Years ago, my husband and I discovered he had the opportunity at work to take on a huge project. Though risky and uncharted territory for the company, it had the potential to change our financial future completely.
The catch? We would have to spend approximately 50% of our time in a city four hours away for two years.
At the time, our kids were 23 months and 9 months old.
We lived in Cedar Rapids, very close to my in-laws, and my brother and his wife. We had no friends or relatives in Omaha, where we were about to put down temporary roots. The prospect made me nervous and insecure.
Up until this point, I always had help nearby if I needed it. Someone to watch the kids if I had an appointment, someone to let our dog out if we would be gone for the day… the security of knowing someone was always close in case of emergency.
When we moved our lives to Omaha, my security blanket seemingly disappeared.
On top of the chaos of “moving” every two weeks, my husband and I had to drive separately. Most of the time, I had to take both kids myself. I logged four-hour car rides with a baby and a toddler every two weeks…. I cannot tell you how character-building this period was!
Of course, these things were outside my comfort zone, and I didn’t WANT to do many of them. But I had no choice, so I put my head down and trucked through.
And the things that were so difficult at first- unimaginable to some of my friends and family members- started to feel relatively simple as time passed.
Not having a family to rely on in Omaha gave me a completely different mindset while we were there. Things I “couldn’t do with kids” in tow before became things I “had to do with kids” now. My eyes were opened to the reality that many moms without solid support systems face.
My level of independence skyrocketed in a way I would never have experienced without leaving my previously comfortable routine.
Sometimes, I think about what a blessing this experience was, and so early as a mother! Things I used to view as challenging or insurmountable became just another day at the office.
And not because I’m some superhuman wonder mom- but because the fear of the unknown is often much worse than experiencing it.
Being without my “village” forced me to get my hands dirty sometimes and just suck it up! I didn’t realize the refinement that my character needed until I was forced to face my shortcomings instead of avoiding them by asking for assistance.
Now, as we enter a new season of life where my husband has been traveling constantly again (and we have three kids now), that period provides a foundation and a reference that I still need.
When my husband and I looked at the calendar earlier this year, we realized that between work trips and another big job starting (in Omaha again!), he would be gone for about half the time of six months. And somehow, I felt an unusual peace.
Years ago, as a new mom, that situation would’ve caused me to spiral. Fear, doubt, panic. How would I survive? You just do.
And with the right mindset, it doesn’t have to be as hard as you imagine.
We can’t travel with him now that our two oldest kids are in school. However, I do look forward to being able to join him sometime during summer break. A few years back, having three kids in a hotel room alone while he worked all day would’ve sent shivers down my spine.
But once you’ve done the “hard things” over and over, they lose their fear-inducing luster.
This might be easy for me to say as we are incredibly fortunate to plant our permanent roots in a place where we have a family. While I gained much-needed independence, it helped to know that a safety net was waiting for me back at home.
For those of you who do not have that net or that village, I see you. I pray that you break that cycle and become the village for your children that you never had.
For those of you with a wonderful village full of loving family and friends, I am so happy for you! But don’t let the allure of comfort and convenience stunt your personal growth and independence.
Leaving my village was one of the best things I ever did. And I never would’ve done it by choice.
The hard things force you to surrender the illusion of control. They can make you mentally tougher if you lean into refinement. Use that strength to help others.
Do not envy those who have it “easy.” The only thing ease produces is a lack of growth and understanding.
Love your tribe, your village, if you have one. Create your own if you don’t. And don’t be afraid to experience life without a security blanket.
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