I always knew I wanted to be a working mom. There isn’t a Pinterest/craft/teacher gene in a single cell of my body and the thought of staying home playing play-doh all day sounded terrifying (and if we are being honest- boring). After my son was born, I was able to go part time at work so I worked three days a week and had two days to spend with him. It was just enough time to be home with him and then I was ready to get back to work- the best of both worlds.
When we moved to Austin, I left my job of ten years and decided I would start working in a new industry. It was really hard to find a job because I didn’t fit into any “box.” I had a decade of experience doing something I didn’t want to do anymore, but I was nowhere near an entry-level employee – I lived in job limbo. This meant as a stay-at-home mom I was with my children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it was suffocating. The fact that I was working morning until night with no adult time, no co-worker lunches, no drinking hot coffee at my desk, and basically NO escape from being needed by these little people all day long made me feel crazy, sad, and lonely. I love my kids and took them on every adventure I could think of around Austin – to the zoo, Kiddie Acres, Thinkery, every playground we could find, the mall- but it just wasn’t the same as having that time away. On Sunday nights, I would get depressed over the fact that I wasn’t waking up to go to work the next day.
All my days were becoming a blur.
I missed having adults to talk to during the day.
I missed having my lunch break to take a spin class, go out to lunch in a restaurant that didn’t require a high chair or chicken fingers, or being able to just finish a salad at my desk without being interrupted.
I missed going to the bathroom and having no one need me while I was in there.
I missed that part of myself that made me feel like “pre-mom Amy.”
Being at home, I had no goals to work towards, no projects to finish, and no accomplishments to be proud of.
A few things happened after a year of being home that helped me get into a better place. First off, I made other stay-at-home mom friends! I am extremely social by nature and needed adults to talk to on a daily basis. Having a tribe of women that I could meet at playgrounds, take neighborhood walks with, or grab wine with on Thursday nights turned out to be a huge key to my survival. Secondly, I would escape for a few hours when my husband got home so I could have me time – either taking a walk or exercise class, hiding in another room from everyone for a few hours, or roaming the aisles at Target. In time, I think I began to get used to my new “normal” (as hard as it still was) and I started to embrace the fact that I had this very fleeting time to spend with my kids before they were in school for the next 15 years.
Presently, my son is in school full time and my daughter part-time. I own my own business and work from home around the kids’ schedules. It finally feels as if I have created that perfect work/life balance where I feel like my old self but can still attend every field trip, school event, and doctors appointment. Are things perfect? Absolutely not. Sometimes I miss being in an office for 8+ hours a day knowing my kids were taken care of by someone else and I had time to work with no distractions.
I think the social side of me will always miss being in an environment surrounded by co-workers rather than working from home while my child naps. But for this stage of our family life – it is pretty darnclose to an ideal situation.