Out of Office Post It for Deciding to beome a stay at home mom
motherhood,  Stay At Home Mom,  Sweet, Serious, & Sincere Parenting Reflections

Deciding to Become a Stay at Home Mom. Only.

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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.Mom with daughter deciding to become a stay at home mom pin

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.

Our value, our worth, our self is not defined by our careers. I know this. In fact, according to Forbes, I’m in pretty good company as more women in my generation are making this same decision.

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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10 Comments

  • Sumer

    Congrats on deciding to stay home! I know the decision is not an easy one. It will be an adjustment for sure! Hope you have an amazing summer at home with your kiddos!

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Sumer,

      Thank you so much! You’re right — deciding to become a stay at home mom and let go of (what was left of) my career was not an easy choice, but only a few weeks in, I was sure it was the right decision. Thank you and I hope you’re also having a great summer!

      Charissa

  • Jessica Goodpaster

    I identify so much with this post! I went from a career I love, to part-time work, to at home. While it was best for my family, I still struggle with my identity without a “job.” Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Jessica,
      I’m so glad you could relate. Deciding to stay home is definitely big life change (and adjustment) — especially if you were really happy in your career. I feel like it would’ve been so much easier if I hated my job lol. I agree with you: even knowing it’s the best decision for your family doesn’t make it all sunshine and rainbows all the time.

      Solidarity fist bumps!
      Charissa

  • Kristal Espanola

    Thank you for this. Been thinking about doing it recently as daycare here is very expensive. So I’ve decided to take my mat leave for a whole year and finding something that I can do for me to be able to stay at home 😉

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Kristal,

      Congratulations on the new baby! It’s great that you can take a year of maternity leave to decide whether you want to become a stay at home mom or go back to work. The first year with a new baby is already so full of changes, I think it’s harder if you have to rush such a complicated decision process (and I totally understand what you mean about expensive daycare!). I’m sure that whatever you decide will be the right choice for you and your family!

      Charissa

  • Amy | The Purple Monarch

    Another stay at home mom of 3 boys here and I still feel the difficulty after 7 years! It’s definitely hard to lose some of our prior selves but being home with the kids is so worth it IMO. Whatever works definitely the way it is for us too!

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Amy,

      High fives and fist bumps, fellow triple boy mom! My oldest is seven too! So far, the hardest thing about deciding to stay home (for me) the past few years is the constant stimulation. So much talking and moving and just general noisy chaos. I had no idea how accustomed I’d become to relative peace (which is hilarious, since I taught high school) until I had hardly any of it in the day lol. I agree with you though — even though it’s hard (and sometimes frustrating), it’s worth it and definitely the right choice for our house these days.

      Solidarity!
      Charissa

  • Laura Jafarkhani

    Thank you for sharing. We are currently going through this and trying to see if there is a way for me to stay home. I like my job and I know staying home will be much harder but We feel it’s what our kids need right now. It may not be forever but they need it now.

    • Charissa @ The Wild, Wild West

      Hi Laura,

      I wish you and your husband all the best as you comb through the budget, your pro/con list, and try to balance allthethings! Deciding to become a stay at home mom can be a tough call, but I’m sure that whatever you guys decide will be the right move. If you know it’s the right choice for your family, that’s all that matters.

      Cheers!
      Charissa

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