A vocation is not necessarily where we thought we would end up. Instead, a vocation is where God calls us to journey towards Him. In short, it is how He makes us saints. And that, my friends, is the meaning of life: to be a saint. We either choose to answer is call or we don’t. To be quite honest, I still struggle with openly answering His call in my life. Being a homemaker, was not what I had envisioned for myself. I have imagined myself having a career since childhood. I guess that is just what a child of the 80s and 90s did, even though my own mother took a long break from working to stay home with us. I also did not get married until I was 29, so I had been working for over a decade and I had lived all over.
I guess I left behind the notion of a big city career at some major university when I moved away from Washington DC for the last time. I did not know it then, but I was making a choice for the life I wanted to lead. I had really enjoyed city life for most of my Twenties, but by the last part of that decade of my life, I was burned out. I craved quiet and nature. And while DC is still my favorite city, whenever I go back, I know that I made the right choice. It is not where I want to raise a family.
When I met my husband we had agreed that we would homeschool our children. Not only to raise them in the faith, but to ensure that they get a good education. We are both products of public school and knew that we wanted more for our children. Not to mention that my time working in public school during college, showed me just how much things have changed since I graduated. I also knew that I did not want my children raised in a daycare. I had to make some touch choices and that is when I made the choice to be a stay-at-home mom and homemaker.
I think my mind began to change when I started to think of marriage and parenthood as a vocation, rather than a relationship and job. I started to see that love and my family require sacrifices. It meant that I no longer come first. A truth that I still struggle with greatly. When I had my daughter it became even more clear to me that I belonged at home. That did not make it easy
I am the type of person who enjoys being engaged intellectually. I like a challenge, I enjoy study, I am passionate about teaching, and I want to write. Staying home with a two year old presents great challenges to these God given drives of mine. It is difficult to feel intellectually stimulated when your day is full of incomplete sentences, diapers, and play. My friends know when I have been in the house too long. I talk incessantly. Some days I am on the computer way too much, because I want adult conversation.
Here’s the paradox, when I fight against my vocation, I am the most unhappy. Even though laundry, dishes, and playing house do not give me intellectual stimulation, they bring me the most peace. That is because I am doing the right thing staying home with my daughter. It is a great sacrifice, and I would not change anything. God is making me a saint here in my home. He is teaching me how to put others before myself, something that I greatly lack. He is increasing my capacity for joy through my daughter and husband. He is showing me the Little Way. I am sanctified here, not out in the world.
If I had stayed on my previous path and pursued a high powered career, I do not think that I would be where I am spiritually. I probably would not even be married, because meeting men in DC is a lot like trying to find a good man at a fraternity. I had to give up that life in order to find God’s real calling. Sure I have moments of nostalgia and miss it, but I would miss my daughter and my husband infinitely more.
Yes, I will still have days that I will fight this “ordinary life”. But, that is a part of my journey. That is the Divine Gardener pruning away at my imperfections and sin. That is not to say that my path is your path. We all have to discern where God is calling us in the different stages of our life. Who knows what God has in store up ahead?!