I am making a huge change on April 1st. March 31st is my last day as a working mom. I am switching gears and becoming a stay at home mom. In April, my kids will turn 3 and 1 and it feels like the right decision for our family. I’ve always worked, so I am a bit terrified about cutting back our income by almost 50%. I’m nervous about not feeling the triumphs of being a worker bee. You see, I like feeling accomplished, and I love solving problems. I like working. I like making my own money. I like spending my own money. I have always been fiercely independent. I’m scared. I’m afraid that leaving the workforce will stifle me in the future when I want to rejoin. I hate to say it, but I know there will be employers that will look at that gap in my resume and judge me for my decision to be with my kids. If we’re being perfectly honest, I don’t even know how much of my sense of self is tied to the corporate world, but I know I am ready to take a chance and find out. I know that I absolutely identify as a wife and mother first and foremost. I know this is the right decision for me and for my family right now, because when I said it out loud for the first time and fully made my mind up about it, it felt right. It felt like this massive weight was lifted off me and I could breathe.
Being a working mom is hard. So ridiculously hard. Particularly, when your kids are young. It’s hard to leave your kids in the care of someone else 5 days a week. It’s hard rushing through breakfast and trying to get out the door in a timely manner 5 days a week. It’s hard when my toddler asks me not to go to work. It makes me sad that my girls don’t get to interact with each other as much M-F. Time management is hard, because when I am with my kids, I want to be with them completely, but I still have to keep the house running, too. It’s hard to keep up on the cooking, cleaning, and laundry when I am away from home 40+ hours a week. Lately, I have felt so exhausted and burnt out. I’ve also realized that the 1.5-2 hours of quality time I am getting with my kids each night isn’t enough. I’ve realized that I don’t feel balanced, at all. You see, I want to be a supermom and a working mom all at once, but after three years I am burnt out.
I’m the type of mom who cooks every meal, and I really enjoy it. Keeping my family healthy is so important to me. I’m the type of mom that wants my kids to have as many homemade foods as possible. I make bread, yogurt, and granola bars every week. I’m the type of mom who grows a garden. I’m the type of mom who likes a clean and orderly house. Piles of laundry and dirty counter tops make me feel unbalanced. I’m the type of mom who has burnt herself out, completely. My mom always told me, if you can’t change your situation, then change your situation. I wanted it all, and I wanted it all at once, but I am learning that sometimes you can’t have it all at once. When I took a step back and evaluated what was more important to me right now, it’s my family and my sanity. It’s being home with my kids and killing it as mom and wife. I’m not saying staying at home will not be easy.
I know stay at home moms face challenges each day. It won’t be easy. Financially, it will be a shock. The little social life I have from work will disappear. I’ll deal with belligerent toddlers all day, but I’m ready to start a new normal. I’m ready to spend weekends and evenings enjoying time with my family, instead of worrying about getting laundry done, lunches packed, etc. I have absolutely no regrets about my time spent in the corporate world, because I worked hard to get where I was and I enjoyed it. I also haven’t sworn off the life of a working mom, because I’m sure I’ll rejoin the workforce at some point, but for now I am closing that chapter. A small part of me still feels a little bitter that I couldn’t have both, but I know that feeling will pass. I’m excited to experience a new normal.
Have you ever made the change from a working mom to a stay at home mom? What helped you settle in to the new normal?