Last Thursday was a big day for me. I met with my boss to notify her that I would not be returning to work at the end of my maternity leave. I could tell by the look on her face that she was expecting it. She was very kind and respected my decision.
I’m definitely going to miss my job. I really enjoyed working in the medical field and the atmosphere in my clinic was great. My boss was wonderful. The pay was good. The hours were flexible. It was hard to give up.
So why did I quit?
The compromises my husband and I would have made by me going back to work were far too many. The compromises we’re making in order to allow me to stay home to raise the kids and focus on my business, however, are well worth it. Jeremy and I have a vision of what we want our life to look like, and this was a major step towards making that dream a reality.
Earlier this week a friend shared with me that she had just resigned from her job. She recently had a son and decided it would be best to stay home with him for some time. She said it has been tough for her. She really liked her job and where she was working. She stated, “It’s nice to get dressed up, go to work, and feel important. That’s why I got my masters after all.” She stated she likes to be busy and thrives on routine.
I really admire this mama for her authenticity in sharing this with me. I think for some mamas, it’s such a dream to be a stay-at-home-mama that it’s hard to understand how anyone wouldn’t want to. I also feel that some mamas wouldn’t want to share that they’re not 100% thrilled about leaving their job for fear of being perceived as ungrateful.
Everyone’s situation is unique. Some cannot wait to go back to work after maternity leave. Others dread it and do it anyway because that’s their only option. Some make the difficult decision to resign in order to do what they feel is best for their family. Others are eager to resign and stay home with the kids. There are unique challenges to each of these situations.
Here are a few tips for mamas who have chosen to leave their job in order to be home with the kiddos:
- Know that your degree is not wasted
- For those in a degree-specific job, it can be difficult to quit after all the hard work you put into getting your degree so that you could get that job. You’re proud of all your hard work (as you should be). Know that, in that season of employment, your degree served you well and you served others well with it. Who knows, you may return to a job and put that degree to use again. Also, think of the ways your degree may serve you as a mama.
- Adjust your idea of what makes you feel important
- Many of us draw a lot of our worth from our jobs. Our jobs give us a sense of purpose, and like my friend said, they make us feel important. Without that, we may feel like we aren’t contributing to society, even though we’re raising a child (which is definitely a huge contribution!).
- Do you feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day with your child(ren)? If not, that’s okay. You may eventually, or you may not. If you don’t, and you yearn for that sense of accomplishment, find a way to build into others. Reach out to and support a friend. Do some type of volunteer work. Build into and love on others.
- Take what you enjoyed about work and build those things into your home life
- Are you like my friend and thrive on routine? If so, build a routine to follow at home.
- Do you like to be busy? Incorporate tasks into your day that will keep you moving and motivated. Your kid(s) will probably give you lots to do; be sure to also build in some things that are just for you (exercise, a hobby, reading, etc.).
- Did you enjoy the social aspect of going to work? You could connect with a community group through your church, attend activities at the library, or meet up with other mamas at the park. Volunteer work is also great.
Wherever you stand in your feelings about now being a stay-at-home-mama, give yourself a lot of grace. Everyone is adjusting—you, Dad, and the kids. Some fall into the role seamlessly while others need some time to come into their own. It will take some time to get into a routine and figure out what is and isn’t going to work. You may not love every single moment—and that’s okay. It’s a lot to take in.
Welcome to this new stage in your journey, Mama. You’re going to do great.
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