This is a guest post from Heather of Cube2Farm and author of From Cube to Farm: Surviving and Thriving as a Stay-at-Home Mom – a great read!
When I first quit my career to stay at home with my infant daughter full-time, I knew that I had a lot to learn, but no idea how much…
I had no idea what I was doing. There had been no children in my life since I was a child when I babysat my cousins (and that was *ages* ago!). I’d never been much of a cook and I had previously hired a cleaning service, so the word “homemaking” really had no meaning for me. All my friends were single and working during the day, so while I spent a lot of time on FaceBook, I didn’t actually speak with anyone other than my husband (who I mostly fought with) and my daughter (who could only babble).
My neighbor is the one who rescued me. She invited me over for coffee while we watched her kids and mine play in the front room (a first for me.) She introduced me to MOPS and reacquainted me with the love of Jesus through her gentle example. She introduced me to other moms who were supportive and kind. Most of all, they were helpful, inclusive and non-judgmental. To this day, I am hugely grateful for MOPS and still attend meetings – two states away from where I began.
At this same time I found Kitchen Stewardship and Katie was my second lifesaver. From KS I learned about healthy, whole foods and true stewardship. I learned how to make chicken stock, soak beans, and enjoy oatmeal. Katie also taught me that I could still make a difference even if I was “only” a mom staying at home.
Fast-forward a couple of years and we now own my “dream” farm where I am raising two beautiful children. And, from this comfortable place, I can look back and realize that – through various trials, challenges and hardships – I had a LOT to learn from that first day.
Of the lessons I have learned here are the top three.
1. I can’t do it all alone. I tried. I really did. But doing it alone is misery. For me, my husband and the kids. No matter how successful my career was, no matter how much money I made, how loving my handsome husband was, how smart and healthy my children were – nothing was ever good enough and I was never happy. Postpartum depression aside, when I finally realized that all my past successes were not due to my own intelligence or temerity and that instead it was God who had granted me all that I had and that I needed Him first and foremost, everything else seemed to fall into place.
Even though the next few years were fraught with disasters and challenges, I was finally humble enough to ask for help. And that alone led to a contentedness that money can’t buy. I found that I need friends – real friends in the flesh – to encourage, support and, yes, even call me out (preferably in private) when I am wrong. I need mentors, guides, experts and those whose opinions oppose my own – to challenge me, inform me and teach me – even if only lessons in humility and patience.
2. My body isn’t just a temple. My body is a machine. And it needs regular maintenance. Just like the house, appliances and my car.
I never was thin, but during my first pregnancy I really let my weight get out of control. I was pushing 300lbs. A 300lb vegetarian. Seriously.
After joining a weight loss clinic and maintaining a diet of 600 calories a day – shakes and protein bars only – I lost nearly 100lbs. In six months. Without exercising.
As we all know, this is not the healthy or right way. But when I got all that weight off me I could finally think clearly for the first time in years. My hormones were under control and I had so much energy! I felt alive. And that felt great! I began working out and eating right – following KS and religiously documenting my progress. It was amazing!
I’m still overweight (thanks to baby #2 and living 300 miles from the nearest Whole Foods.) I have another 50lbs to lose to reach my goal, but now I know what I have to do, and, more importantly, why. My body is a machine and it needs regular maintenance… for the rest of my life in order to work properly, retain immunity, have energy and to think clearly.
3. Keep calm and keep moving. Whenever I used to hit a roadblock in life, I would just stop. I would quit. I would stop trying and start eating. Junk food.
Life is full of disaster, tragedies and challenges. But the world keeps moving onward regardless if mine feels like it has ended. The only way to survive and achieve anything is to keep moving.
This lesson was especially important with a serious back injury. Sitting still only makes it worse. The only thing that helps heal a broken back is constant stretching and regular, intentional strength training. It is horribly painful recovering from a back injury, especially when you are trying to run a farm and raise babies, but I am grateful for the opportunity to learn this important lesson because it applies to so many other parts of my life.
No matter what happens, no matter how awful, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other doing what needs to be done – one thing at a time – until eventually life will achieve a new normal. And someday, hopefully soon, life will be good again. Laughter will follow the tears.
Heather Bryant is the proud and loving wife of RockstarDad and the grateful mama of RocketGirl and BulldozerBaby. Although she had a career at the intersection of finance and technology, Heather now stays home on a farm to raise her children full-time.
Heather recently published her first book, “From Cube to Farm: Surviving and Thriving as a Stay-at-Home Mom,” available both for Kindle (you can borrow it for free!) and in paperback. The book biographies her journey from the cubicle to the farm and is designed to help other women when they decide to pursue the career of motherhood as a full-time job.