Which job is right for me? Ask Away Thursday

Check out this week's installment of Ask Away Thursday - one question, LOTS of answers!

I’ve been invited to join a tribe of women bloggers in Ask Away Thursday. A couple of Thursdays a month, we’ll take a reader question and each answer it from our unique perspectives.

One question - multiple perspectives. Email your questions to momstribeadvice@gmail.com #AskAwayThursday Click To Tweet

Today’s question comes from Texas.

My husband is transitioning from his career in the military, but isn't working yet. We need a supplemental income, so we've decided that I look for work while he pursues changing career paths. We have a 5yo in kindergarten, a 3 yo and an infant. 

I've been offered two jobs. One is full-time at minimum wage at a child development center working in the infant room. I would be able to have my youngers attend the center at little cost. I would be finished working in time to pick up the kindergartner and be home in the evenings. 

Yet, the second job sounds so good for me. I would work 20 hours a week, but make more money overall. The catch is the second job is 4-8pm Monday-Friday because I would be developing an after-school program. So that would mean being gone every weeknight evening. I feel really torn between what to do. 

We need a second income but one job would be full-time and require me to pay for some child care while the second I would work only part-time hours and make more money. Is it too much to be gone every evening? My husband is a good dad, but making dinner and doing baths and bedtime every night might be a lot. What should I do?

That does sound like a difficult decision! You’re weighing lots of important values and probably feel a heavy responsibility to make the right decision for your family.

Military life is predictably unpredictable, but we do get used to not having much say in our own lives. Taking back that responsibility is a large change and will take adjusting.

Remember there is no right decision, just the best one for you and your family for today!

If a clear, God-obedient direction isn’t obvious, I have a tendency to be a list maker.

Break out the sharpies for my pro/con list! Hooray!

Before breaking out the sharpies for a pro/con list, pray for clear direction & open doors. Click To Tweet

I pray for clarity of mind, patience, and a heart focused on His will. His answers usually come pretty quickly: doors open or close, respected friends point in the same direction, con lists grow.

One question - multiple perspectives. Email your questions to momstribeadvice@gmail.com #AskAwayThursday

Secondly, I would consider the reasons for taking a job.

Is money the most crucial factor right now? Then the job that pays more and requires less out of pocket for daycare makes the most sense, especially for 20 fewer hours per week.

But taking an evening job is rough for a momma. This is where the heart gets involved for me. Working 4-8 means missing picking up the kindergartner from school, homework time, family dinners, baths and bedtime.

However, it sounds like, with the exception of the kindergartner, your family has the ability to be flexible with the family schedule at this time.

Flip-flop most of the evening activities. Give morning baths and have a large family lunch, leaving leftovers for an easy dinner. Push bedtimes back for the little ones who don’t have to be up early, so momma can come read the last story and help with prayers.

Is your husband on-board with such a drastic family renovation? Get his thoughts and perspectives. Take this chance to show you respect him and value his opinions.

As a military wife and Christian, this may be a wonderful opportunity for you and your husband to pull together, creating new roles and rules for this new civilian life that can be such a drastic change from the military.

Your husband is used to having you be his back home support (the household six), and this may give him a unique perspective on what that’s been like for you. Working together during this transition could be a tremendous blessing.

Lastly, I would carefully consider how to make sure your kindergartner gets enough mommy time. Perhaps you have breakfast together every morning, drive him to school rather than put him on a bus, have special Saturday plans one on one.

If your family stays Semper Gumby (always flexible) and you are able to work as a team, working the evening shift might not only be the best job, but also teach you both about what love looks like from the other side.

Good Luck! I’d love an update soon!

Let’s check in with the rest of the MOMs.

Moms Tribe Advice

Monica Riojas is the founder of A Mother Loving Mess, a mother of five trying to survive ūüėČ She writes about parenting, fun DIY’s, recipes, and more. A Mother Loving Mess – Which Job is Right?

