I realized last week that I have now been a stay at home mom for a year. I have not stepped foot in an office, worn business causal clothes, or received a hard earned paycheck in over 365 days. I wear yoga pants every day, a wet ponytail, no makeup, and the highlight of my day is going to the gym. I’m a straight up stay at home mom. And yet here I am a year later still feeling like the working girl in SAHM’s clothing. It’s probably time I accept that I’m no longer moonlighting as a SAHM. I’ve crossed over. But there’s a BUT…
But…I can’t kick this nagging feeling that I want to go back to work. No, I sort of need to go back to work. Not for the paycheck; but for the mental health and the confidence that learning and challenging myself brings me. This need nags at me and also totally conflicts with my want to spend loads of quality time with my little ones while they’re little – which is such a short time.
When I began this journey of staying home with my daughter (and now son) I really thought it was just going to be for a short time, like a month or two – tops. I saw it as a little break from corporate America. A chance to take a nice long vacation to the beach, make some good memories with Annabelle while we had some time together, and focus on finding a great job doing exactly what I wanted to be doing in my career. And then I found out I was pregnant…
Being pregnant while job searching can really muddy up your plans! It felt like bad timing finding a job only to tell them I’d be going on maternity leave in less than a year. Do I tell them during the interview that I’m expecting or wait until I have a job offer? I felt like I was being dishonest and the whole thing stressed me out so much that I decided it was a sign that I should stay home with Annabelle. I’ll never get this time back with her, so why not try it out?
It’s been such a blessing to stay home this past year. I actually love that Annabelle was about 18 months at the time because she was at a great age where we could really get out and do fun things together. We go to the zoo, the Children’s Museum, parks, play dates, lunch and more and that’s all Monday-Friday! And being home with Leo without a maternity leave clock ticking away at me has been wonderful. I don’t feel sadness and an “ending” to our quality time nipping at my heels.
I really wish I didn’t need any more than that. I’m totally content being with my kids and having lazy days. But I feel like I’ve lost a lot of confidence in myself since staying home. I didn’t realize how much of my identity was sort of wrapped up in having a career. Not that my identity was “marketing” per se, but it’s the independence that I felt from working. I loved feeling like I was contributing financially to our household. I loved feeling smart and receiving accolades for a job well done. Getting a thank you from the hubs when I wash and fold three loads of laundry, make the bed, and unload the dishwasher is nice, but I’ve gotta have more. Call me greedy.
This makes me feel a little crappy admitting that sometimes being home with my kids isn’t enough to feel “complete”. I want both worlds, to be honest. I would love to find a fun, challenging job that also lets me work part-time. It’s so hard to find a great part-time job that isn’t a step above an intern or assistant level, and it’s hard to take so many steps backwards once you’ve already established a decent career over a 10 year period.
Over the last couple of days I’ve been looking online at jobs that look interesting to me and I find myself getting excited at the prospect of returning to work. Annnnnnd then I feel sadness that an end may be near. Watch me go to work and instantly start fantasizing about lounging in my PJs until 10am, hitting the gym at noon, going to the zoo on a Tuesday, and cuddling up with my sweet, sweet babies. GAH! This is why this decision is so hard! I feel incomplete staying home and will feel like I’m missing out on watching my kids grow if I go to work. I wish I could be steadfast in my role, either way. But there’s a major gray area which makes me so confused. *deep sighs*
How many moms have the best of both worlds? Working some and staying home some? I’d love to hear how you do it!