Tag Archives: Working Mom

Embracing the Quick Change

I’m married to an actor.  I hear there’s a thing called a “quick change” in which you have to take off one costume and put on another …well, quickly.  Usually this is because the actor is playing multiple parts or in different scenes.

I had a stunning revelation the other night that womanhood in general, and my life in particular, is much like live theater in this regard.

I had this revelation around midnight lying on the floor of my daughters’ room.  There I was in striped flannel pajama pants and a VBS t-shirt, wrapped up in a Backyardigans blanket waiting for Lucy & Penny to fall asleep so I could army crawl out of their room and into my cozy bed that kept beckoning me. (Scene note: Parents, don’t judge.  We are transitioning Penny into a toddler bed and sharing a room with her sister.  We don’t always lie on the floor nightly until our children fall asleep.  But sometimes you gotta do what you’ve gotta do.)

10 minutes prior to that scene I was in a black cocktail dress and 4 inch heels returning home from an awards banquet where Starving Artist Productions had been nominated in several categories.  (Scene note:  A ballroom full of theater people is…no note can prepare you sufficiently for this, actually.)

Earlier that day I was kicking off my pumps to jump on the trampoline with my family in my church clothes.  This was after I shed the apron I was donning while making quiche and cutting fruit for brunch, which was an hour after I took my fancy magnetic nametag off of my red sweater to hand to Lucy to play with while pulling out of the parking lot of the church where I work.

We often say that women wear many hats, or perhaps in this analogy, many costumes.  It’s true.  We are constantly moving in and out of scenes, changing roles.  It makes for a busy, full life.   Some days all the hats and quick changes can run us ragged and leave us wondering who we are- which character we are and which ones we are just “playing.”  Which parts we wish we could play, which roles would be more glamorous.  Which ones are boring and which ones are fun.  Which ones we wish got more stage time and which ones we resent having been cast in.

I certainly have those days.

But as I pondered all of life being like a stage while lying on the floor last night in my flannel pajamas, my feet throbbing from excessively tall shoes, my eyes heavy due to a lack of sleep that comes with raising toddlers, my heart was grateful.  Grateful for all the quick changes to remind me of who I am and who & what I love the most.  All these parts we play, as it were, aren’t meant to confuse or cause compartmentalization or fragmentation or schizophrenia.  Rather, they are gifts that ground us and grow us.  They are gifts that keep us from painting ourselves and each other too broadly or flatly. They keep us humble and strong, needy and needed.

I’m embracing the quick change.

I’m calling it an honor to be entrusted with so many things to do and people to care for.

I’m believing that while I am more than the sum of the parts I play, each part helps to shape my life in profoundly beautiful and important ways.  I may not be exclusively defined by my roles, but I’m learning the grace that is letting my identity be informed and shaped by them.

Don’t Judge!

It’s taken me a long time to be content in not being great at everything.  Somewhere along the way I bought into a horrible lie that success looked like effortlessly excelling in every possible category.  And everyday I would come up short in my own expectations.  Shouldn’t I be able to lead innovative, challenging staff meetings by day, (complete with compelling illustrations and visually interesting presentations)  and be home just in time to whip up a meal out of Bon Appetit, sew a costume for my 3 yr old, order the most thoughtful birthday gift ever for my mother, bathe my 1 yr old, and fluff the couch pillows all before my community life group arrives at 7pm?

After Papa John’s provides dinner and the trip to Target solves the costume crisis, after foregoing bath time for a night and apologizing for the state of my house when our guests arrive, defeated Me would start in on a vicious cycle of faux problem solving to ensure success the next time around.  If I managed my time better, if I planned my meals further out, if I had a cleaning schedule, if I had an administrative assistant, if I created better rhythms- then surely I could do it all.  Surely.

I can’t pinpoint a moment when the revelation came, or perhaps I should say began.  Maybe it was during a 3am feeding a few months ago.  Maybe it was after staring at an overflowing email inbox or the dozen post-it notes that litter my office desk.  Maybe it was while sitting on a pew in a worship service.  But probably not.  It probably began with hearing honest stories of others. Those whom I always presumed were juggling life with great joy and grace and without stress or tears.  The idol of “effortless excellence in all things” began to crack.  Praise God.

One of my dearest friends is also a working mom.  She’s brilliant in her field, which is pretty demanding and time consuming. Simultaneously, she is raising 2 boys (hopefully one for each of my girls 40 yrs from now!) which we all know is a mammoth calling in and of itself.  She & I share a saying.  It’s always delivered with a bit of humor and a lot of sass.  And it’s always received with smile.  It usually comes at the end of a confession of sorts and it goes something like this, “my house looks like I’ve been robbed. Don’t judge.” Or “Why yes, I am still in my pajamas.  Don’t judge.”  Or “I can’t make it tonight, I’ve got a work function.  Don’t judge.”  It’s our way of asking for grace from each other.  It’s our way of acknowledging that we can’t do it all, at least not all of time. And it’s a great reminder that no one, the Lord especially, is expecting us to.

If I Had a Blog…

In recent weeks, after being inspired by the brilliant bloggers that surround me, I found myself often thinking, “If I had a blog, I’d write a post about ___!”  And ___ would inevitably be whatever soapbox I was on in that moment.  I had great reasons for not starting a blog.  Everyone has a blog.  I’d be 6-8 years late to the blogging party.  Blogs are dying by the droves as of late.  Lots of people start blogs with great gusto only to abandon them & their audiences 3 months into the journey.  Spare time is M.I.A. for T. Rouse in this particular season of life.  Yet none of these reasons (read: excuses) were sufficient in refuting the nagging urge to speak to anyone who wants to listen to what little I know and how much I’m learning about ministry, leadership, family, friendship, and whatever other randomness enters my life on any given day!

So, here’s the deal:

I am the Executive Pastor at Renovatus: a church for people under renovation, as we like to say.  One of my primary responsibilities at the church is leading our staff.  As such, I am often times a sounding board for them and at least daily a head will pop in my office and say, “Do you have any thoughts on blahblahblah?” to which I almost always reply with great enthusiasm, “I have thoughts about everything!  All of the time!”  Thus, blogging seems like a good outlet for some of these thoughts.

And while I don’t presume my life to be that “different” than most, I am a working mom in full-time ministry.  I am married to an actor & producer who also is the best stay-at-home dad you’ll ever meet.  So, I think it’s fair to say that our family dynamic is a bit nontraditional.  And by nontraditional, I mean amazing.  Marriage and parenting, no matter what the dynamic, are always thought-provoking, amen?!

I get to live and work and play with some of the most beautiful people on the planet, all of whom teach me a lot about what it means to be human.

And in all my spare time (time that will be intentionally carved out and created- not randomly found or stumbled into) I will choose to spend some of it sharing my story and never-ending thoughts with you!