It’s true! I am officially taking the plunge into full-time-mommy hood.
Even before Lila was born, I had a lump of worry in my stomach regarding whether I would continue to work or stay home with her. Those closest to me assured me that once she was here, I would know what I wanted to do. Either I would feel like there was no way I could be away from her or I would feel like I couldn’t wait to get out of the house.
Yeah, well that realization never hit. In fact, after she was born I was more confused than ever. On one had I was obsessed with my new baby. But on the other, those first three months are a lot of mind-numbing repetition and isolation.
After nights of worrying about what to do, I decided to return to work and give it a few months so I was making a decision based on the reality of our situation and not the stresses of adjusting to day care, pumping at work etc. That was in February.
Throughout the months back at work, it became increasingly clear that what we were doing was just not sustainable. You see, both Luke and I commute 45 minutes (in opposite directions), Luke travels internationally twice a month (leaving me a single mom), we don’t have much family nearby to help (just Luke’s brother) and our nanny (who we found at a much lower rate than typical for our area) is moving abroad in August.
Our day-to-day life looked like this: Lila was away from her parents for 10 1/2 hours a day, we only spent about 45 minutes with her before bedtime each evening and the rest of our time home was spent getting ready to do it all over again the next day. We were tired and stressed out.
After some sleepless nights and a few breakdowns, I followed my gut and decided to quit my job to stay home with Lila full time. Thankfully we are blessed to be in a financial situation where we can afford for me to be at home. We are also moving to Reno so Luke’s commute will only be five minutes vs 45 minutes, so his daily quality of life will be much better.
Once the decision was done, I finally felt peace in my heart, which told me it was the right one for us.
Heading into this new stage of life, I am both really excited and slightly terrified.
On the excited front, I am looking forward to being able to spend more time together as a family now that we aren’t commuting so long. I am happy be with Lila all day. Plus I won’t miss any of her firsts. And generally, I’m looking forward to living life for awhile … getting back to things I used to love to do but had to give up because I spent so much of my time working, like playing volleyball or acting.
On the terrified front, I am scared that by quitting my job, I am losing a part of myself. I am a dork in that I genuinely like my job. I am good at it and I like the fulfillment I get from excelling in the office. Taking time away may mean I permanently end my career, which I don’t want to do.
Also, this may sound odd, but I don’t want to totally lose my identity to motherhood. I don’t want to just be “Liz, Lila’s Mom.” Does that sound bad? Finally, I fear that I will be lonely and isolated being home with her all day. Especially since we’re moving to a city where I don’t have any established friendships.
I’ve decided to use this next year as a test of sorts, to see if I’m cut out to stay at home. I am hoping to find a work situation that I can do from home, part time (so if you know of any social media/marketing gigs like that, let me know!). My plan is to get into a routine as quickly as possible, with set activities I do with Lila every day of the week so we are getting out – like joining a moms group, story time at the library and parent/baby swim lessons.
Finally, I am going to carve out some time for myself. One day a week I plan to volunteer with Hospice, I am going to get serious about learning to golf, I’m going to do Dailey Method twice a week (on-site daycare!) and I found a volleyball league I can do one night a week. I am not going to feel bad about doing things for myself either … a happy mommy makes for a happy family, right?
Every time the anxiety about my new role creeps in, I remind myself that this opportunity to soak up Lila’s baby years is a great blessing. And that I never want to live my life based on fear of change and the unknown. Plus, if I find myself going crazy at home, nothing is permanent.
I start this new adventure next week and will surely blog about my transition along the way. I fully expect it will take some time to get settled into a new groove, so thank you in advance for your support and encouragement.
I knew writing this post could be controversial considering all the SAHM vs Working Mom media buzz. And someone close to me called me out on a few things in this post (rightfully so).
First, I wrote that I was happy I could “parent Lila myself.” This was a little misleading. I don’t mean AT ALL that daycare moms aren’t “parents.” More that there were things they do at Lila’s daycare that I didn’t like (like rocking her to sleep vs. letting her put herself down) that I am looking forward to being able to do my own way.
Also, I don’t mean to infer that moms who use daycare or nanny’s are “missing” parts of their kids lives. It was just for us, with our long commutes, the time away was stretching to 10 hours or more, which I didn’t feel comfortable with.
Please know that I have MASSIVE respect for all moms – working or staying home. Both jobs have their sets of challenges and rewards. I admire any mom who can find a happy balance between their work and home life. :)