Our youngest two children have been sharing their secret around the prairie, in the only two places they know to share: at daycare and pre-school. “My mommy is going to quit her job! But it is a secret…”, was Miss E’s version she told some friends. “No moah Bizmahck” (No more Bismarck) was Miss A’s breaking news.
Then I walked in the door on Thursday night and Miss A came running to me to, “No moah Bizmahck!” and Miss E said, “Is it not a secret anymore that you are quitting your job, Mommy?” said Miss E.
I replied, “Nope!”
Miss E piped up, “Good. Because I told my teacher today.”
It is true. I quit my job this week.
|Farewell as I left the Capitol after turning in my resignation|
After much angst and analysis, my husband and I decided that it was time to make a leap of faith. The list is long on why I chose to make this decision now. First, I am going to address the family aspect and at a later date maybe I will dig deeper into the longer list.
First and foremost, I am a mom and wife. I have been a mother for going on 16 years. Motherhood has been apart of my entire adult life. At the end of my earthly life, I want to be remembered for the difference I made in the lives of people in my community, state, country and even around the world but I want to be remembered most importantly for the impact I had in the lives of my children and family.
I am also a daily partner to my husband. He is my best friend and fan. He has a family business that is growing right now in the strong North Dakota economy. It has been pulling at me for months that this is my time to take on a different role in our family for my husband to spend more time in the business and transition more responsibilities from his parents so they can enjoy more down time in their later years. With my career, my husband has taken on the role of taking the girls to daycare, picking them up, often the one who takes them to the doctor when they are sick, gets to their activities ahead of me and he does it all with no complaints. I started to add up the hours that if I wasn’t driving three hours a day to commute to my job at the North Dakota Capitol what that could do for our family life.
|My last morning commute sunrise|
It would give my husband at a minimum 10-15 hours more a week to devote to our family business that he normally would spend doing family activities while I am away at work. It would allow me to spend more time with our children, less daycare, more time for play dates, swimming lessons, t-ball and for me not to be the last mom to show up to Hunter’s numerous activities.
Secondly, I love agriculture, food and farmers. I love strategy, communications, advocating, policy making and government relations. And anyone who knows me that no matter where I travel, in the first 30 seconds of talking to me, you know I love North Dakota. I have loved public service to North Dakota taxpayers as I have worked in state government. But I now have an opportunity to return to the private sector, have more control of my schedule, take on some consulting work and continue my passions while sharing my voice.
It is a leap of faith.
There is no guaranteed paycheck, no state benefits with healthcare and retirement. We have to cut back on expenses and tighten the family budget belt. On a daily basis, I will miss the colleagues that are subject matter experts in so many areas of agriculture I previously did not know about until this time of public service in my life. I will hugely miss the team members that I worked with daily on programs that I believe are shining stars in our state government like the Pride of Dakota program and our international exporting programs. The friendships I have made are life-long and will continue. The respect I have for our other state agency heads and numerous dedicated state employees, our law making process, our legislators and leadership will continue. I hope to return to public service someday. As I told Miss A, I hope I do work in “Bismahck” again as it is our State Capitol and a town that I love in the heart of the state that I love.
But today is a new chapter.
As good friend shared with me, “Women can have it all. Just not all at once.”
|A new chapter starts today|
For now, having it all includes more family time. This chapter has me firmly planted on the rural North Dakota prairie. I am beginning a role professionally as a consultant in the areas I am passionate about and once my business website is complete I will share it with you. Most importantly, this chapter is more family focused than ever before and will allow the flexibility for our family that we need to allow our small business to grow while allowing me to have more time as a stay-at-home mom, working consultant, advocating speaker (link to a recent recap from one of my presentations) and community volunteer.
I am so thankful for the friends, family and colleagues that encouraged me, prayed for me and offered me insight to make this leap of faith.
There has been a Bible verse that has been with me since I was 19 years old. I found it when I was a terrified young mother in the middle of the night. In the last month while I contemplated this decision, I have seen the same Bible verse everywhere from on poster on the wall, on Facebook, written to me by a friend in a text message and in a coffee shop on a mug. I knew God was making sure I remembered it.
Hunter’s response to this new chapter for me as a mom was not as encouraging as Joshua 1:9. He wanted a realistic definition of what I was going to be doing.
He said, “So, are you going to be like a real stay-at-home mom?”
I said, “What does a real-stay-at-home mom do?
Hunter smiled and said, “You know, do laundry during the day and clean my room.”
I’m not known for my skills at keeping the house picked up or ever finishing the laundry.
|Smile through leaps of faith|
The truth is, I am probably never going to be a real stay-at-home mom in Hunter’s definition. But I am going to be around more often for little moments with each of our kids, assisting my husband where needed while finding ways to grow personally and professionally. I know I will never regret this change.
Leaps of faith require courage, perseverance and a little planning. If I had perfectly planned this leap of faith, I would have never made it. Instead, I am diving into unknown waters with a renewed spirit and a zest for tackling new challenges and opportunities…and that might even include doing laundry during the day. Maybe one day. To appease my son.
What’s a leap of faith you have made?