhaps School Psychology.

Honestly, I started this week feeling bored, tired, and finished.  I felt I had finished my life mission.  Today, I feel like I've barely started.  I feel how I've been led and prepared for this next season.  And, I'm excited.

Today, I am still home, full time.
I LOVE being home.
What would you do if you felt you might only have one more year at home full time?  

I should add that my situation is pretty unique.  I have a husband who, as a professor, has a very flexible schedule.  He has always wanted me to go back to school.  He thinks I'd be a great professor someday.  When I asked him what scares him about me going back to school or working someday he said, "Honestly, nothing."  

My kids all think it would be fun to study with me.  Anna said, "You always tell us you were smart in school but you can't even help us with our math.  It would be fun to see how you do."  When I laughed she said, "Don't worry Mom, Drew can help you study math for your GRE."  

I never, ever imagined when I was a mom at home with kids age 4, 3, 1, and newborn that I would LOVE the teenage years as much as I do.
I never, ever really believed that I would have a career someday.  I'm not sure that I believe it now.

Life is pretty great!
Maybe I'm like Upstate NY-- fully immersed in each season.
As snow falls around me I feel seasons changing again, and I love it.


kristine barr said...

Hi Jennifer First, it's great to have you blogging again. Do you really have to take the GRE to get into school? How about taking a single class now instead of waiting till 2018? (I don't really know if that is possible.) Somehow, it seems that the GRE was to eliminate those young whippersnappers who thought they knew everything from trying and then failing the program. Anyway, I am a convert of 16 years, and have never gotten my Patriarchial blessing. At 73, do you think it's too late?

jenifer said...

Kristine-- it is never too late! Do it! I think I might take a class or two in the upcoming semesters before going full-time. And GRE, sometimes they make exceptions but I'm pretty sure I need to take it. If only to prove to myself that my rusty brain still works. 😁

Aflyonmyhomeschoolwall said...

I'm facing a season change myself.

It seems you have answers, and your concerns are valid . . . but so are your hopes and joys. God works in such mysterious, interesting ways, and I'm sure you're working with Him rather than against Him.

A Saunders said...

It makes my brain hungry to contemplate focused graduate study. 16 years ago I received my masters and got married today. As I sit and nurse my latest I'm not to your season yet but it gives me hope. I periodically have to remind my family I use to be a smart person known for more than cleaning laundry and dishes. My wise professors best advice was " We can do it all just not all at once!" God bless you in your new journey. I love your acknowledgement this is possible because you have trained your household to run smoothly. So true, we master one thing and move on to the next mountain. Thank you

A Saunders said...
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