Stop and Pause: One Mom’s Step Back into the Home

Several weeks ago, after working full-time for the last 10 years Carolyn Nagler lost her job and made the decision not to take a lesser position, but rather to return home to spend more time with her daughters and pursue her dreams of writing. Read more on how her experience in the first few weeks unfolded.

I lost my job in January.  Outside of maternity leaves, I’ve always worked outside the home, so this new circumstance left me a little woozy. I wondered how life would be without a daily destination and duty.  I fantasized about my new life.  I knew this was going to be MY TIME.  An opportunity for me to figure out why I’m here, other than to wipe noses and referee bare knuckle fights between two or more of my children.

The fantasy lasted for all of 24 hours before my dreams of marabou fluffy slippers and pink bon bons were snatched away by the NYC school bus strike.  Instead of reading through the seventeen books on my nightstand, taking up CrossFit, and becoming the most buff and well read woman in the world I felt miserable and defeated.  “I didn’t plan this!” I wailed to any of my friends and family that would listen.  “It wasn’t supposed to be this way!”  Oh no.  I had plans.  Big plans.  And this unpleasant detour, which was completely out of my control, was not part of those big plans.  It was hard to swallow.

I made it through the first weeks of my unemployment and all of my “unplans.” The buses are back, and all the kids are back in school.  Hurrah!  TODAY IS MY DAY.  An exciting first foray into having the “day that I planned” – the one where I’ve finished a workout rivaled only by the most accomplished of athletes, had a power shake (whatever that is), and finally manage to both start AND finish “Team of Rivals.”  Except, in the peaceful tranquility of my empty house, as Elgar lulls me into my present,  something huge has dawned on me.  Something wonderful.

What actually happened while I was sulkily not doing what I had planned, is that I was doing something that I really needed to do a whole lot more. I was taking a complete break from myself, my plans, my control.  I was going with the proverbial flow.   And I didn’t even know it!  As I emerge from the last few weeks I realize that I have learned something far more important than anything I had planned to do with a seated leg press.  I needed to stop, or at the very least, pause.  I needed these abominations of my plans to make me just stop trying to control and manage everything, all the time.

Of course I want to read the books that sit woefully neglected on my nightstand.  And I should definitely work out more.  And I will.  But there is a power in letting go, and allowing the universe to carry you, even if you initially struggle against it.  I do believe that the universe will always bring you what you need, and you can certainly help that process along but remaining open to all of its possibilities.  I’m a long way from the quiet wisdom of Eckhart Tolle and I could definitely still learn a thing or two from oh, I don’t know, your average yoga teacher.  But without even trying I’m rejuvenated.  I’m settling into myself in a way that I never could have done if I’d been completely in the driving seat.  It’s not lemons and lemonade.  That’s still manipulating something, working it, controlling it.  It’s meeting the things in front of you and allowing them to teach you the very thing they’ve been put there to teach you whether you want it or not.

And that is one thing I didn’t know that I needed to know.  Until I knew it.

Carolyn Nagler