You can have it all, but not all at once.

They say that change is the only constant in life. That’s certainly held true for me.

Lately, the winds have been shifting for our little family here in Central Texas. One big change just came sweeping through, we’re preparing for another big change to come, and I can see still one more on the horizon ahead.

For me, personally, one of the biggest changes ahead is that this fall, both of my girls will head to full-day school for the first time–which means that for the first time in seven years, I won’t be caring for the little people at home for the majority of my day.

Seven years ago, I left the workforce and became a full-time stay-at-home-mom. It was a huge sacrifice for us financially, but to be honest, it was also a really difficult role for me to assume. Don’t misunderstand: it wasn’t a difficult decision for me – I had no doubt that I wanted to do it – but it was still a difficult role.

I’d always been the over-achiever, the big dreamer, the one who went after her goals and made things happen. To suddenly find myself at home alone all day with my precious baby girl who depended on me to meet her every need–well, it was wonderful, yet terrifying; lonely, yet beautiful; depressing, yet fulfilling.

Over the years since, it’s gotten easier and harder. We’ve added another girl to our family through the miracle of adoption, and they’ve both grown older and more independent, yet in some ways they still need their mama more than ever.

And I’m okay with that. In fact, I love it. I will miss them both so very much next school year, I know that.

But I’m also looking forward to this new season. And I use the word “season” intentionally. One of the biggest things I’ve learned since I became a mother seven years ago is that just as seasons change in nature, so too do they change in life. Wherever I find myself, in whatever season, it rarely lasts for long. Change is a constant.

We’ve gone through many seasons as a family. Some were harder than others; some were longer and some were shorter (and some were short but felt long!).

Seasons change for us as people, too. Our dreams may be set aside for awhile, or for good. Our goals change, new career plans are made, new dreams are born. I’ve given seven years to being a full-time mama with littles at home, and during this season, I’ve set aside many of my own dreams and plans and goals. I don’t regret a moment of it.

But I always knew that it was only for this season. There is both grief and beauty in that truth, that this season–though it has often felt interminable–will indeed end someday. And when that day comes, some of the dreams that I set aside can be picked up again, or new dreams can be pursued. And there is both grief and beauty there, as well–beginnings and endings all interwoven together, so bittersweet.

I once heard someone say that you can have it all, but you can’t have it all at once. There is much wisdom in those words, and I do my best to remember them as I look at the arc of my life. I know that in our fast-paced world, we’re told to “seize the day”, and I understand the sentiment behind it, but in some ways, that mentality does us a disservice.

The pressure to seize the day and make the most of every moment can rob us of our joy in the present. But it can also destroy the measured, patient hope we have for our future, looking ahead at other seasons to come and trusting that the dreams we’ve had to put up on the shelf will still be there waiting for us when we’re ready to dust them off again.

Because the truth is that we really can’t have it all at once, but someday, I hope to be able to look back over my life and say that I did indeed have it all in the end.

22 Comments

  1. Maggie

    Such truth in these words!

  2. Charissa

    I needed this today!! Thank you!!

  3. Jenn @ A Simple Haven

    Love this. It’s reassuring to remember in the midst of challenging seasons :).

    I think this is why I need to talk more with moms who are further “down the road” than me–it helps me better appreciate the season I’m in and be assured that the challenges inherent in it won’t last for ever.

    PS, love & miss central Texas :).

  4. Jlynn

    Beautiful and thought provoking words, whether you have children or not. Seasons are a part of all of our lives.

    You can have it all, just not all at once. Very true words to remember.

    Thank you

  5. Janie

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV)

    • Holly S

      love this verse!

  6. Jenny

    I LOVE this post!! I need to print it up and read it every morning. It is so easy to get caught up in all the things that aren’t getting done, but I need to focus on all the things that are happening now in my life. And I can have it all, just not right this second. Thank you for this!

