As I sit down to write my first ever blog post, it’s the third stormy summer day in a row which means we’ve been trapped inside for as many days. As much as I wish I was blissfully listening to the sound of the rain with a candle burning and coffee in hand, my kids are running in circles around me and literally ripping each others hair out. Can you hear their screams through your computer? It feels like the shrill sound of their voices could reach you wherever you are. Truth be told, I finally turned on a long episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to ensure a whopping 44 minutes of peace and quiet so I could give this whole blogging thing a go.
It’s on days like this where I sometimes let my mind wander back into the dangerous territory of asking “what if…?” and it’s typically followed by “…I hadn’t left my full time job to be a stay at home mom?”. Maybe some of you never ask yourself this question, but every now and then I go back to that place for a brief minute (or day, or week!) before I’m reminded again by my two little ones that I’ve made the best possible decision for our family.
In all areas of life, I’m one of those “all in” types. If I’m doing something, I have to be the best at it or I feel like I’m failing. At work, that meant doing whatever it took to win over the client, get the promotion, and stand in high esteem of my peers and managers. This also translated into a lot of self-imposed pressure to perform, which worked really well for me until I added the whole, motherhood, thing to my plate.
After I had my first baby, I had a difficult time finding balance between being the employee I had always been and growing into the mother I knew my son deserved. After my maternity leave, I worked tirelessly to prove to my professional peers that nothing had changed; however, as all working moms know, everything had changed.
When baby #2 graced us with her presence a mere 14 months later, these feelings only intensified. I was longing to be spending more time with my kids, but as a certifiable workaholic, I still couldn’t quite convince myself to pull the trigger to be home. So, when an opportunity to leverage my existing experience in a totally new setting literally fell into my lap, I left a company I loved and took a risk on a new opportunity that I hoped would allow me to learn a new skill set and spend more time at home. However, a year later, I found that I couldn’t find the balance, thinking about work when I was at home and home when I was at work. I wasn’t giving 100% in any of my roles as a wife, mother, or employee, and something had to give.
So, I walked away from work and into my current role as a stay at home mom. And not with a skip in my step, either. I’m so envious of all my mom friends who couldn’t wait to put in their two weeks notice and be at home, but truth be told, it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I cried when I gave my notice, I cried every time an executive asked me to stay, and I cried so hard on my last day I thought I had to be making the wrong decision, even though my gut assured me otherwise.
I knew that this transition would be hard, but I think part of me hoped that by choosing my family and walking away from something I loved, I would instantly feel like I was reaping the fruits of my labor at home. The honest truth is that while I quickly realized I’d made the right decision, I also understood that it was going to take hard work to learn how to find the same fulfillment and meaning in my role at home that I had at work.
I have a confession: my heart still skips a beat from time to time when professional opportunities come my way, and I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t daydream every now and then about all I could be accomplishing if I was still working. But guess what? In the past nine months. I’ve accomplished more personally than I ever thought possible.
I’ve been able to experience my kids in an entirely different way, and my relationship with them has grown more than I could have ever imagined.
I’ve learned how to carve out time for my husband and be more intentional in our time together.
I’ve picked up a little side hustle (in the event you need help buying or selling your home!).
I’ve taken time to explore and determine what my actual interests are (I literally haven’t given time to myself in YEARS!), and I’m excited to have the margin (read: nap time) in my life to put some of the creative brainpower that has been hiding for the last ten years, to good use.