Monday, September 30, 2013

My new job title: Stay at home Mom

I got my first real job after college at the end of December 2007. Days after my interview, I got pregnant with my first child. At the time, I was working a part-time job for the local county government while trying to find something full-time. Morning sickness set in, and I ended up leaving that position in March of 2008. It was nice to be able to rest when I wanted to and not worry about getting dressed during the day if I wasn't feeling up to it. I was sick for the majority of my pregnancy. I was still waiting on my security clearance to go through for my new job and didn't know when that would end up happening. I didn't start work full time until June of 2008, right before my third trimester began.

Philip was born when I was just three months at my new job and I went back full time in December of 2008 after my maternity leave when he was three months old. That same month, we also bought our first house and my position as a working mom was solidified. It was hard. I worked full time for the next two years, always around Phil's work schedule. At the time he worked 6 pm to 2 am five days a week so we made it work without childcare. In 2010, he changed jobs, and was put on a 2 on, 2 off, three on, schedule. As a result, I had to switch to part time work in order to fit in my hours on his days off. From that point in time up until August 2013, I worked between 20 and 30 hours per week around Phil's schedule, without childcare. And it was a logistical nightmare. One that resulted in my frequently being stressed out and unhappy. I couldn't be a good employee and a good mother at the same time when I was trying to be both things at once. But being married to a civil servant and not making a boatload of cash myself, paid child care for our two children was out of the question. We had to press on, making it work, often at the cost of my mental health.

In May 2013, Phil was presented for an opportunity to take on a part-time position, at twice the pay of my hourly wage, to work around his full time job. With him working this new job while also working a full-time job, and being a part-time college student, it made the most sense logisically for one of us to assume the role of breadwinner, while they other assumed the role of full-time care taker for our soon to be three children. Thankfully this was an arrangement we both arrived at happily and that felt right to the both of us. Although I was anxious about no longer earning a regular paycheck, I was more than happy to leave the stress of my ever-changing, constantly stressful, never truly part-time, part-time job of five years behind.

I've been at home full time for a month now and while being a stay-at-home mom is by no means easy and certainly has its own daily stresses, not having to also be a working mom, often at the same time, has been such a huge relief. I am a happier, nicer mom and wife. I love being able to be more involved at Philip and Andrew's preschool and not having to see the sad look on my children's faces when I leave for work. I like the traditional role of at home mom. I have never been a career-minded individual. All I have ever truly aspired to be in this life was a mother, and there's nothing wrong with that.

I still very much feel like I want and need to be bringing in some kind of an income, but I am looking forward to having the time available to figure out how I am going to go about doing that in the future. I in no way, shape, or form wish to go back to the line of work I did before. While the benefits and flexibility were great, the monotony and pressure of the work were soul-crushing. If I have to work for a living, I hope I can find something that brings in a paycheck and also makes me at least moderately happy. In the meantime, I am enjoying being right where I have wanted to be since the moment we brought our first child home from the hospital--at home with my kids. It's a blessing I will not take for granted, even on the toughest days.

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