I had been working seamlessly for the last 16 years. When baby #2 came and I was presented with the perfect opportunity to take a break from working to spend time with my family, I took it. Doing this involved cashing in my meager 401k to stay afloat while I wasn’t earning any income. I was so tired from the struggle of being a working mother and feeling trapped that I gladly lived off the savings I had for the first year I was home. I began babysitting a few boys that my older son went to school with, which was great at first but eventually headed south due to my son’s inability to share his things with other kids. Once I got the feeling the boys were dreading coming to my house, I had to cut the ties.
So, this leaves me with nothing. No income, no way to feel I’m contributing, no way to feel I’m making progress in my life. And then there are my student loans looming over my head, my ‘failure’ at reaching my weight loss goals, now 17 months postpartum, and the fact I won’t buy clothes or get my hair done because I feel guilty spending money on things that are wants and not needs. I felt like I needed a change. I felt I was ready to go back to work.
I really, really wish I chose something other than Finance when I went to school. At the time I chose it because I wanted to make money and I liked the challenge of it. Unfortunately, I chose poorly. Cue the Indiana Jones – Last Crusade. Thankfully I am not going to wilt into a skeleton, (best movie ever) but returning to work means going back to something I just don’t like doing. Sitting in front of a computer and digging through files to save some giant company a few bucks is not my idea of a meaningful life. Especially when it means someone else is taking care of my kids, feeding them, hugging them and teaching them because I am not there. That just is not how I feel my life is supposed to go, especially because I have the choice at the moment.
I had been applying for positions I thought I would like to do, which would make leaving my kids everyday feel a little more worth it. But those companies were not calling me for interviews. The companies calling me are in the same industry as my prior position. Which I ended up despising towards the end. Total burnout does not remedy after a year and a half in this case. I went on a few interviews and received an offer from an amazing person who owned a very successful business. Being the basket case I am, I went back and forth in my head about 30,000 times before I accepted the offer. I chose my start date. I continued to freak out about whether or not I was ready. I tried to find a nanny, I imagined my husband having to do everything I do everyday. I thought about how I care for my kids non stop all day long. We watch kids shows, read kids books, eat what they like or need for dinner. Who else is going to put themselves aside for my kids? Would it change who my kids are if someone else steps in and their worlds turn upside down? This was by far the hardest decision I ever made.
The night before I was supposed to start, my youngest kept me up all night long. I was so tired in the morning that I knew I would not be going in to work that day. I drove half way to the office with the intent of informing the owner in person, but thinking how awkward that would be in the small office surrounded by the employees, I opted to call and let them know I would not be working for them. (Thank god because my pants were totally not zippered, haha!) It was the hardest call I ever made. And then I cried because I was still not sure I made the right decision for me. My kids, yes, it was the right decision for them.
As mothers, when are we supposed to let go? In my heart I feel like my kids are the biggest priority and I give them everything I’ve got. What about my husband though? As a partner shouldn’t I be contributing to the household? Its such an awkward place to be in.
The truth is that I feel guilty for being home all day reading to my kids, cooking for them, playing with them and doing other mom things while the bulk of the population is off at work slaving away. Are they hating on me for being home? Probably not! For now I am going to enjoy every second I have with my kids and revisit the idea of going back to work when it feels right. I am hoping I will find something I feel passionate and excitement for that will make it easy for me.
Can anyone else relate? Let me know in the comments below!