These days, my planner is empty.
It used to be full.
As a Software Engineer, every bullet point had purpose. My days mattered because I loved what I was creating, and also, in truth, because I was getting paid.
As a Stay at Home Mom with littles, my lists were filled with tasks that were never previously important enough to make the list. Things like grocery shopping and meal planning and cleaning and keeping little humans alive. But after transitioning out of the workforce, my sense of purpose faltered, so I created lists to prove to myself that my work still mattered.
As a Campus Minister, my lists were filled with a mixture of tasks that desperately needed completion combined with infinite invisible bullet points checked multiple times a day as teens wandered into my office for a conversation. Campus Ministry was a beautiful combination of projects I could hold up to show what I had done interwoven with the best part of motherhood — the part that always makes time to listen to and know the people under your care.
Campus Ministry broke me, though. This duality of purpose left me exhausted.
These days I am a Stay at Home Mom of teens, but some would say I am simply unemployed. My planner is empty, and I am wondering if the work I am doing matters enough to continue living in this space.
Since leaving Campus Ministry, I have written half a book, posted countless blog posts, learned how to code in Java, taught myself how to design web pages and then coded one for a friend. I have baked scones and pop tarts, made actual not from the TJ freezer food for dinner, driven my kids to and from school, hustled to impromptu covid tests, and managed to avoid deep cleaning the house. I have read through my library stacks, learned about the Constitution, listened to my Black and Native neighbors’ stories, prayed Rosaries, engaged with scripture, encouraged friends, and, oh, sat in classrooms as a substitute teacher.
I love my life right now, but aside from substitute teaching, none of this pays the bills and part of me keeps asking if this work is okay. When is the work I am doing considered necessary and when is it privilege? What line must I cross for my creating to move from selfish desire to co-creation with God? Is it simply trusting God placed me here? Is it getting paid? What is it that gives us purpose?
And that, my friends, is what is on my mind today as I try to fill my planner.