Wednesday, 1 January 2014
The Bigger Announcement
Remember that time I made a big announcement and everyone thought I was pregnant? Well, now I have another one to make. Aaaand…..well, still not preggo. We’re taking care of that for good next month actually.
I keep saying big changes are coming for our family this year. Finally it’s official and I can talk about it.
The news this time: I’m returning to work full time in August. And not just to any old job I find between now and then, I’m returning to my old job. The job I had before I started staying home with my girls.
The official title is Assistant Director of the Student Success Center at North Central University. What I’ll do with that title is teach an academic success class for at risk students, run the tutoring program on campus, do some one on one academic coaching, advise students who haven’t chosen a major yet, teach workshops on time management and study skills, and help provide accommodations for students with disabilities. In short, I’ll help people set goals and achieve them. Dream job I tell you.
While I don’t need to justify my personal decision to anyone, I want to write about it because maybe there’s a working mom out there who feels she needs to be home with her kids in order to be a good mom. Or maybe there’s a stay at home mom who feels guilty about wanting to go back to work. This post is for those mamas to know they’re not alone. And of course it’s for others of you who read and are just curious why I’d make this choice.
Before Mariah was born, I thought I’d stay home with her right away. But we had lots of debt piled up, and with the way my maternity leave and summer vacation fell, I got 4 months with her before returning to work which was perfect. We had her at a daycare center where she hardly slept and the bill took half my salary. We made the switch to an in-home daycare at half the cost when she was 1 1/2 and paid off most of our debt so I could start staying home with her. My reasons for wanting to stay home? I wanted to be the one teaching her. I felt like I was missing out on watching her learn and discover the world. I also wanted to be able to control her sleep. I blamed daycare for her many night wakings. I never hated my job, I just wanted to stay home.
I thought staying home would mean my house would be clean all the time, I’d have beautiful healthy meals on the table when my husband walked in the door every night, my laundry would be clean and folded in a timely manner, and my days would be filled with learning and crafts. That’s what I’d seen on all the blogs and Pinterest, so of course it was achievable. Oh how naive I was.
I started my stay at home mom journey in May of 2011. And for the most part, my picture perfect mom life was coming true. I really enjoyed my time with Mariah. There was lots of learning and crafting and my house was pretty clean.
Then Lana arrived and postpartum depression hit. It took me quite awhile to get out of the desperate funk I was in. You can read more about that HERE.
Whenever Nick and I got a date night, or had some time to talk about goals and the future, we’d talk about where and when I’d go back to work. I was desperate to get out and away. The conversation always came back to me saying, “But the only job I ever want is the job I had. Maybe I can have it back someday.”
Eventually I made my way out of the fog and started to gain a healthier perspective on what being a stay at home mom of two littles looked like for me. I threw out the idea of a “perfect mom” and started to accept who I am as a mama. I gave myself more grace. I was less desperate to get back to the working world. I was content.
Then in August my phone rang.
My former boss called to tell me my old job would be open next August. He just wanted to let me know so I could think about it.
And it was all I could think about for about for that first month. Constantly it was on my mind.
Eventually it didn’t consume my every thought. After much prayer and thought and discussions, we decided it was the right move.
For me it’s the right move for lots of reasons:
Because Mariah will start full day Kindergarten next fall and Lana would benefit from daycare/preschool in so many ways.
Because the work I did at North Central was so fulfilling. I had a great boss and was able to use my strengths and gifts every day.
Because daily office time and a commute sounds heavenly to this introvert.
Because I love taking on a big project. Starting with nothing, dreaming and planning and then executing. I don’t get much of that at home with all the interruptions.
Because when does your dream job open up to you a second time?
And because my original reasons for being home were to be the perfect mom and do what I thought I was supposed to do to create the best life for my children. I don’t hate it by any means, but I don’t think being at home quite lines up with who I’m created and called to be. I know now I can still be a wonderful mother and have influence in my girls’ lives even if I work outside of the home.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m so thankful for the time I’ve had at home with my girls and if anything it brought me closer to the Lord and gave me more clarity than I’ve ever had in my life before. I’m grateful we could afford to live this way and I could have these 3 years with them. Now that I’ve made the decision to return to work, it’s changed my perspective on being home and I’m soaking up the sweet moments as much as I can. Heading back into the working world with a great appreciation for my time at home is much better than returning as an escape from my children.
I realize it won’t be all fluffy bunnies and unicorns when I go back. I clearly remember the commuting, rush to get dinner on the table, evening exhaustion and the few hours before bedtime I’ll have each night with my girls. But this time? This time my expectations are more realistic. This time around I’ve learned to handle the stress and let go of the guilt.
This time I’m not comparing my life to anyone else’s. This change is just right for our family and I can’t wait!