Well, something had to give. It was either going to be my commitment to work or my commitment to family. In the end, being given a choice to continue full time at my current position, or move on and not work in the company, I've chosen to move on. Initially I was so excited at the idea of becoming a stay at home mom again! Come summer, my two older kids will both be in school, my son for half days and my daughter full days, so that would leave me plenty of time to create, write, hang out with my gorgeous baby and just do whatever else. I had been noticing the subtle ways my kids were suffering from my being away for so long and how my own health has been majorly on the back burner since taking on the life of a part time working mom. This was just what I needed!
But then, while I started planning all of the things I'd now be able to do without work, the doubt started to creep in. They didn't just creep either, they bombarded me with all the ways I've failed at home with my kids in the past and in the present. I was reminded of the loneliness, the lack of a
Apparently, I discovered, this was not going to be as easy of a decision as I had initially expected. I asked for more time, and it tooks some tears of fear, a few conversations with my mentor, and hearing feedback from my kids and others around me to just come to terms with what I was really dealing with. In many ways I am still a bit afraid. I'm afraid of failing again, of feeling desperate to find a job again, of not enjoying my kids and getting depressed by all the hard parts of being home. The fact, however, remains that I really don't have much of a choice. I don't make enough money and am not in a real career type of work to make it justifiable to leave my kids all day. I really had a hard time because idealistically I want to be that baby wearing, farmers market going, stay at home mom who organizes herself and her dinners and feels healthy and all that stuff. But I also had to face that I'm not naturally like that. I have a hard time being patient with my kids or anything for that matter. I don't naturally enjoy playing kid games or doing brainless child activities. I always need to be busy with something, even if it's simple. Sitting on the floor playing doll house is usually just a precursor to a nap on the floor.
After thinking about it for a few more days, and spending the weekend with my kids, I just allowed the idea to germinate in my mind and my heart and allowed myself to be okay with it. I wouldn't be out of a job immediately so I'd have time to figure out my schedule and my attitude towards the whole idea. I also have come to recognize how absolutely necessary it is for me to be involved in other outside-of-my-immediate-universe projects, jobs, or people in a positive way to help me, as a person, feel fulfilled. Personally, after much experience with staying at home with my daughter and son, without work or without enough work, I know that I need the social - adult - interaction. I need that recognition of a job well done. I need to be forced to get dressed, go out, take a break from child-brain, and do something productive for me and in my own way.
After having this job for almost a full year, though, I can honestly say, "Hey, I tried both. I've worked solely at home, and part time in a 'real' job and now it's time to find a balance between the two." I don't think I would have had the guts to make such a change if I wasn't kind of forced into deciding. Definitely a sign from Above and a Blessing in Disguise and all those good little phrases.
With all that said, and my decision made, I really am looking forward to it now. I am determined to make it a successful, positive change and to do my best to facilitate it. So, I began a search for books on stay at home motherhood and surviving it. I didn't just want to survive it, either, as some of these books insinuate, The Essential Stay At Home Mom Manual was one that caught my attention because it has such a positive subtitle and it's written by a woman who is a therapist that before being a stay at home mom specialized in women's health and wellness. I felt that hearing ideas and guidance from a woman with such qualifications was worth and try and I'm so happy. I really didn't want to get just anyone's opinion or experience. In a way, that's what Facebook and Blogs are great for. I appreciate that she is a professional in this field, both clinically and as an experienced stay at home mom.
She starts off by trying to give all moms a break and a boost with encouragement, anecdotes, and at the same time, gives great advice on how to change our thinking about all the obvious drawbacks of stay at home motherhood that could bring you down. For example, the idea that we don't get paid as mothers for this 24/7 job. No extra cash, no paycheck and appreciation of a job well done. I love that she admits to that and writes at length about how it does hurt and it does matter to many women. After empathizing though, she guides the reader to a new perspective and view of the job at hand and what is important to value instead of the paycheck every two weeks. She uses some psychology terms but doesn't overdo it. It's really an amazing toolbox of ideas as well as month to month goals to get oneself in a better space physically, mentally and emotionally.
Again, I'm not getting endorsed here for promoting this book, but genuinely wanted to share this book with any mom, including ones who work out of the house, to check it out. You can click on the link above to check it out and to see the Table of Contents and the first few pages. I got a used copy for a few dollars including shipping from Amazon.
Go for it! You deserve to be happy and healthy AT THE SAME TIME as being a stay at home mom with your kids (or any kind of mom)!