Whether by choice or not, a lot of folks have been spending more time at home these days. And from what I can tell, it seems there’s a lot to love, and some things most folks could do without. For me, since making the decision to transition from working as a physician to becoming a stay-at-home mom (read about why I made that decision here), I’ve been most surprised by the way in which my life has changed overall. I knew my day-to-day would obviously be different, however, I didn’t realize how much I would benefit personally from having the freedom and flexibility to plan my day as I choose. Moreover, not only have I benefited, but my entire family has as well! So here are the five surprising ways in which I’ve benefited from staying home.
1. Improved Home & Personal Health
When I was working, my days were long and busy. Although the same is true now, I was at the behest of someone else, and as a result, other areas of my life suffered. I would spend an hour and a half commuting to work, eating whatever I could grab for breakfast as I drove. Throughout the day, I would munch on whatever “healthy” packaged foods the hospital had to offer, then drive back home for another hour and a half, so I could cook dinner and do what chores needed to be done, just to sleep for a few hours. Then, the next day I would wake up, and do it all over again. Now my days are planned around what my family needs, and that includes taking care of myself. I exercise five days a week, cook fresh, plant-based meals, and sleep for at least seven hours every night. I have the ability to incorporate sunshine and fresh air into every day for myself and the kids, and we’re all the better for it!
What’s more? I now have the time to learn and think about what I introduce into our family’s home environment. As a result, we’ve been able to significantly reduce our plastic usage, transition to drinking filtered water, reduce radiation exposure, and clean up our home & beauty products like cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, make-up and everything else in between. (Read about my transition to a cleaner, greener home here).
Being able to do this showed me how much the “rat race,” can invariably affect every part of your life.
Which brings me to my next surprising benefit.
2. Ability to be Present with my Friends & Family
Now of course, this was one of the primary motivators for deciding to make this life transition in the first place, but aside from my children, I’ve been able to be present for the other people I love as well. Being available for weddings, graduations, and birthday parties was something I used to dream of. Now, I can usually move things around to do exactly that. I’m able to check-in on friends I haven’t heard from in a while, visit them when I can, and although I’m certainly not perfect, I can connect in a more meaningful way with those who matter most.
3. Having More Time to Invest in Our Marriage
Just last week, I was speaking to a friend about the pandemic and all the increased time everyone has been spending at home. She then asked, in reference to my husband and myself, “Do you really not get tired of each other? Do you genuinely still “like” each other?” It felt good to be able to respond with a confident “Yes!” Of course life has its ups and downs (read about our marital woes here), but at the end of every day we can honestly say we love each other and are grateful for every moment we have to spend together (Even if that is 24/7 😂 ). Staying home has allowed us to be able to invest in each other in ways big and small. We are intentional with planning date nights and showing that we love each other throughout the day. It’s the little things I suppose!
I should mention here that while I was working, DJ and I pretty much had an unspoken agreement that our marriage would suffer for the time being, so that once I finished residency, we could have the time to invest in each other. Terrible idea, and thankfully we now get to do that everyday!
4. Being Able to Develop New Skills
Primarily out of necessity, I’ve since had the opportunity to learn things I never knew how to do. For example, being a family of four and living on one salary, necessitates some thriftiness and budgeting. As a result, I’ve learned how to cut Micah’s hair (read about that here), and have since had the privilege of cutting the hair of many of my family members. The same goes for my newest skill—web design. Since designing the website for this blog, I’ve created a number of sites for myself and for family as well.
Which brings me to the most obvious benefit of all—blogging! I certainly wasn’t a blogger before, and prior to this life change, would’ve never considered it. But now, here we are! I’m so grateful for the opportunity and for you for reading!
5. We Moved to NC!
Moving to North Carolina was a long-time dream of ours and was something we only thought would be possible after I completed my training. With our newfound flexibility and a special calling from God (read about that here), we were able to move much sooner than we thought possible.
What’s more? We’re now living the life we’ve always wanted, sooner than we could’ve dreamed.
We say ‘Once I understand, then I’ll obey; but God asks ‘Obey first, then you’ll understand.’