I never imagined that my life would lead here.
Growing up, I always dreamed of being a career woman. I watched my parents be working parents, and so that is all I had come to know.
I always figured I would be a working mom.
Even once we got pregnant, we talked about how we would dive into parenthood with both of us having jobs. We decided that I would continue to look for full-time work and hope that would happen before George arrived.
I never imagined that my life would lead here.
To this moment.
After next week, I am accepting the role of a stay-at-home mom.
This was by no means an easy decision. We toiled over it for months and looked at all of our options and circumstances.
So I come to this with mixed emotions.
On the one hand, I am excited to be able to focus solely on our family. I believe that the time that I will have to be with George will be something I never regret. To be able to be there for every moment of this precious time is such a gift. I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to be fully present for George as his mom and to Tom as his wife. I feel that we often get pulled in so many directions, so it will be so fantastic to have them as my main focus all day. While I have complete faith in childcare, seeing as many in my family work in that system, I know that no one will be able to give him the attention that I can. So there is a selfish love that I am excited to be able to share with George every second!
But to say that I don’t have negative feelings would be a lie.
I am terrified.
I am terrified that I will lose touch with my work life passions.
I am terrified that we will not have enough money, and I feel guilty that I will not be providing any income.
I am terrified I am not going to feel like I am enough.
I do eventually want to get back into the working game. I truly love what I do with students and know that I belong in an academic setting. To be honest, I am still job searching, and was hoping to have a full-time job by now. Unfortunately those were not the cards we were dealt. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel embarrassed that I went to school for 7 years for two degrees and worked for the last 4 to reach my career goals- all to conclude with a fruitless job search. I am scared that being a stay-at-home mom and having that employment gap may reflect poorly on me in future searches. Let’s just say it has just added on more insecurities that I have been collecting about the direction of my career.
As for money, in reality, this really isn’t an issue. I just worry too much. Financially, we will be fine. Tom and I have good money habits and are decent savers and mindful shoppers. So while there may be an adjustment period, this area shouldn’t be of concern. However, looking at the fact that the cost of daycare is ridiculous and that I would not have paid maternity leave (which meant no pay for a couple months anyway), keeping my part-time job did not seem profitable. What I get paid would have barely been able to cover the cost of daycare. When I thought about driving to work, working 25ish hours a week, and the time to deal with daycare, it did not seem worth it to miss out on time with George. I also did not feel right putting my boss in a position to hold my job for me knowing we would be moving away within the next year anyway. It seemed better for them to go ahead and replace me now and have all that time for them to adjust to the position instead of coming back in a few months only to leave again in a few more. They were going to have to hire someone anyway, why prolong the process? But really, the cost of daycare vs. the benefits of me staying home with George really tipped the scale in favor of being at home. Plus, let’s talk about the money I won’t be spending, like on gas! Um hello? Seems obvious right? My fear really has come down to that it’s hard to adjust to the fact that I will no longer be contributing that cash money after I have been working since I was 14 .
My job in Student Affairs has always brought me fulfillment and made me feel like I was part of something greater than myself. I absolutely love being in an educational setting where I can help students along in their own path. I find it so inspiring to work with college students and be a part of their developing process. I wonder if staying at home, I will miss all the meetings, programs and intentional conversations that I have worked so hard to have. I wonder if I will miss being part of that impact, or if I will have an impact. There are people who question whether I will go back and feel that I have wasted my experience. Seeing that doubt eventually does wear on you, and you wonder too. That somehow me not having a “career” means that I am not successful. There are parts of me that feel that I am letting myself down by making this choice, or that I am letting others down in the process. This area here has honestly been the biggest struggle as I am looking down at my last week of employment. The “what am I doing with my life?” problem…
I never imagined that my life would lead me here.
I get to stay at home with my first child.
I get to see him cry, laugh, and sleep and everything in between.
I get to be the one that comforts him.
I get to be the one that teaches him new things: important things (like what TMNT stands for) and not-so important things (like what a spork is). (which are clearly something you would teach an infant…)
I get to see George interact with Grace and Crosby (and crash Instagram with their cuteness).
I get to make a difference for him.
I get to experience things I would never have imagined about motherhood.
And that, my friends, is more than enough.
Because the one thing I have always wanted more than a career is to be a mom.
I know that this is the right decision for us and George. I may have doubts and insecurities about how this may look, but I know that I will not be letting George down by making this decision for now. Ultimately, that is my priority. I know that right now, my purpose is to be his mom, and that is more than enough to have a fulfilled life. Being a professional will come later, and that is ok.
And while I never imagined my life to lead me here, I feel fortunate for the time to focus on George.
This is a very personal decision that every couple has to make. I by no means am saying that one is better than the other here, and I am not trying to judge one group over the other. I feel that both have their merits, and have no impact on how good a parent you can be. I know there are a lot of opinions for both camps, and I am not trying to side with either. With our current circumstances, this was just really the best option for us. And while, we aren’t exactly sure how long this gig will last since I am actively still searching for a full-time job outside of the home, I am choosing to remain positive about the opportunity and will soak up all the moments that I can. I know that everything happens for a reason and will work out they way they need to for us.
I just felt that I needed to be honest with my personal struggles and turmoil to reach that conclusion.
Tom has been exceptional in this decision. He has supported me through every struggle and insecurity, which has pretty much meant I have put him through the ringer. I made this decision initially on my own, and then together we decided that it was indeed the best route for us right now. I know he supports me either way and is my biggest cheerleader in this adventure of staying home as well as job searching. (Although, I know he is excited that I will be home for lunch with him every day.)
And let’s be real, I am excited that I can be barefoot all day if I so choose, and possibly not to wear anything outside of t-shirts for an extended amount of time.
Is it wrong that I feel the exact opposite? Endless ponytails and free boobs for me!