Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Becoming a momma

Four years ago was my last day as a news reporter at the Murray Ledger & Times. I had been hesitant to dive into community journalism four years before that when Greg and I moved back to Murray, but it's the only job I could find. Turns out, I loved it. I love small-town journalism. I loved the challenge of working where I planned on living for a long time. And I still believe communicating what's happening in government, at the university, in community organizations and among families who call this town home is important.

But I traded that in to be a full-time momma. And, honestly, this motherhood job is much harder. I was trained to be a journalist; I'm called to a momma, and I'm still figuring it out. Before Cate was born, I assumed I'd keep working, balancing my professional and family lives. I went back to work when she was six weeks old, but I quickly learned this baby girl changed me. And was going to change me. And I didn't want to miss it.

I was nervous about giving up a paycheck when my husband had only been out on his own for a year as an attorney also managing a real investment company. I had to figure out how to get health insurance because there was no way we could pay for insulin and other diabetes supplies without it. And I had to trust my heart in a world that encourages women to work simply because they can.

I gave a month's notice, but Cate was four months and eight days old, I finished my last day as a news reporter in this town I've grown to love. And I haven't regretted it once.

{Here's my farewell column, if you'd like to read it.}

I don't get a paycheck to tell stories anymore, but I still have plenty of stories to tell. And I haven't stopped writing. It's for you guys here. And it's therapeutic for me. Plus it addresses my fear that I won't remember the details of this season of life.

I spend the majority of my time tending to my now 4-year-old Cate and 21-month-old Ben, who rocked my world in ways Cate didn't but fits perfectly in our family. I like to eat dinner at home and spend evenings with my family, but I've gotten a chance to tell some stories for other people along the way. I've helped Ken Winters with his re-election campaign because I believe in what he has to say and how he treats people. And I've written some press releases for the local Republican party.

Then more recently I prayed that God would give me some ways to use my communication and organization skills in ways that help families. And not long after I saw that Randall Goodgame had some open dates for Slugs & Bugs Live. I left a comment on his blog that Murray, Ky., would be a good place to bring the children's concert. He emailed me and one email led to the next and I found myself planning a communitywide concert, sponsored by my church. And an hour after it was over, I realized I want to do it again.

I'm also in the midst of helping with the inaugural Marketplace 29 A.D. -- a Bible school-type activity that is going to be take place during the local schools' Fall Break and give kids a chance to learn about Jewish culture and Jesus' heritage in an alley that is going to look and sound like a first-century marketplace. So far, at least 17 churches are involved. I became involved because the organizer Jan Seargent called and asked if I could help with publicity. In the weeks since, Jan and I have become friends and I've gotten to witness some of the awesome things about community.

Yep, I'm a stay-at-home momma. But I don't just sit at home and change diapers. Yes, I change plenty of diapers and fill countless sippy cups. On the days with the dirty laundry piles are high, dishes are filling the sink, piles of preschool papers clutter the kitchen counter and my all-boy boy is getting into something else, I can get frustrated and lose sight of what's important.

Motherhood is hard. This is harder than any of the 88 city council meetings or two murder trials I covered. This is more challenging than asking U.S. senators and university presidents questions about controversies.

But motherhood is rewarding. It's more thrilling to listen to my son learn to tell stories in broken, incomplete stories than it was to write a breaking news story. It's more precious to hear my daughter talk about Jesus than to hear about our public hospital's budget. And my job here is far from over. My kids are little. They have a lot of growing up to do. And I'll get to have a front row seat that doesn't require any media credential.

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