When Your Career takes a Backseat to Motherhood: Life as a Stay-At-Home Mom
Written for my friend & fellow blogger at www.mommasaurus.com
My first job was in high school at a pizza place. I was 16. Then in college I would take the school year off to focus on school and work during the summer. I worked for the City of Southfield’s Parks and Rec Department, which I loved! I moved on to two summer internships with Detroit public relations agencies. My senior year, both of my parents got laid off from work when the economy tanked, and I decided to take a job at the university cafeteria to make some extra cash.
After college, I worked as a receptionist for Douglas J. Aveda Institute. It was there that I decided to go back to school and get my cosmetology license. I went to school during the day and came downstairs to staff the reception desk in the evening. I was working 14+ hours a day on my feet. It was my hardest and probably most rewarding experience. I knew what it was like to bust my butt and work hard to succeed. And friends, let me tell you, cosmetology school is no walk in the park. It is tough stuff. You learn biology, chemistry, how to perform hair, nail, and — if you decide to cross-train — esthiology services, and the rules and regulations of the business. It was worth it and SO much fun.
I stayed in the hair industry up until our move to the East Coast in 2015. After working for a truly amazing boss at a salon that I still consider my home, I decided to leave the beauty biz behind and try something new.
I found a job at Global Planners Inc, a corporate event-planning company in New Jersey, and really clicked with the women who worked with me. I got the opportunity to travel around the world (Paris included!), attend so many different conferences, and work with some amazing people. I absolutely loved the travel piece of my job. It felt like a nice switch-up from everyday office life. After being in the beauty industry, I am NOT a desk person at all. I like working with my hands and keeping active throughout my day, so this was very different for me. But the consistent schedule and weekends off (outside of travel) worked well for me and Anton.
I’ve always loved to work. I’ve never been scared to try new things, step out of my comfort zone, and get my hands dirty. I’ve learned so much from the mish-mash of jobs that have contributed to my successes in customer service and with people.
Fast forward to now. I’m a stay-at-home mom. Full-time. 365 days a year. 24/7. Have you ever seen that meme: I don’t have a 9-5, I have a when I get up to when I go to bed? That’s mom life. And not just a stay-at-home mom. Hell, that’s all moms! We are the ones that get up before the sun and are the last to go to sleep, making sure our families are taken care of. (And yes, Karen, I realize dads do this, too.) But probably 95% of the time, it’s mom.
This shift was an ADJUSTMENT for me. And it still is, friends! I kind of touched upon this in my last article about my postpartum depression. I love to work. It gives me purpose and makes me feel like I’m contributing, not just to my family, but to society.
Having a baby is a major life upheaval, but making the decision to stay home and leave your old working self behind is a whole new change. It’s like starting a new job where your boss screams and cries at you, but doesn’t have any idea what she wants. (Actually that sounds like some adult bosses too.) And for you working moms, you are taking on two jobs for the price of one and trying to balance your work and home life. I’ve often said this before to one of my girlfriends who works about an hour from home and has a baby girl, you are super mom because I don’t know how you do it.
But I digress. I’m focusing on my SAHMs right now because that is the life I know and can talk about firsthand.
At first, I had a hard time finding myself. I have always associated myself with my work. Raise your hand if that’s you, mama. So this felt like I was taking on a new identity — and I mean you kind of are as a new mom, right? We shed our old life and create a new one. One with messy floors, no sleeping in on Saturday, 3 a.m. ragers of a new kind and lots of coffee and dry shampoo. Amma right?!
I think as a SAHM you just have to adjust to your new normal. There isn’t a schedule (unless you want one, of course.) For me, I never went by a schedule, except for bedtime. That was a rigid routine and has been since Day 1. I think that helped with Vera’s sleeping habits, too. For me, the lack of a schedule was difficult. I’m a creature of habit and like to have an idea of what’s going to be happening that day. But my main focus was trying to figure Vera out. When she was sleepy, she’d nap. When she was hungry, she’d eat. When she wanted to play, we’d play. My days were filled with all the same things, day after day, and it felt SO boring. Not to mention, my MIL was staying with us at the time and she and Anton were sometimes the only people I saw. That was the worst.
I’m a very social person. I love meeting people and talking and being out and about. With a new baby in the dead of winter, that just wasn’t happening. I know this is what added to my PPD as well.
My saving grace was meeting the women in my moms group. Other SAHMs like me who wanted to get the hell out of the house and go to playgroups with our kids, classes, lunch, mall walks, literally ANYTHING that would get us connected with other adults. I’d say as a SAHM, you have to have a group of women that you can turn to. They are your buoys in the waters of motherhood. Keeping you afloat and keeping you sane.
My other saving grace? My blog. I told you, I like to work and I have a busy mind. This is the perfect outlet for me to channel my energy. I’m not the perfect housewife. I hate cleaning (but I love a clean house), I do love to cook but not every night, and I hate folding laundry. I will find a million other things to do before cleaning and laundry.
The blog also connects me with other women and moms around the world and I love that about this new adventure. I love talking to other women who are going through the same things and can resonate with the things I talk about. Most of all, I like feeling like I can help other women like me and share the things I’ve gone through or am going through. The blog is my place to share and be open.
Sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice to be at home, but then I realize that not every mom has this opportunity. I am grateful that I even have the choice. I am grateful that I get to see Vera do all the silly and extraordinary things she does. I’m grateful that I get to explore other interests for myself and keep growing. The job market will be there when I decide to return to it. But this stuff … I’ll never get to relive these moments. They are priceless.