"When I grow up, I want to be a Pediatrician." This was my standard answer to grown-ups until I was in high school. At that point, it became clear that I was NOT cut out to be a medical professional. (I do not do well in emergencies!) Next, I wanted to be a Home-Ec teacher... until my Home-Ec teacher told me I would never find a job. Finally, I settled on being a corporate fitness agent and ended up at Lambuth University.
At Lambuth, corporate fitness agent turned into certified athletic trainer... and that's how I met Scott! Taping wrists, thumbs, and ankles each afternoon was one of my responsibilities, and Duley #75 needed wrists and thumbs taped... no pre-wrap, please.
After a time, we became a couple, and shortly thereafter began to speak of marriage. The professional demands of an athletic trainer were not exactly in line with our vision for our future family, and so I switched my major to elementary education. We reasoned that if something unforeseen happened and I had to work, I could at least keep the same hours as our children. We married after Scott's graduation, and I was pregnant at my own graduation ceremony one year later.
Fast forward 12 years... After 10 moves, 4 children in 5 years, and several career changes... Scott is a teacher and football coach, and I am a stay-at-home mom who homeschools our children and coaches the Northeast MS Homeschool running team, the Spartans. Thanks to the Lord's provision and the generosity of our parents, we are making things work with one income. The budget is TIGHT, and there is not any breathing room, but we are making it work. On the side I clean houses, make aprons, and sell bread. I had these business cards made to attach to gifts...
Out of the blue, I am approached about coaching cross country at the collegiate level, and I accept the position of head cross country coach at Blue Mountain College. (I posted the details of the situation about 2 years ago when it happened.) The Apron Strings cards would be packed away, and this was my new business card:
It was an exciting new challenge, and I have worked hard to build and improve the program over the past two years. I love the school, the science of sport, training athletes, and the people I work with. It is truly a wonderful work environment.
For those who have never coached a sport, it is important to understand that coaching is not a 9-5 type job. It is all about relationships, and my runners become like extensions of my family (much to their chagrin at times). Coaching is a job that is never done; there is always one more thing that could be done to make the program better; one more letter that could be written; one more article to be read on the latest research; one more recruiting database to be searched; one more t-shirt to design; one more night to stay awake praying for the freshmen girls who hate you... it's not a job that you can just check at the door.
Over the last two years I was overall successful at my job, but my success came at a cost. My parenting, my housekeeping, the education of our children, laundry, and my cooking all became more than a little haphazard. (Oh wait, I suppose my cooking has always been haphazard... well, I had an excuse the last two years, anyway.) I was treading water at my FIRST job, my IMPORTANT job... being a wife and mother.
Circumstances occurred to make me see that the runners at BMC did not want a mother, but my children were desperately in need of one. I began to see just how quickly time was passing... Hannah was about to turn 13, and two blinks ago when I started my job, she was only 11!
Scott and I decided that probably the best thing would be for me to come back home. In fact, he admitted that he would be delighted to have me back home but did not want me to give up something I loved. The funny thing was, in keeping my job I was giving up something I loved... my family... and I wanted it back. In making that decision, I feel like the Lord has given me a second chance with my family... I have seen how important my job as a wife and mother really is, and I have a renewed purpose in parenting.
Although I am eager to become a full-time mom again, I truly love Blue Mountain College. It is a great school, and I want to see the cross country teams continue to grow and improve. In fact, I could even see myself coming back here one day when our children are out of the home. In order to avoid putting the athletic department in a bind, I worded my resignation to say that I would stay until the end of the spring semester if needed.
For now, our family is in a holding pattern. It is the off-season for both cross country and football, so the time demands are not quite so intense. In a few short months I will pack away the BMC business cards and unpack the Apron Strings cards.
I will still need to clean a house or two and occasionally make aprons or bread. Having to live on a tight, tight budget will once again be difficult. However, this time around, I understand that the tight budget is a burden much lighter than the one of a full-time working mother, and I hope I will bear it quite cheerfully.