A friend of mine at Mommy & Me decided to quit her job and become a stay at home Mom — something a lot of us think about or thought about doing at some point. I asked her to share her story so that all of us who still work can get a first hand account of what’s it’s like transitioning from a career woman to a stay at home mom. It has its joys and its challenges. Here’s her story:
“When I got pregnant last year I would only allow myself to be consumed with the actual pregnancy…not what happens after the baby was here. I was going on four years working for a great company with fantastic benefits, however in the few months prior I had gone from loving my position to just tolerating it. As my due date approached, I could no longer ignore the fact that I needed a plan for when my maternity leave was up. In my mind, I thought I wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom, but I didn’t think it was realistic for my family. I looked around at daycares and explored the nanny option as well – maybe I was just naive but I could not believe how expensive they were. Many of the daycares cost just about as much as I was making – and the hours didn’t match my job at all. I work(ed) in the entertainment industry and I know there was no way I could sneak out of the office at 5pm everyday in time to pick up my child. Nannies were just as much money, if not more. I wanted to make sure I was being ‘financially responsible’, so I really did my homework and weighed all my options before coming to terms that it didn’t make sense for me to give my entire paycheck over to someone to watch my baby while I was at a job where I wasn’t happy.
My daughter arrived in late November and I was due back at work by mid-February. By January I knew that I couldn’t go back to work, my job was not worth it enough to leave her with someone else. I was really anxious about telling my supervisors and felt guilty about leaving work. The women that I work with who are mothers, could not have been more supportive or understanding of my decision which was very encouraging. My husband and I knew we’d have to make some adjustments going forward, but financially and emotionally this was the best decision for us.
It’s a strange feeling to think that being a stay at home Mom is my new gig. Although I’ve been doing it for 6 months now, it really hasn’t sunk in that this is my full time job for the next few years. It’s a big change from working in a corporate environment for the past ten years.
I realize that I am extremely lucky to be able to spend every minute with my daughter – it is truly amazing how quickly she is growing and changing and I am so fortunate not to miss those little moments. However I didn’t expect the many challenges that come with being at home all day either. It can be very isolating and at times I crave adult interaction. Contrary to what some people believe (mostly people who don’t have children), it is not relaxing to be at home with a baby, and like any other job, it can be stressful. I am not watching TV or surfing the internet, and I am not out shopping and lunching with my lady friends. I’m lucky if I can take a shower, or just brush my teeth by noon. During the 12 or so hours that my daughter is awake during any given day, I am feeding, changing, consoling, entertaining, making sure I am doing enough ‘tummy time’ and contributing to her development and cognitive needs, all while trying to adhere to the ever changing ‘DOs and DON’Ts’ of child rearing. (And if you are part of my baby group, we’re told not to use ‘contraptions’, so that means no bouncy seat, no swing…) It’s exhausting and I question all the time if I am boring her, or if I am doing a good enough job.
I am not complaining, but there are many times when I think it would be easier to be back at work. At the end of the day though, there is no greater reward then to be at home with my little girl and experience every little move and change, there is nowhere else I’d rather be.”
Thank you Leigh for sharing your story! Many Moms that I’ve spoken to on this topic say the grass is always greener. Stay at home Moms miss adult interaction, working Moms miss experiencing every moment with their littler ones, part time working Moms feel like they aren’t doing a great job at either — halfway doing both. Is there a perfect solution? If you ask me staying at home all day seems much harder than going to work! I commend all moms who choose to stay home. I am not one of those people who could easily stay home — it’d be a challenge for me — my husband is much better at being a stay at home Dad. That works for us. What is working for you and your family?