From Working Woman to Stay at Home Mom

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{I’m pretty sure I’ve been to the park more times in the past 16 months than in the 25 years I was alive pre-motherhood. #SAHMlife}

I’ve been meaning to put my thoughts on this in writing for a long time because it’s been the biggest adjustment of my life so far! A little bit of background: I’m an only child who was raised by a working mom. And she didn’t just have one full-time job. She ran her own business as a side hustle, and during my middle school and high school years she was earning her undergraduate and Master’s degrees. My dad worked full-time as well, so I was raised by busy parents. I never had a window into the stay-at-home-mom life and compared to my mom’s lifestyle I figured they all must be bored! My life with working parents was my normal and the alternative almost seemed sad. I pictured a stereotypical “soccer mom” type with bad hair and unflattering jeans and I was proud to have an energetic young mom that got dressed up every day and was a total hustler. I didn’t know very many stay-at-home moms and the ones I did know did not leave a positive impression, unfortunately.

Fast forward to being 6 months pregnant with Clifford in 2017 when my husband and I moved from Detroit to Milwaukee. I earned my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Michigan State in 2014 and had been working at Wayne State University Physician Group in the Psychiatry department since the year I graduated from college. When we moved, we decided it didn’t make sense for me to start a new job in Milwaukee when we were expecting a baby in just a few months. I started a new gig at my old job’s sister company and worked remotely from our living room until Clifford came on the scene, but I never ended up pursuing a job outside the home in our new city.

At first, I thought, “when he’s 3 months old I’ll start looking for work” and my husband responded with, “sounds good”. But as month 3 arrived, we both started to almost fear the idea of changing our routine. I hated to be away from Clifford and Nate loved me being with him all day. Knowing Clifford was being cared for by the person he trusted most, and not by someone he barely knew, was invaluable to him. We also realized we were handling our finances just fine on one income. We ultimately postponed the plan for me to go back to work every few months. We started saying, “maybe at 6 months we’ll be ready” and so on. Then before we knew it, Clifford was one year old! The more time that passed and the more conversations we had, we ultimately decided that this SAHM arrangement was what we preferred for the foreseeable future.

(I should mention that I still work remotely on paid projects periodically, but it isn’t permanent and my family comes before my work. Having this part-time, work-from-home gig is the absolute perfect thing for my family though! It not only makes us feel more financially secure but having something outside of my family to focus on makes me feel more whole as a person. I encourage all SAHMs to find the same – paid or not).

Once we came to terms with our arrangement, I slipped down an identity crisis rabbit hole. Who was I without work? Just a mom and wife? I just always envisioned going back to work. But now this was real: I was “just” a SAHM. Would I be so bored singing The Wheels on The Bus all day long? Of course, this was my childhood creeping in, mixed with my own insecurities! I started to panic because not only had I never relied financially on my SO, but I started to question what I was giving up career-wise and what others would think about me.

I’m so happy I was able to snap out of it and adjust because I’ve since found that being a SAHM can actually be quite fulfilling and it doesn’t mean I’m lazy or bored (far from it!). I’m still the same driven person as I was when I was working. The only difference is I’ve redirected my time and energy to my family and home life. Not to mention, being at home with my son and future children is actually invaluable to my husband and me, so any sacrifices I’ve made were completely worth it. I won’t regret having spent all of this time with our kids while they are young. I also now know that there are tons of working women turned SAHMs who are ridiculously fierce, fabulous, and energetic and having kids didn’t change a damn thing. It’s too bad that I didn’t know that then. If I had, I might have glided more effortlessly into my new role. I might not be going into an office every day, but my “get shit done” attitude (got it from my mama!!) and need for goals and accomplishments haven’t gone anywhere.

Did you have a similar experience adjusting to either being a SAHM or a working mom?

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