We all loaded up in the car after Shep had his first haircut and I thought to myself, “how did he get so big, so fast.”
Every mom says this like it’s some kind of new revelation that her child keeps getting bigger as the days go on. But that day it hit me and I burst into tears.
I had been holding on as tight as I could to my career, all I had known over the past decade, and knew I had to let go. At least for a little while.
See, Shep used to have these beautiful blonde curls, but as he got closer to two years old, those curls started to straighten out and his hair was a mix between Stewie and Einstein. No longer cute baby curls. Plus, he was rubbing his blankets on his head at night and some pieces had started to break off. It was time.
But my sweet, chubby little baby now looked like a boy and it was just too much.
The year had been too much if I was honest. With career ups and downs for my husband and I, we now were faced with a very exciting opportunity we were ready to take. It required a move up to my home state of Ohio, and I had to decide what was next with my job. I had just taken this new job when Beau was only 10 weeks old, excited by the new agency environment, new industry experience and generous time off benefits. But even that started to seem like too much at this point in our lives.
Clint lost his mother this year, and my god, it was horrible. Watching your husband lose his first love, a mother he had such a deep, wonderful connection with, was gut-wrenching. Thinking about all the wonderful memories we had with her, and the future ones we wanted her to be a part of so badly, made me hurt physically. When you lose someone so close, and it’s so fast, you think about life differently. When someone you love and has such a big presence is suddenly gone, you can’t but help to ask yourself, am I making the most of my precious time here?
Then our sweet baby Beau was born, and our hearts exploded. He provided us so much joy during a time that was so hard on our family. Beau is a joyful, content baby and his smile lights up the room.
While my vision of our future was two ambitious parents, with two exciting and growing careers, sharing the responsibilities, having exciting date nights where we exchanged the daily updates from our respective careers, celebrating promotions together and encouraging one another along the way, that had started to change. I had been living in lala land because that wasn’t what it was looking late lately.
I had always thought – I’ll never stay home. Financially, personally, I thought I was never wired that way. I liked the extra money a second income provided and I enjoyed what I did. I was a natural multitasker and thrived on it. I relished the moments I was home with my boys but also the time away at work. I loved the new assignments, my colleagues, networking, learning. I felt like I hit the jackpot when I found a career that stimulated me mentally and gave me a paycheck.
But it finally hit me, two parents with two demanding careers was something I didn’t want as much as I thought I did. Somewhere along the way something had to give and I wasn’t willing to have childcare for any more of the time we already did. And what I realized is that I didn’t need to think the only way to have successful career was to follow the same corporate ladder all the way up. I was allowed to have some twists and turns along the way.
And so – that night I leaned over to Clint and said, “I’m done. I can’t do it anymore. The balancing everything is too much. I’m staying home for now.”
So that was it. It wasn’t a matter of waiting for something to magically happen until I was going to stay home, like I’ve read about so many times. It just kind of happened gradually. I think that’s what I’ve learned this year. I should never say never. Because it isn’t always a matter of a mom saying, “I love my career and want to balance both.” Sometimes circumstances make it so that at different seasons in your life, your choices are made for you.
No more 4:50 am wake-ups (well maybe, but not because I’m starting to get ready for my downtown commute). No more conference calls. No more business trips. No more crying in the car after my toddler said “Mommy sit down!” No more gazing longingly at our daily update pictures. No more quiet evening commutes (honestly, I didn’t always hate them). No more tugs of guilt when I see moms’ group pictures at daytime outings. No more having to say no to every weekday activity. No more possible promotions at work.
I never thought I’d be staying at home, but I also never thought I’d be so excited about doing so.
Come along, on this very new journey for me.
(Sidenote: I am going to be freelancing, and I can’t wait to get started (late September and it’s mostly during naps and evenings). Interested in my professional services? Visit this page.)