Stay at home mom was never a title I thought I would own. Coming about kind of accidentally with the unplanned loss of a sitter, my husband and I decided that walking away from my teaching career for a time would be the best option for our two daughters until they were both of school age.
Having come off of an extended pregnancy leave just 5 months prior, I knew what staying at home all day with two toddlers might entail, but I was unprepared for what leaving my profession would mean for me. Yet, I took on this life change and met it positively as an opportunity not only to share in the daily life of my children, an opportunity unreplaceable in life, but also to pursue a dream that had lay dormant for perhaps my whole life: becoming a writer.
I checked out job postings after job posting for editing jobs, writing jobs, educational stay at home and work jobs. I found some success pretty quickly with a job for an educational company creating test prep content. It was different. It was challenging. It was very sporadic. In between assignments I continued to look for something that would be more of a steady income to help supplement and make me feel like I was contributing.
Here I was, staying at home all day long, raising our children, and because I was not “making money” I didn’t feel like I was contributing. That was unexpected.
What also was unexpected was the difficulty I was having obtaining and maintaining a steady gig. I’d get hired and go through training processes only to not make it through time after time after time. Jobs that were requiring me to utilize my skills as a successful teacher for eleven years were slipping through my fingers. I felt like a failure and it was clouding my perspective on the entire stay at home mom experience.
As a stay at home mom, there is really one thing that is absolutely necessary in your life in order to keep it all together and not totally lose your mind. Mom friends. Fellow females who are struggling right along with you on a daily basis with whom you can commiserate, celebrate, and cry if needed. These mom friends may be family, former co-workers ( you stay at home now remember) or just females that life smiled upon you when placing them in your life. And when these “mom friends” talk, it bodes well to listen because they can totally change your perspective.
It was just such the situation for me. I was feeling pretty down about failing to gain and maintain a remote position that worked for me when a good friend of mine put it all in perspective.
” Yeah… it’s hard when you already have a full-time job.”
This statement stopped me in my tracks. A full-time job? I was a stay at home mom.
… a full-time job.
And she was right. Here I was beating myself up and determining my worth based on a number of dollars I was not bringing in when not that long ago I had been paying someone to do my very work. Important work. Life changing work for all who are involved, and I had a position which was also not permanent: mother to two young girls. Two young girls who were quickly growing and changing on a daily basis. Two young girls who would one day grow up and no longer need me in this capacity. And while I knew all of that in the back of my mind, it took my friend’s comment to put it all in perspective for me. It’s ok to struggle and even fail in this additional area of my life because I was already fully employed raising my daughters, and of course, that was affecting my abilities to succeed in areas where I would previously have found more success. Others may be able to pull it off. I was unable to at this point. And that was ok.
I have now been a full-time stay at home mom for over a year and a half, and I still look for employment weekly. I apply for jobs, and even land assignments once in awhile, but my attitude behind it all and my valuing of my worth and contribution to this family has changed. And now, with the help of my mom friends, I have fully transitioned into the stay at home mom frame of mind.