Nikki Crump is military spouse and mommy of three who loves to blog about motherhood, mental health and fitness from Healing Mama RemediesHealing Mama Remedies – Need Help Deciding Work

Marisa Boonstra from Called to Mothering is A New Jersey native transplanted to Oklahoma, Marisa writes about her homeschool experiences, motherhood, and raising children with a biblical worldview. Called to Mothering – Need Help Deciding Work

Crystal Mendez from Love More Live Blessed shares recipes, budgeting tips, crafts and fun kid stuff on her blog. She never knew blogging could be so much fun! Love More Live Blessed РWork outside the home

and Rachel Osborn from Don’t Call Me Supermom will be joining us next time at Don’t Call Me Supermom – Ask Away Thursdays

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Internet Friends Day

Did you know #InternetFriendsDay is a thing? Yeah, me neither, but the internet has created my tribe of people, holding my hand as I walk through life.

Today is Internet Friends Day.

Yeah, I didn’t know that was a thing either. So what?

The internet has created my tribe of people.

I was about to ignore it when I thought about how God uses the internet to build my tribe of people. Some amazing Godly people came into my life ONLY through the internet. Several churches and ministries are speaking into my life only through the internet.

Some connections are very new, but Godly people, writing and talking and sharing Jesus, and we’re learning each other from completely different ends of the world.

This transient Army life contradictorily brings people into our lives and takes them away. But through the internet, friendships can become as close as sisters because we can stay connected when phone calls are less conversation and more punctuated by emergency parenting.

“No, you can’t ride the cat!”

“Don’t put that in your nose!”

“Poop is not an artistic medium, people!!” (this friend knows who she is)

Some lovely supportive friends are in my life everyday because of the internet. We share what we’re reading, a movie we just loved, what we’re praying over.

The Internet is a window around the globe, creating sisters from strangers. #InternetFriendsDay Click To Tweet

Did you know #InternetFriendsDay is a thing? Yeah, me neither, but the internet has created my tribe of people, holding my hand as I walk through life.

The truth is I am an intense introvert, but I love people. I love teaching and guiding and the loving of people. I just get drained by too much noise and chaos and the wearing of pants and make-up.

While recovering from hip surgery, I felt utterly useless in the kingdom of God. Seriously, all I could do was sit on the couch, uncomfortably.

God, if you can use me in this broken place, please show me how.

Ding. You have a message.

Facebook at midnight. Can I talk to you?

Over the next months, I was the midnight friend and Christian support to several women through Facebook. God said, write, so I did. And apparently a few people read this and even like it sometimes.

Through the internet, I may never hear your voice or even know your real name, but I can tell you how Jesus takes my roughest moments and shows up BIG in my life.

Sharing stories of parenting my tiny tornado while learning to live obedient to Christ might encourage you or help you feel a little less alone on those days you’re crying in the closet hugging a bag of expired Christmas chocolate.

So Internet Friends Day means I’m celebrating you. All those whose lives I get to visit through the internet. All those who visit mine. All those holding my hand as I learn to follow God in all things.

Proverbs 17:17 ESV A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

And this crazy internet lets us do both.

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When War Comes Home

When a soldier comes home, War comes home, too: the smell of it, the frenetic energy of it, the despair and horror of it moved home with his foot locker. A story of healing through faith.

When a soldier comes home, War comes home, too. When my husband came home last time, it was our hardest yet. He came home to a stressed-out wife getting ready to start her next school year and a toddler daughter he barely knew. Reintegration was going to be tougher than it had ever been on top of the extreme stress of cumulative deployments.

Reintegration means readjusting. Where is my place? What is my role? How do we do this together?

For me, a small positive of deployments is getting to organize my house to my little OCD heart’s content. I get to color code and label. And everything stays where I put it. Hooray! A little thing I can enjoy while trying not to worry about my husband being in a war zone.

But when he comes home, things have moved. His stuff got relegated to the back of the cabinets. He feels put away, like he doesn’t quite fit. Our lives went on without him, and we did just fine. It isn’t true, but it feels true to him.

Coming home took away his sense of mission and purpose. He felt like he left the job undone in Iraq and didn’t know how to change gears. He struggled to find his place in our home and lives. I had to learn how to let him back in, let him be the dad and do things his way.

Truly reintegrating took time. Think marathon, not sprint. Sometimes, it was a relay race who is coping better today? You’ve got the ball.

When a soldier comes home, War Comes Home, too. Becoming one again is a marathon, not sprint. Click To Tweet

Deployments are also tremendously physically demanding, adrenaline pumping continuously 24 hours a day, everyday. The previous deployments had at least prepared me to be patient with him. He was a hummingbird around the house, zipping from place to place, barely lingering long enough to be still a moment. I got exhausted watching him.

