For some moms it comes easy.
They know they are going back to work, they love their job and are a better mom because of it. Other moms dream of being stay at home moms since they were a little girl. They quit their job once they find out they are pregnant and that is that.
I, on the other hand have fought becoming a stay at home mom. Not because it isn’t something that I also have dreamed of, but because it is unknown territory. I’m scared to fully dive in. I doubt myself, despite knowing I’m a good mom, and constantly flop back and forth on what the right decision is. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but have always had business goals and projects swirling around me. I juggle a lot, and I like it that way, but over Lottie’s first year and a half my heart has changed.
For the past 21 months I’ve been working from home and also watching her full time at home.
Recently, (probably because #2 is going to make an appearance very soon) my desire to be at home full time has been stronger than ever. These babies are only little for a short time, and with every day I see her learning so much. I’m spending time teaching her simple things like counting to 10 and her ABC’s, while witnessing her brain working and watching her pride as she learns the simplest acts. It’s an incredible feeling as a mom to look at her with an adoration and love that screams “I did that… I taught her that… that was me.”
Quick side note: I’m not writing this to declare I think stay-at-home-mom life is the way to go, or I think my life is any harder/easier/busier than the next mom’s. I don’t think becoming a stay at home mom is for everyone. I think it’s a calling that you feel pulled to and I’m grateful some moms feel pulled to work. There are women in my life (my OB/GYN, for example) that have chosen to work and because of it have greatly impacted my life.
I enjoy working. I take great pride in my work, enjoy interacting with other adults and feeling as if I am making a difference with the work that I do. I also enjoy eating in quiet, not stepping on cheerios as I walk across the living room and peeing with the door shut. I’m most likely not going to get this as a stay at home mom. It’s a difficult decision that I’ve struggled with. I don’t think any mom has the best case situation, I think every mom makes the decision that is the best for their family at the time.
My situation moving forward is that I’ve been called to be at home. My next stage of life is going to be focused on raising these babies and I couldn’t be more excited.
As of this week I am officially a full time, stay at home mom.
This decision didn’t come lightly. It came with a lot of back and forth and long nights talking with Josh. From day one Josh has been supportive of me making the change to stay at home and be the mama of the family, but he also makes it clear that he supports whatever I want to do work wise.
My heart has been at home for awhile now.
I enjoy work and love the clients I work with, but at the end of the day my purpose and desire is to be spending every special moment with my babies. My heart hurts knowing that these moments aren’t going to last long, and while they are here I want to soak them up.
Juggling too much was leaving me exhausted. We are all already exhausted as moms, but trying to be a full time working mom and stay at home mom was draining me beyond what I ever imagined. I was short with Lottie and Josh, stressed, and not fun to be around. My phone was attached to my hip, constantly dinging with notifications and emails which was further taking my attention off of Lottie. I felt I was giving everyone half of me, and no one my full attention. I want to reprioritize my time and be present in the important moments and activities, freeing myself from the appointments that aren’t soul building.
I joke with my husband that I am quitting one job for a more difficult one.
I am choosing to spend my day arguing over eating vegetables and repeating the phrase “pee pee goes in the potty” over and over again. Changing my hundredth diaper of the week, sleep training and don’t forget the snot, spit up and other bodily functions that come with little ones. The days are long when you are spending them with a baby or toddler, your conversations are limited, and the highlights are when you make it through a few hours without a tantrum. Despite the un-glamorous side of stay at home mommying, I feel lucky to have a supportive husband who is excited for me to be home with these little people and I am loving the life we’ve created together.
Why was it such a hard decision for me?
After a lot of soul searching I am finally able to put into words what my internal struggle was with giving up work to become a stay at home mom.
For 21 months I had the excuse of working and taking care of Lottie full-time. It was an excuse that I hid behind too often. When I was stressed or run down or busy I simply said “Look at all I’m doing, of course I’m overwhelmed”. I didn’t send her to day care or get a nanny, I crammed my work into her nap time and after she went to bed. I feared that when I stopped working I wouldn’t have the excuse of having too much on my plate and my stress wouldn’t be justified.
I was afraid Josh would expect me to instantly be stress-free because of taking a step away from work. There would be so many more expectations on me because now my sole purpose was to raise these babies… and what if I wasn’t good at it?
Also the question of value came into play. I’ve always put value on moms who stay at home, my mom was at home with us and I know how much work it is. My fear was societies value they put on stay at home moms. The dreaded question of “What do you do” haunted me, because society would see me as someone sitting at home eating bon bons all day on the couch while my kids watch the newest cartoon on TV (because that is the definition of a stay at home mom of course).
I felt that quitting my job was admitting failure. I am an admitted workaholic. I put too much on my plate and I try to do it all to 100%. I struggled for a very long time that if I gave up any part of what I was juggling, that it was admitting I couldn’t handle it all. I refused to fail, so I refused to take anything off my plate. Instead I did it all… to the detriment of me, my family and my health.
I finally had to ask Josh for help.
I needed help to get over myself. To combat my stubbornness and drive, and help me do what my heart yearned for. I honestly couldn’t make this decision myself. I wasn’t able to walk away, that is how strong my blindness is. I am not superwoman, and trying to do it all was leaving everything half done. At the end of each day I was left feeling as if I had given Lottie half, my clients half and Josh half…with nothing left for me.
Getting past the fear and overcoming the idea of failure
The fear is in my head. I know I’m a good mom.
The proof is in Lottie’s smile and sense of adventure. Her love of life and hugs she hands out to strangers. There isn’t any doubt in my mind when I look at every milestone she has hit from crawling, to walking, to eating that I am in there. I have been there every step of the way teaching her and she is the toddler that she is because of me. Her tantrums and sassy attitude (and constant need to declare MINE to everything!) isn’t because I’m a bad mom, it’s because she is a toddler and constantly testing the waters which is just like her mom so who am I to argue.
I had to dismiss society’s view and value they have put on moms who are at home. I’m making this decision for my family and am proud to be kissing their boo boo’s when they fall, making their peanut butter sandwiches and reading to them before nap time. I know the value that I bring and the importance of the love and support I give them. That is all that matters, nothing more.
Becoming a stay at home mom isn’t a failure, it’s a choice.
A choice that I am making right now and saying that in the next few years I am going to be around. It’s a choice to rearrange our lifestyle and budget to fit it into one salary. We are saying no to activities that don’t fit into our family’s goals and making the decision for me to be the sole caretaker for these little people is an adventure that I can’t wait to take.
I may have rambled a bit here… because as you can see this is all new to me. I am still trying to work out the kinks in my head and wrap my brain around what being a stay at home mom means for myself and my family. Stick with me over the next year as I figure it out and thanks for joining me on the trip!