From Full-Time Career to Stay At Home Mom: An Unexpected Decision


Since the age of 16 and my first job at Sears, I have always held a full-time job. During most of those 11 years I attended school full-time as well. It wasn't something that I really had a choice in. I was brought up to be a hard worker, if I wanted things in life, I worked hard for them. My parents had always instilled the value of working for what you want in life, since hand-outs are never truly free.

I liked to work, I liked getting up in the morning and knowing exactly what the day had in store for me. It was a sense of accomplishment when I would get my yearly review or when a student would tell me they missed me over winter break. Never did I think I would be in a position where I wasn't employed.

When my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child, we were so excited! I rapidly started planning my maternity leave around the school calendar (since I worked at the near-by high school). It worked out perfectly. My little boys' expected due date was the week after April break and my leave would take me right into summer vacation, which meant I would have the entire summer off as well. I figured this would give us enough time to adjust to having a newborn and enough time to prepare for going back to work in September.

As the months flew by and my due date getting closer, I started to worry about going back to work the following September. How was I going to do it? Could I really leave my 4 month old baby in the care of someone I had only met a handful of times? Then the unthinkable happened.... I landed myself on bed rest 7 weeks before my due date! I had the perfect pregnancy, or so I thought, until my 33 week check-up. I had been having pre-term contractions and my midwife ordered me on bed rest, which meant no more work.

UGH! What was I going to do? I had lesson plans I was right in the middle of teaching, I had to start preparing the students for finals, there was no time to start my leave early. I HAD to work! But apparently my child needed me to slow down or he was going to make an early appearance, which I was not ready for. So, reluctantly, I took my leave early and stayed home.

During the course of those 7 weeks I slowly got accustomed to being at home. Even though I wasn't able to do much, I fantasized what it would be like if I could stay home with my boy once he arrived. As his due date grew closer, the idea became more and more appealing.

Then his due date came, April 20th, and so did he. Right on time! After the hoopla of the birth and the hospital stay was over and we were back home I was faced with the ultimate decision. I received in the mail my "letter of intent" that I had to sign stating that I was to return in September, a yearly formality. Never had I ever hesitated to sign it, I was always the first to mail it back to Administration. But this time, I held on to it for a few days, opening it and re-reading those few short sentences and that looming blank line with the "sign here" sticker pointing to it.

Could I sign it? Could I leave my boy after spending every waking moment with him for the past few weeks? No, I couldn't. But could I be a stay at home mom when I worked so hard to get where I was? I wasn't sure. This is where my amazing husband comes in. He made the decision easy for me. He told me that work will always be there when I'm ready to go back, but these moments with our son are so fleeting and I can never get them back. That was all it took for me to not sign the paper and to send in my resignation in its place.

It was a scary moment when I placed that envelope in the mail. I knew once it was sent out, I would no longer be employed, I would no longer be heading off to teacher workshops in late August, I would no longer be setting up a classroom. My entire world was now defined as a "stay at home mom", something I never wanted to be (until now). But my husband was right, I would miss my son growing up. And for what, to teach other children when I could be at home teaching my own?

Some mom's don't have the opportunity to stay at home, or for some it just isn't for them. But for our little family, it was the right decision. But it doesn't come without sacrifice and hard work. And 3 months later I realized I didn't give up a career, I just changed my career. Being a stay at home mom is a full-time job.

Updates to come!

The face I get whenever I mention going back to work. How could I ever leave him???


14 comments:

  1. Its hard leaving your baby. I really wanted to stay home after my third baby but it wasn't in the cards. Luckily, he was able to stay home with daddy for a few months before heading to daycare.

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    1. That is wonderful that he is able to stay home with his dad for a few months! I think the first few months are the most vital. I'm planning on going back to work after the second one....or I might try homeschooling. I think every family has to find what works for them. As long as the child is happy that is all that matters :):)

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    2. Yes, I am now at home but not by personal choice. I have back problems that keep me from working a traditional job. My baby still is in daycare and I hope to bring him home in a few months when he can do more things for himself. I miss having my baby at home. They grow up way too fast. My youngest is two and is turning into a big boy. I have two older kids that I was luck to stay at home with when they were babies. It was an awesome memory.

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    3. I'm sorry to hear about your back! But I think it's all about setting priorities, which you are doing. You are doing what you can so you wont hurt yourself even more, because if you did then you couldn't care for your babe! And it's really all about the memories. I bet you do miss him, but the moments you do get to spend together I bet is even more special!

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  2. I have worked a full time job my entire life and even tried to go back to part time after my first. But, the more my husband and I talked about it... It just didn't make sense. Now with 2 kids I do NOT know how working moms do it. You are absolutely right being a mom is a full time job!!

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    1. It's such a hard transition! I think I would have gone back, or at least tried too if I didn't have summers off already. I don't know how working moms do it either, I would miss my baby like crazy!! But I also don't think that people give SAHM's enough credit. My husband tells me he see's it is a full-time job :)

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  3. My first child is due in about 2 months and I, like you, have worked since the day I turned 16. Now, I (along with my husband) have made the decision for me to be at home full-time once baby arrives. I tell him at least once a week that I am scared to no longer draw an income and not contribute to society outside of the home. Its nice to read about someone's transition and know that it doesn't come with out feeling some kind of way about it.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~Tenns
    New Mama Diaries

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    1. Congrats!! I will tell you it is a tough transition. But trust me you are contributing to society. You baby will grow up and will be part of it and how you raise him will directly affect other people. So you are absolutely contributing! I think you will always have those feelings of having to give up what you've always known. Just think of it as "your new normal" (which I blogged about also.) Good luck!!!

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  4. Awwww! How could you think of leaving that face? LOL. What a cutie! I'm a workaholic and had to stay home for a few years with my daughter (not really by choice but by choice, if that makes sense? She needed years of neurorehabilitation and I made the choice that she needed me and I felt there was no other option but me to stay at home and take care of her until she stabilized!)

    Thanks for following me back from Bloggy Moms!

    Jaime
    jaimelovesstuff.com

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    1. Sorry for the late reply! He is a cutie isn't he? :) I hope your daughter is doing well, and in the end we have the make the decisions that are right for our families, and each family is different. :)

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  5. It's much easier to be a 'career mom' when you don't have your baby. I thought the same thing, until I had my son and it was too much to leave him so soon. I went back to work when he was 14 months, on contract - and ultimately became a stay at home mom, working part-time and from home. Wishing you all the best with your little one.

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    1. I agree. I couldn't imagine leaving home right now. Perhaps when he is older and more independent. I wish you the best as well! Thank you for visiting!!!

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  6. Reading your blog about becoming a stay at home mom was so familiar to me, it was like I wrote it myself! I wanted to be a teacher my entire life and I loved teaching! Once I had kids, though, the picture definitely changed for me. I remember wishing that I could be two people so I could still enjoy working full time...My kids are 14 and 17 now...enjoy this time!

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    1. I so wish I could be more than one person! I felt like I was letting down my students and my fellow teachers. But then if I were to go to work I would be letting down my son. I know for me I made the right decision, it wasn't easy but there will always be time to work once he is older. Perhaps I could be his HS teacher one day ;)

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