When a soldier comes home, War comes home, too.

It was weeks before he sat down, then all he did was sleep. His body was wrecked from getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night and wearing 100lbs of gear all day everyday for a year.  When he finally crashed, he slept every empty minute for weeks. My heart broke to watch him sleeping through those precious hours, when I so desperately just desired his presence.

As much as I wanted to authentically celebrate his being home, it took almost a year to feel like he was really home. And then the really hard work started.

I was not as patient as I could have been. I felt like I’d been alone raising this baby by myself for so long, but he wasn’t ready to be home with us. He felt robbed of another year of his life, hunting and fishing, and having any time alone after being continuously with others (even on the toilet). As a mom, I can better relate now!

And then the loss of time with all of his kids was so much, he didn’t know how to cope, let alone how to begin reconnecting with them.

A special kind of hurt wraps itself like a noose around your heart when you lose time with your children, much less a cumulative 4-5 years of their lives. Just writing those words grieves my heart. I. CAN’T. EVEN.

Additionally, the unique violent experiences he had in combat came home with him, too; they live in his heart and mind in a way I’ll only barely grasp. They were tearing him up inside, and I didn’t know how to help or that I was inadvertently making things worse.

We said the word “divorce” too often in the heat of bickering over mundane domesticities that turned vicious. Our house became the war zone.

We reached a point nothing on earth could save us, at least nothing OF earth.

God doesn’t want us to turn to Him because we think His way might be better. God wants us on our knees screaming for Him to save us. He wants us so desperate for Him we won’t take another step without him. He wants our full surrender, that moment we truly give it over to Him, quit playing at Christian and become a disciple.

For me, the path to that moment of surrender started when I truly realized that war comes home. The smell of it, the frenetic energy of it, the despair, bravado, and horror of it moved in with his foot locker at the end of his 4th deployment.

When a soldier comes home, War comes home, too: the smell of it, the frenetic energy of it, the despair and horror of it moved home with his foot locker. A story of healing through faith.

And things got bad. Really bad. Not everyday was bad, but we fought a lot. Tension and anger were the under current of our marriage and home. I didn’t know what to do. I started crying out to God.

But I wasn’t completely ready for total surrender. It took another year for the moment I stood in front of God and said, I just want you, to follow you, Lord, no matter what. I’m standing here until you make me move.

I remember feeling like Paul when the scales dropped from his eyes, my vision changed almost physically with living the forgiveness I finally understood. I didn’t have to get cleaned up to come to Christ. I just had to come and he would clean me up.

The next step for me was a book called When War Comes Home: Christ-Centered Healing for Wives of Combat Veterans. God placed this book in my path at just the right time to make dramatic changes in my heart and marriage. I spent the next several months reading a chapter a week and discussing it with a dear friend. We were both struggling with how combat had changed our husbands.

The book is written by combat veterans, wives, and experts from a Christian perspective. It costs about $25, but is a priceless resource. The book deals with everything from grieving the changes any combat veteran might experience to the most severe PSTD, offers insight and biblical solutions, as well as resources for help, counseling and domestic abuse if necessary.

I learned so much about forgiveness and commitment, God’s truths, and our real enemy in this world. Some content might not relate if your spouse isn’t a veteran, but so many raw truths about love being an action, not just emotion make this a trusted marriage manual I could recommend to anyone.

I was able to start understanding what he had seen and how he had lived in a way I hadn’t before. Compassion blossomed in my heart.

I had prayed for God to change my husband, and He did, but His answer was, “you first.” Today, I am tearfully thankful for that.

I remember I was having a rough day, standing over dishes and a mess not of my making. My husband was being kind of a jerk. My mouth clamped shut and I prayed in my head, “Lord, help me see him the way you do.” Instantly I saw the chains around him dragging him down: war, anger, death, loss, grief, shame. He wasn’t a jerk on purpose; he was too wounded to be anything else.

Lord, I prayed, please change my husband. His answer - You first! Tearfully grateful for His… Click To Tweet

“Oh, you’re having a hard time just being you today . . .” I said. He froze. His eyes immediately softened and changed. “Yes, I’m having a hard time being me.” “What can I do to help you?” “Give me five minutes to myself.” Done! Easy peasy lemon squeezy as my kiddo likes to say. So simple.

