Friday, May 28, 2010

on this whole quantity/quality thing...

I was reading here this afternoon and decided I really should share this story.

About 4 years ago, as a "gift" from my BeautiControl director, I was given a one hour session with a life coach. It was to help me "see the big picture", "grow my success", and to help me "find inner peace and balance."

So, in my old home at Sandbranch, the complete upstairs of an addition was this beautiful room that, at that time, served as my office. It had a large 4X8 picture window where my computer and desk were, so there I sat while I was on this lovely phone call that was to open my eyes.

As I listened to this gentleman from CA try to encourage me to find balance in life, I spun around in my chair, and outside of that beautiful window, I see my 3 year old Emma Rae running up the hill to her grandma and grandpas who lived behind us. I had put her down for a nap, and obviously, she had gotten up while I was distracted and was letting herself out to go for a visit.

As I watch her pawpaw receive her warmly, I hear this coach of living on the other end start to explain to me what my director's goal was for our call. "I have heard a lot about you Jamie. It seems you are quite a young lady. I hear you juggle being a wife, a mother of two, and have built a rather large business, even earning the coveted Mustang, with BeautiControl. Your director tells me you seem to be off track all of the sudden. You're feeling overwhelmed and are talking about letting it all go to home school your children and not be so distracted."

He continues, "I have a son, Jamie. His mother and I are the presidents of this coaching firm. We have worked so hard that we now can afford to have him educated in the best school there is in our area. Now, don't get me wrong, I know that it is a sacrifice for her and I to work so many hours, but the sacrifice is worth it. He is excelling in his schooling, and when we see him on the weekends, we make the best memories doing whatever he wants to do! Now Jamie, he is a happy kid."

"Um, I'm sorry Mr. S______, but what was that?", surely I haven't heard what I just think I heard...

"Well, our son stays on campus at this Middle School from Monday through Saturday mornings. It works best because of the time and effort put into his education, they don't need to have them distracted with home life. That way he can be focused on what is important through the week, his mother and I can be focused on what is important through the week, and then we can come together for quality time. That is what it is about Jamie, quality time. Not quantity. You do realize that statistics show that mothers who work spend as much, if not more, quality time with their children as those who supposedly stay at home, don't you?"

"Well, I have heard that quoted before, but well, we don't exactly, um, how should I say this..."

"Listen Jamie, I'm sure you have some people who may influence you that have good intentions, but from what I have heard from your director, to give up what you have worked so hard for is senseless. Why not keep sacrificing a measly 30 hours a week so that your children can go to the schools they want to go to, and you can afford to give them a start to life that otherwise you won't be able to? Your kids will grow up to appreciate this sacrifice for them. I guarantee it. So, tell me, how many parties do you have booked for next month? Will it be enough to get you over this negative way of thinking and get you back in the game?"

By this time PawPaw RayRay has returned the rebellious parolee back home, and with the door locked and her in my sight, I was focused on trying to end this call without insulting this poor, ignorant man.

"Mr. S_________, let me just say I do appreciate where you are coming from. It seems that your household is running just as you would have it to, but for us, well, we see a different calling on our life. Not that the money BeautiControl could make me wouldn't be helpful with some things, but to be honest, that sacrifice isn't worth it to us. I'd rather not have to make the decision between quality or quantity anymore. I'd rather just work at both for now."

The conversation ended with him assuring me I would regret this decision. And then was followed with months, and now it has been years, of controversy from many around me as I began to live out my "take" on how BeautiControl, or maybe other direct sales if that is the case, should be for those who want to work, not for those who are working at being full-time wives and mothers.

Gina was right, just being here counts for something. At a home school conference a few weeks ago, a lady made a wonderful analogy, which I plan on referencing a lot on some upcoming blogs, about our children being a blank, brand new, clean notebook. The conversations our children have, the places are children go, and all the things our children see and hear are written on that notebook with an ink pen.

I have thought about that a lot since then, and it came to mind again as I tried to reckon how much quality time we have had lately. This post is getting too long, as usual, so let me end with just saying hope is that in 10 years, you could take the weight of the pages written from quality time of fishing, vacationing, playing cards, and doing cool crafts and when compared to the weight of the pages written from quantity time of singing Sara Groves in the car as we run errands, them reading quietly in their room while I blog, them helping to bring order to the house with specific chores, and them playing outside unattended while I mark things off my to-do list inside, you would find that although the quality time helped to form wonderful memories and reinforce them feeling loved, it was in the quantity times of daily life that their character was matured.

No one is counting how much quality vs quantity time we have with our kids. But I can assure you, it is leaving it's writings on those clean pages. How will the quantity of your child's notebook read in ten years? and more importantly, who will be able to take credit as contributing authors?


  1. I admire you so much for the stand you have taken, and I'm so glad you are a friend who is on this journey with me. We moms need to encourage each other and lift each other up, 'cause we all know, "it ain't easy."

  2. Great post Jamie! You really just can't have it both ways...a successful career and home life. Something (or more likely someone) is going to suffer. I made my decision to be a wife and stay at home mom early in my life and received lots of flack for it-much of it from Christians. Despite all that, I always had an overwhelming sense of peace about my choices-the Grace of God. You are a blessing for speaking out; keep it up!

  3. Jamie - I read this in a hurry one day a while back, and didn't really have the time to comment that day. I came back today, slowed down and really read it again. It brought tears to my eyes.

    No one knows (unless they've done it themselves) how important it is to be here with these kiddos daily. I feel called to it. I know it's my ministry.

    I've received some flack as well. I graduated with honors, and was one of 20 out of 300 to be accepted into this accelerated RN nursing program in NC way back in the day. I finished 1 of the 2 years. I was miserable. My house and marriage were suffering. I was suffering inside. Long story short, I quit. My mom (and financial backer) was NOT HAPPY with me. My explanation to her - "I just want to be a mommy." This was before I ever had kids.

    It's very important to be with them. I'm so glad that I get the chance to mother them full-time, and I'm glad that I have a circle of other mommy's that "get it".

  4. i loved your blog today on modsquad!

  5. Gina, Trena, Shelly, thank you! The last few days of being stuck in the house due to sickness has been rough for me! I'm suffering from major insomnia tonight due to my nap from boredom earlier today! ha, so I'm tidying up the blog some...anyway, better late than never, thank you girls, I need good friends, and the Lord has blessed me with them! Tanya, it's great to have the positive feedback, thanks so much!