Hey everyone! As I start my official “maternity leave” this week, I will taking a little break from writing and instead, I’ll be posting a few guest posts throughout the month. I am super excited to share with you some of the posts that have been sent into me, as they are all inspiring in their own ways. Today’s post comes from a fellow blogger, Melinda, of www.thewhenlife.com.
This website/blog is definitely one to read. The concept for her brand, When Life, is just too genuine and cool not to spend some time checking out. Basically, Melinda encourages people to share their stories, whatever they may be. She sees the value of people sharing and connecting with one another, and realizes that even if you don’t think much of your own story, it may touch someone else and create in them a feeling of belonging. Some of these stories are shown below if you want to read more.
I asked Melinda if I could share with all of you her story. I found it inspiring and it definitely struck a chord with me as a solopreneur or momprenuer- whatever we’re called these days. So without further adieu, here is Melinda’s story, or at least a part of it.
My story is by no means the worst story out there. There are way worse situations to have been in. And in some cases, mine might be worse than someone else’s. But regardless, it is all mine, and you have one that is all yours.
I was a pediatric bone marrow transplant nurse for a little over 14 years when my career abruptly ended in the Summer of 2016. My mother-in-law, my only consistent childcare, was being stretched thin between important obligations in other areas of her life and helping care for our 3 children.
Something had to give and it seemed like it only made sense that we put our daughter, Scarlett, in preschool with her brother Carter. However, preschool for 2 toddlers and specialized care for, my oldest son, Jack, who is on the more severe end of the Autism spectrum, is more than I make in a month.
I would have basically been paying to work. That option was not even remotely on the table. So, I thought, maybe I will ask and see if I can work PRN or as needed. That did not work out either. Can someone please show me what’s behind door number 3? Oh, nothing, ok. So, in went my notice.
I seriously had no clue what in the world I was going to do. I thought, ok, we should be good until after the holidays and then I will freak out. We pulled Carter out of preschool and told him he would be going to “Mommy School”, which he thought was the best idea ever. All I could think of was what would I possibly teach them in “Mommy School”, how to live on a shoe string budget and make meals stretch? How were we ever going to make it with a 50% reduction in our income? Despite these fears, I had such a peace deep down inside.
I was really excited and happy about having the opportunity to be home with my children. The past eight years had been such a roller coaster I often felt rushed and distracted when spending time with my family. I was surprised by the stigma attached to being a stay at home mom and amazed at how many people would be praying for me and my children. “When life gives you lemons, just make lemonade,” was a phrase that I heard so often it makes me cringe to hear it now.
Even the most stoic have their moments of weakness though. Mine was a frustrated crying breakdown in the shower one evening when I thought to myself, is leaving the only career you have ever known to stay home with your children, a “lemon?” Missing the income, sure that is a “lemon” I suppose, but really how big of a deal is this? Life throws a lot of “lemons,” and sometimes straight up poop but, later down the road some, if not most, situations just become a part of your past. Just a moment in time. A When Life moment.
For instance, my story includes marriage, divorce, and finding love again. I experienced the heartbreak of a miscarriage and later the birth of 3 children including one with a life-long disability. I cannot put into words the feeling of having a child with bright smiling eyes and hearing them say “momma” to having them look at you like a stranger with a blank stare and scream constantly.
I experienced every phase of the grief process for a child who was still very much alive. It would be around 15 months before I heard him say my name again. My husband and I spent the first 4 years of our marriage fighting for Jack’s right to an appropriate education; a case that ultimately ended up in the 11th Circuit Court.
I have spent years in family court with my ex-husband. Death has been no stranger to my family, losing 7 close family members in a span of 2 years. For the past year, I have battled my own health issues. Sure, I was nervous about becoming acclimated to being home more and adjusting financially, but this was a different type of stress. After walking out my last day at work, I suddenly felt like the possibilities were endless. I was determined to make “Mommy School” work and find a way to bring back the Melinda that I knew.
We did make an honest attempt at “Mommy School.” We worked on the basic preschool concepts in the beginning. Fast forward to present day and I’m almost positive Scarlett and Carter will be the only kindergartners familiar with terms such as sales tax reports and product line sheets. We’ve gone from A, B, C, D’s to B, L, O, G’s.
Here is the thing, we all have a story. Yes, everyone does. If you are reading this, take just a minute to look back and I can almost guarantee you have had an event or a moment that has either made you the person that you are or has made you say to yourself “I am not going to let this define who I am.” You have had something happen that stands out to you as either a humiliating moment you will never forget or a time when your heart has been filled with pride or sorrow to the point of bursting. But you know what is the best thing? You are not alone! There is not one person in this world that has experienced something that someone has not already been there/done that. That is the epitome of When Life. We all have a story, we all are born with the need to share it, and we all want to know we are not by ourselves.
Below are a few of Melinda’s When Life t-shirts and their links to purchase. They are so stinking cute and you can choose one that best represents you and your story. These are definitely conversation starters which again, relates back to Melinda’s mission to bring people together and support one another.
Thank you, Melinda, for your willingness to share your story, and your inspirational brand. You are truly using the internet as a positive force in bringing people together and showing the reality and messiness of life. It’s so refreshing to see and I’m happy we are connected as bloggers.