And that was the beginning. I stopped expecting ANYTHING from him beyond going to work, coming home. While that sounds drastic, he couldn’t handle the pressure of my expectations. And I had been counting on him to make me happy when I should have been finding my joy in Christ.

I finally realized, he couldn’t fill my longing for true and everlasting love. Human love would always disappoint, but God never would.

Eventually, he began to unfurl in the security of God’s love for him through me and be able to relax again, laugh more, and take back some leadership in our home.

It’s been a couple of years, and I am still just barely scraping the surface of how war comes home, how what he has seen changes everything for him: the sound of a child crying, watching political debates, going to the movies.

But God has worked miracles in my heart that are healing both of us and our marriage.

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Thanksgiving – More than a Day

Thanksgiving is more than a day, it is an attitude of giving thanks, always in everything. Eph.5:20

Last year (2015), Thanksgiving was a contradiction in our home. While most of the country celebrated with large meals and loud boisterous gatherings, our table was be quiet.

It was just another day without daddy in a long month of long daddy-less days.

But instead of sadness and bitterness over his responsibility to the army, I was able to react and adjust. How different was THAT response from previous responses dissolving into anger?!

Today, I read this post with great joy that I was able to see the blessings in a derailed holiday last year.

—-Back to our story —-

This morning I crawled out of bed at 5 a.m. to hug and kiss him one more time before he went out the door. He won’t sleep tonight. And I’ll worry until he drags himself home tomorrow, 26 hours later.

But we’re so terribly grateful.

He is on U.S. soil, healthy and alive. Our extended family may be separated by too much distance, but everyone is happy and healthy even if we can’t share the same table.

We celebrated Thanksgiving last night with a veritable feast. Candlelight danced in my daughter’s eyes as we pried her fork out of the sweet potato casserole and tried to get her to eat a vegetable, even one covered in creamy mushroom soup and crispy onions.

Our table was beautiful and warm, heavy laden with more food than we can eat in a week, although we are going to do our best.Thanksgiving is more than a day, it is an attitude of giving thanks, always in everything. Eph.5:20

As of today, we’ve spent six Thanksgiving holidays together, and six apart. In some ways, I’m sad because there is something special about being able to share a meal with my husband on Thanksgiving, the actual day, because we’ve missed so many.

But Thanksgiving really is more than a day on the calendar. It is an attitude of giving thanks in everything, always, something this year has really taught me.

Thanksgiving is an attitude of giving thanks, always in everything. Eph 5:20 Click To Tweet

I’ve learned:

  • to see the the positives despite tough situations.
  • to Be Still and let God instruct me when I want to throw in the towel.
  • I can be more self-sufficient than I thought
  • having perspective to truly be thankful for my husband.

Ephesians 5:20 ESV “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”

Giving thanks in everything is about perspective, God’s perspective. If you’re His, that is enough to flood you with thanksgiving because you know to Whom you belong.

So God helps me have perspective, we have a warm house, a child we longed for (I love that National Adoption month is the same as Thanksgiving), too many pets to love and cherish, a full pantry and stuffed tummy, a stronger marriage.

We are beyond blessed on our worst days.

Cleaning up the kitchen last night, we were joking around. I sprayed him with the sprayer over the shoulder while washing dishes. Our daughter bounced around the house high on salted caramel and ginger ale, playing mommy to her baby doll. I was floored with my blessings.

I watched her softness and kindness with her doll knowing she is learning how to be a mom from me. Hearing her reflect the best of what I hope I am to her, made us both pause and just watch her for a moment.

My husband teased me and we laughed together, enjoying being able to wink and play and kiss over a steamy sink.

Thanks to the wondrous work God has done in my heart, home, and family this year,¬†today isn’t my thanksgiving¬† .¬† .¬† .

my life is, here and eternally.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

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Bloom in Any Season

I was crying, running on vapors, trying to do it all myself. Why do I keep forgetting I didn't get this far alone? I need Him to bloom in any season.

Last Sunday, I held this beautiful rose in my hand as it bloomed defiantly in November. I heard God’s quiet whisper,

“Even this rose can bloom in any season.”

What wonderful encouragement! I have been truly relying on God during this difficult season in the Army, tired but coping.

And isn’t that when the bottom falls out? the minute we think we have it all together? the minute we try to do it ourselves .¬† .¬† .

God was encouraging me after the month we’ve had.

