Since my last post in APRIL!!! 😳 (<— b t dubs SO happy I figured out how to get emojis in WordPress- was feeling so censored!)…I have completely flipped my life upside down.
Ever since we had baby #2- our 3 bedroom townhome that at one time felt so spacious with it’s empty rooms full of possibilities started to seem very, very tight. I couldn’t escape the toys- they followed me everywhere I went. The bathtub, the kitchen, they haunted me in my sleep. I “purged” so many times hauling bags and bags of toys to Greendrop but alas- it seemed futile. I was tired of not feeling able to host holiday’s or parties due to our cramped space. I went back and forth from being grateful for what we have…. to ..if only we had a bigger house.
I would spend my days driving by homes for sale on Zillow. Determined to find a way to make it work. I was raised that if you want something – you have to work for it. Which I’ve never had a problem with – Good, Bad, or Indifferent- if I want something bad enough, I will work my butt off and find a way to get it. So If I wanted a new house… Mama’s gonna have to work for it.
As a Stay At Home Mom, I EXHAUSTED the part time job search. I am a Scientist by trade spending my career in the Pharmaceutical world. “Part-time” just doesn’t exist in my field. It is all or nothing. I explored other jobs outside of my field- they all paid so low it wouldn’t even cover child care. I looked into going back to school to become a medical lab tech for more flexibility that allowed me to be at home with my kids at least a few days a week- the programs were outrageously expensive and almost all required some type of clinical rotation which I would have to have child care for. How would I afford childcare to go somewhere 40 hours a week unpaid?
The options really are slim for us moms of young children. It is basically, working nights and weekends for less than your earning power and never seeing your husband. Babysitting other people’s children and being shackled to your home. Or working full time to hand over the majority of your pay to someone else unless you have family nearby to help- which is becoming less and less common.
An opportunity came up with my old company for an entry level office based position. It was close to my home, had some flexibility to work from home, and a familiar feel for me returning to a company I loved. An old colleague warned me not to take it, that I was overqualified. But impulsive me, worried about the new, larger mortgage we were about to take on – took the job anyway.
I hadn’t even contemplated working full-time yet, I wasn’t planning on working full time for a few years when at least one of my girls was school-age. But I was only thinking about how less stressful life would be with more money now that we had this big house to pay for.
And to be honest- I was getting pretty burnt out as a stay at home mom. When I first started staying at home- I was planning outings everyday, making gourmet kid lunches, doing crafts, signing up for mommy and me classes. Throw in another kid and things changed. Outings were more cumbersome, the bickering back and forth between them was exhausting and I found myself more focused on keeping myself occupied to keep my own sanity than I was with keeping the kids entertained. The novelty had worn off and I felt my kids were suffering because of it.
I thought- maybe working full time wouldn’t be so bad… My kids would be with other kids playing during the day, which is all kids want to do anyway. We tend to take on the role of playmate as a stay at home mom since we tend to live isolated from each other and finding other kids to play with requires effort and planning. My 32 year old-hyper active-brain did not do playmate well despite best efforts. I thought of how nice it would be to have a little bit of a break and to be mentally stimulated. Financial freedom was alluring. Maybe we could actually take that trip to Disney World we had been talking about since our first daughter had been born? Start saving for their future like we always intended but haven’t managed to do? Maybe I wouldn’t resent the kids or my husband as much and have more patience?… let’s try this out.
Five weeks later and I just gave my notice😂
I think for one… the job wasn’t a right fit. I was miserable- crying, anxiety through the roof, dreading coming in and it was starting to kick up some old Post Partum feelings. I am still on my path of recovery and as much progress as I have made, depression and anxiety might always be a factor in my life now. I am not the same person I was before Post Partum Depression. New house, new job, leaving my kids after 2.5 years of being home with them = what in the world was I thinking of taking on so much change at once?!?!?!?!?!
It also made me realize how experienced I actually am and what I have to offer as a professional. Being at the entry level again is not for me. I’ve been there, done that. Put in my time as the bottom dweller- too old and egotistical now. If I was going to leave my kids and pay someone a bulk of my salary to be with them- I was going to like what I did.
I also forgot how hard it was to juggle it all! The laundry, the dishes, cooking dinner, taking care of all the new house stuff, and feeling like a good mom still- I felt like I was drowning again. I would feel an ache in my heart while sitting at my desk thinking of making cupcakes for my daughter’s preschool class last year or sitting in the sunshine while they laughed and ran around while the rest of the world was indoors. (Alas- as we all know- this was the good stuff, and it’s not always good stuff)
However, there were some positives. I resented my husband less… childcare duties felt more shared and I felt like we were equal partners again. I MISSED my kids! And was much more patient with them and enjoyed them most of the time. We had more money and were less stressed (however we just spent more – mo’ money mo’ problems🤷). And most days, it felt good to get dressed and ready and feel productive.
So this is where I am people… I’m still figuring it out. I’m still conflicted. Although I know that leaving this job was 100% the right decision… I’m not completely sure it means that working in general isn’t my right decision. If I was in a position I loved, would I be okay as a working mom? Could I somehow find a way to balance it all and still feel like I’m being the mom I want to be? What is the lesser evil? Stressing about finances or stressing about trying to juggle everything as a working parent?
And when is the right time? I hear it all- “Don’t take off too much time – or it will be hard to get your career back” or “They are only little for so long- your career will always be there” and honestly I think both arguments are true.
As a woman, I really do feel the best of both worlds does not exist and we have to individually decide what our right path is. And I honestly do not know what my next step is at the moment. There are pros and cons to both scenarios.
I am a smart, educated woman with earning power and potential, but I am also a domesticated-loving mother to two small children whom I adore more than life itself.
I have some opportunities in the works thanks to some connections I’ve made along my career – I did not even explore full time options before jumping into this opportunity. And I think I owe it to myself to see if finding the right job is the answer.
I am a “feeler” by nature… I have learned to trust my intuition, to put my (and my family’s) happiness and mental well-being first, to keep what’s important in perspective, and to continue to remind myself to stay humble and grateful in a world where more is always the goal. All I or anyone can do is continue to follow their intuition and believe everything will work out in the end💙