Today, I will be unemployed for the first time since… well, since I-don’t-know-when. My only job title will read: Stay At Home Mom.
I taught my last class three weeks ago, finalized my grades two weeks ago, and this afternoon, I’ll show up to collect a few signatures and officially be done.
I will no longer be an employed teacher and it feels really, really weird.
Becoming a mom turned everything in my world upside down, and my career was no exception. If anything, my career might be what’s changed the most. (Well, that and my relationship with sleep deprivation and stretchy pants, but that’s beside the point here.)
Deciding to become a stay at home mom happened gradually. I went from full-time work, to full-time work on an “alternative schedule,” to part-time work, to *very* part-time work-from-home. I’ve tried a little bit of everything.
Deciding to become a stay at home mom. Only.
Although I’ve technically been a stay at home mom for four years now, I’ve always maintained at least some of my career on the side. This will be my first foray into no job at all.
As my husband has moved up in his career, his responsibilities at work (time, effort, travel) have all increased. His advancement has been so good for our family and I’m extremely proud of him, but someone has to pick up that slack at home (that someone is, generally, me).
As my kids have grown, and we’ve added more, juggling home responsibilities and my work commitments has become increasingly difficult. There are appointments, activities, practices, and games. Someone has to get the kids ready and get them there (that someone is, generally, me).
Putting the last remnants of my career on hold is the right decision for our family. I have zero doubts about this.
But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting a little.
Even though all of us will be best served with me not working, it still feels a little like loss.
Not shattering loss, like the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job that solely supports your family, but loss, nonetheless.
For several years, I really lived my career –and I loved it that way. I taught. I coached. I sponsored. All my best friends were teachers, coaches, and sponsors. I was immersed in my work in all the best ways.
One by one, those roles have given way to the demands of parenthood. There are times I barely even recognize myself.
I’m not the coach.
I’m not the sponsor.
I’m not the teacher.
As of today, I’m not even the employee.
Still, it will take some time to adjust, yet again, to this new normal.
I know that it’s a blessing to even have this option – that my husband can provide for us on his own, that my career is the type that mostly makes getting “back on the ladder” later feasible. Many mothers wish they had this option.
But change is still hard.
Parenting is really just one long journey of figuring out what works and frantically clinging to that. You feel the tension grow as that eventually stops working and then flail about until you find the next thing that works. Repeat forever (or at least for 18+ years).
For any moms who are navigating their way through a new normal, whatever that may look like, I’m right there with you.
I hope that this next season of “whatever works” is smooth and long-lasting.
For all of us.
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