I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I am the oldest of four children and there are three kids in Hubs’ family. My own mom worked during parts of my childhood and stayed home during other parts. Eventually, she became a teacher and worked when we were in school. This was awesome because we were all on the same schedule.
I got my first job when I was 16 at a fine jewelry store. I worked there during high school and seasonally through my sophomore year of college. During college, I had a job on campus during the year and other jobs during the summer. I worked in leasing, babysitting, office administration, and even some sales and advertising. I enjoyed every one of these jobs.
In graduate school, I worked on campus as well as for a non-profit consulting firm. Following graduation, Hubs and I got married, honeymooned, and I began my career working in student services on a University campus. I loved my job. Mostly. I transitioned in the same department to become the office manager after about a year and a half. That’s the job I was in when we had Little.
To be honest, I always thought I would eventually become a stay-at-home mom, but when my boss found out I was expecting, he was so supportive and willing to work with me that I wanted to give it a try to go back to work. Because we were on an academic/fiscal year calendar, I decided I would give it until June 30 and reevaluate. I went back to work in December, 12 weeks after having Little.
I stayed there for 4 months before ultimately deciding to stay home full time with Little. To be honest, I really enjoyed my time at work and am really grateful to have had the experience to go back to a job I loved. But, when our nanny got a new job offer that we couldn’t match, Hubs and I decided that it was the right time to make the transition. Everyday I am reminded just how much of a blessing it is to be this little boy’s mama. I cherish all the time I get to spend with him. Today, I’d like to share some of the reasons I chose to become a stay-at-home mom as well as some reflections of this journey after just a year.
Why I Became a Stay-at-Home Mom
My Job Was Far Away & I Spent Way Too Much Time in The Car
According to Google maps, my office was just about 30 minutes from my driveway. What that didn’t include was time getting off campus and highway congestion during rush hour, in the rain, or after any sort of car accident had taken place. Depending on those variable factors, it might take me almost an hour to get home from work any given afternoon. What used to be a completely do-able commute turned incredibly stressful when I was rushing home to pick up Little. My commute took so many extra hours out of my week that I was constantly on the go.
I Felt Unable to Give 100% to any of my Roles
When I do things, I like to do them well. I loved my job, but I knew that family always comes first. When I was working, I always felt the push and pull between work and family and frankly, I just never found a good balance. When I was at work, I felt confident and productive, but I was always coming in late to the office and trying to get home before rush hour traffic (usually with a 45% success rate). At home, I was constantly rushing to get dinner on the table, bags packed for the next day, breastfeeding Little and trying to get any bits of cleaning done that we could. It was truly like having two full time jobs at once.
I Didn’t Want to Miss This Time With Little
Deciding to leave my job was a decision that I took seriously. It was a good job with a great team and a really supportive boss. I had been praying for guidance on when the right time might be to transition home and my nanny turning in her 30 day notice was a clear sign to me that it was time to leave. The way I looked at it was that I was leaving behind a work force that would always be there to spend time with Little who was growing more every day.
What I meant by that was that if I stayed home and decided it wasn’t for me, I could find another job. It might not be the same job, or even a job at the same level. But eventually, I would be able to re-enter the workforce and work my way up if I wanted. I would never have the opportunity to go back and spend time with Little as a baby.
I Wanted to Teach Little and Watch Him Grow
This is similar to the previous point, but I really wanted to be the one to teach Little and to see him grow and learn new things. Our nanny was excellent. At the end of the day though, I wanted to be the one to teach Little. We spend lots of time learning at home together. We practice our letters, numbers, shapes, manners, and bible verses on a regular basis. It is incredible how much Little is able to learn and pick up on so quickly at this age.
Some Thoughts after a Year at Home
I am thankful every single day to be able to stay home with Little. I don’t ever want to take for granted the opportunity that I have with him. Not every mom will choose to stay home full time. Many moms don’t feel like they have the option even if they wanted to stay home full time. There are so many ways to parent well and very few that are easy. No matter which choice you making, momming is no easy task. I want to encourage working mamas and stay-at-home mamas to do the best you can in whatever circumstance.
Since staying home with Little, I have been able to learn even more to depend on God’s grace. I am a work in progress and there are still so many things I am working on (a regular cleaning schedule for one). Staying home has allowed me to meet new people and get to know my neighbors better and it allows us to spend more family time together on the weekends since I have a little bit of flex time during the week to catch up on things that we might not get to during the weekend.
This is truly my favorite job yet. It is tough and exhausting. But it’s also, incredibly rewarding.
Talk to Me
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on staying at home vs. working outside of the home. Having been in both roles as a mom, I truly see value to both. I am so thankful to have had both of those experiences. I do not regret going back to work at all, in the same way that I do not regret deciding to stay home. There is much to be learned from sharing our experiences and encouraging one another. It takes a whole village. Am I right?!