My husband has been gone 18 hour days, 6-7 days a week, most Army related but some hunting, and selfishly, I get tired of being ‘all the adults.‘ I was on vapors, holding on desperately for a break. When making frozen pizza seems overwhelming, I’ve hit rock bottom. I thought I had no more to give.

But God was also preparing & instructing me for the week to come.

Monday, the text message came, “Don’t expect me home.”

At all, for at least 72 hours, maybe a week. No warning, no planning ahead. Just gone. Not in war, not deployed. Yet, tiny heartbreaking nights that he just isn’t home.

I was crying, running on vapors, trying to do it all myself. Why do I keep forgetting I didn't get this far alone? I need Him to bloom in any season.

A piece of sensitive equipment (read expensive) went missing and the entire unit was put on lockdown. It wasn’t done appropriately. Soldiers were left with no food, denied necessary medications, while others were let walk to the convenience store or go home to tend to pets.

My husband was stressed and furious. If there was a way to make this situation more disastrous and less compassionate, they found it. Helplessly watching it unfold via text message was so incredibly difficult. Knowing how this would ripple through every inch of our next weeks, I could feel my anxiety building.

But I tried to push it down, jump those hurdles without breathing hard. We can do this! I’m not who I used to be. I’ve totally got this¬† . . .

. . . but the pressure built inside. I could feel God mentally tapping me on the shoulder, trying to get my attention.

“Even this rose can bloom in any season.”

But I didn’t want to bloom. I wanted to BE MAD. I mean had a good reason to lose it, right?

By day 3, I broke my #30DaysWithoutComplaint challenge. While I tried to be strong and calm, I ran out of steam. I cried. I complained, launching into the unfairness of it all, but I didn’t feel any better.

I was cooking¬† two separate, multi-step meals for a friend whose husband was having surgery, cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner for my house, making a week’s worth of meals for my husband, plus packing a suitcase, trying not to forget anything since we live 45 minutes from his training facility.

Meanwhile I was trying to parent, home-school, check in with family, fellowship with friends, deal with accidental Facebook drama, and take care of my personal needs, like eating. And deal with a 5-year-old who was having her own missing daddy breakdown. When I would look up from the chaos, all I could see was the dust, dog hair, and general filth and clutter taking over my house.

I was running out of steam because I was trying to do it all. I. Me. ME.

Ephesians 2:8 ESV¬† “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”

Where was God in there? Yeah, I was giving Him a nod, keeping my exterior calm, but I wasn’t giving Him the anxiety in my heart, not asking Him to guide my emotions or attitude.

NOT MY OWN DOING. I didn’t change and grow through my own will, why can’t I remember this?

Why can’t I remember I will never outgrow needing Him?

I was trying to multi-task, poorly, trying to avoid burning down my house literally (I do have a nicely browned potholder now) and figuratively, not destroy months of work I’ve done living some big changes Christ is working in me.

And God whispered, you can bloom in ANY season when you live by faith. #BloominAnySeason Click To Tweet

Again seeing the rose in my mind, I heard God calling me to bloom in THIS hard season. I opened my bible app and let it start reading to me while I worked.

James 1:3 ESV For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

Just last week, I wrote about the beauty of our marriage through the testing we’ve survived, the way we’ve learned to rely on each other. So did I mean it?

When I wanted to cry, I said, God “let me put down my agenda for this week and pick up YOURS.”

My prayers changed from bring him home to ‘how can I be calm despite the storm, help me prioritize,¬† and be a blessing and encouragement to my husband and friends.’

Why can't I remember I will never outgrow needing Him? Can't do this life on my own.… Click To Tweet

It was draining and emotional, but I managed to focus on one moment at a time and to be a blessing when my husband finally came home frustrated and exhausted.

Instead of demanding he talk, I let him work through his feelings. When he was sharp, I took a deep breath instead of firing back. I offered whatever support he needed and let him set the tone for the weekend, so he would have the fortitude to face the new week, including a 24 hour duty on Thanksgiving.

One way I learned to bloom in any season was to realize that sometimes messy can be beautiful because the house doesn’t get our attention – when we give it to people instead.

We are in the last years of his career, but the constant trials of Army life are surrounding us. We can focus on the difficulties or know that we’re being shaped and pruned to face every struggle, beautifully able to bloom in any season.