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It has been almost a week since Mark had his last day at work, and to say I am living in a dream would be an appropriate statement. Waking up and knowing that he is here with me is simply AMAZING! I've heard from so many of you who were inspired by our decision for him to quit his job and wanted to thank you for the kindest emails and comments! Mark and I read through every single one of them together and were so blessed!
After him being home for a week, here is how I feel…
I never realized how stressed I was until I could finally relax.
I can't believe I've been SO stressed for SO long and had no idea how bad it was.
My in-laws came over for dinner the other night and mentioned that they felt a peace in our house that wasn't there when Mark was working. They saw how happy we were. My mother-in-law asked me with tears in her eyes “Lauren, how did you do it? How did you do it for so long?” She was referring to running the business and blog while taking care of a house and 4 children. Being a stay-at-home mom is a very difficult job in its own right; running a business from home in addition to it was just too much – to the point where I felt like I was doing neither very well.
This blog has seen me through 2 pregnancies and 2 of my children's births. I started this 3 1/2 years ago, when my son was 4. In the blogging world, I am a seasoned veteran… But I never knew how hard it was and how stressed I was until I could finally relax. I've been working SO hard on all fronts that I haven't relaxed in years. The truth is, I don't know how I have been able to keep everything from crashing in around me. I don't know how I've kept up with life the past 3 years… and somehow (by the grace of God) I've been able to grow this website to the point where Mark could come and work with me. There is a fantastic book that a fellow blogger Moneysavingmom.com called Say Goodbye to Survival Mode; I should have read this book 3 years ago but I am looking forward to reading it now!
Since he has been home I've been able to enjoy simple things like making my bed – a rarity in the past 3 years (and so different from the view you saw in my last Pinterest depression post). I was inspired by my friend Ruth's post about ‘why she makes her bed everyday‘ and how it helps her keep her days happier. I am a lot less likely to jump back into that bed to take a nap when I spent so much time making it in the morning. I love being able to walk into my bedroom and see beauty, not mess!
I've been able to sit and relax with my two youngest for more than 10 minutes, and really look at them and talk instead of thinking about the 1,000 things I have to do.
Stress has robbed me from that JOY that I so desire. I couldn't see past my own to-do list; it literally was sucking everything out of me…but I had no idea! It is kind of like trying to jump off of a moving freight train, you just can't slow it down.
I realized that I've felt so hurried that even brushing my teeth was a stressful task, or doing laundry, or doing ANYTHING! My brain was always a fast moving train, racing from one thing to the next. I didn't realize how bad it was until I was able to stop and know that life was changing.
I am SO thankful for this realization now. I am such a do-er that I sometimes DO my way right out of JOY. So in my effort to have a JOYFUL year, I need to be able to STOP and sit and enjoy.
I cannot tell you how much more I have enjoyed blogging these past few weeks. I get to write about what I am joyful about again. Sharing money-saving tips and ideas, providing recipes that don't cost much to make, and giving you resources like my free meal planning workbook that can help you save money!
I ask you this, as one mom to another, what is stealing your JOY? What can we do together to keep the JOY in our lives?