  7. Lauren Hanson

    This was beautifully written. I know there will be a day, when children come, that my occupation will change to SAHM. It’s nice to see, through your story, the blessings and challenges that will come with that new role. It’s healthy for me to see all the emotions that are OKAY to feel when making this change. It’s OKAY to love it and hate it at the same time. What a relief!

  8. Sharon Holbrook at sharonholbrook.com

    Yes, ALL of this. I’m at the end of the preschool years (almost – one more year), and it’s both exciting and overwhelming to see my role changing before my eyes. Just, I guess, as it did when I first stayed at home with my kids 9 years ago. Thank you!

  9. Becky Kopitzke

    As I read this post, I felt like I was getting a talking-to from myself. We have so many similarities in our seven years of parenting joys and challenges. My younger daughter starts part-time preschool in the fall, so I am trying to walk that tightrope between loving every minute of still having her home for another year and yet looking ahead to what might come next for me. I don’t want one to negate the other. Blessings to you today, Katie!

  10. Dee

    I agree with you. And, I don’t. Crazy, I know! I think it’s true that life has seasons, but they are sometimes endless or on some perpetuating cycle. The season I am in has been so darn long, so repetitive, so endless! I’m so ready for a new season but nothing I try to do seems to switch the season off!

  11. Caroline Starr Rose

    Beautiful. I remember these years and wish you all my best!

  12. Natalie

    Beautiful sentiments! The sessions are changing on us right now literally, and I am having to adjust to having two littles at home all the time with no preschool to bail me out! It’s always good to remind oneself that these seasons do pass. Good luck with your next one!

  13. Mary Ann

    In my own experience, my children are now adults, recharge yourself during this time they are physically at school because they will be coming home and you want to be fully present for them. Take time for yourself and your interests, but they will need you fully and in a different way than when they were younger and home full time!

  14. Robyn

    this is beautiful! Thoughts that i’ve had before, but had never put words too.

  15. Holly S

    This is beautifully written and how I exactly felt as I shifted from working full time to being a SAHM (7 years) to re-entering the work force part time 3 years ago when my youngest started kindergarten. I loved my time at home with them and will always cherish that season in life! I am so grateful, that we were able to do that as well. It went so quick, even though at times it seemed slow. Best of luck as your seasons change.

  16. Stephanie@Mrs.Debtfighter

    Love this post! I guess you can say we are in a transition season…my youngest is starting Kindergarten in the fall and I am trying to figure out my (our) next step. So many thoughts running through my head! 🙂

  17. Kelli

    Lovely gentle reminder that life is all about change. This past season I have been focused on enjoying the ride – including the bumpy times.

  18. jill

    exactly today!
    as i headed downstairs to start a creative project, cup of mint tea in hand, i heard my littlest one crying awake. oy, that really grates sometimes. the goal: instead of balking at the “difficulties,” to thank the Lord for what they are IN THIS TIME. as you said, seasons change! i don’t want to be caught wishing i’d paid better attention while i was in the toddler stage (for the 4th time), crying & all. 🙂

  19. Rachelle

    Thank you so much. Beautifully written. You are one more way that God is telling me to enjoy and trust that this season is exactly what He has for me right now. Never intended to be a SAHM, but three years later I know home is where I needed be.

  20. Amy

    I remember hearing Oprah say this 20+ years ago and thought…so true! If I remember correctly it was her answer to why she never had children. As a mom of twenty somethings now. I know it has been very true in my life; and really helped with the pressure from others to do it all right now. When my youngest went off to school for the first time. I had several people encourage me to take the year and just be still. Enjoy having an empty house and time to just be. I didn’t listen and instead started volunteering for all sorts of things and filled up my free time with activities. It is probably one the of few things that if I could do over I would. I have always wished I had heeded that advise. So, now I always encourage the young moms in my life, that are in that season, to wait a year. Just relax that first year and listen for direction.

  21. Sandra

    yes, you are right, we never can have it all at the same time, probably Life will not be so meaningful after have it all

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