I never thought I'd be a stay at home mother. No judgement. To each his or her own. I grew up in a single parent home where self sufficiency was key, even if my mother didn't realize that was the message. That message was certainly not a bad one, just one, after a decade in the finance industry and a professionally driven mindset stemming from a lifetime of never thinking even ONCE that I wouldn't go to a job every day, that made the transition to “stay at home motherhood” a complex one.
If you would have asked me three years ago if my plan was to be a stay at home mother, my response would have been, “Not in my life!” My son turns three in July. I feel strongly that we made the right decision but I cannot say that decision was made without looking back.
I didn't realize my world would be turned upside down. Up until 39 weeks pregnant, I proclaimed to my work mates that “there was no way I could breastfeed more than 12 weeks. the inconvenience! 8 weeks maternity leave is for the weak!” (I breastfed my first born for 10 months until I became pregnant with our second son. Our second son is almost 15 months and we're still breastfeeding.)
The day I returned to work (after 12 weeks, by the way, 8 and then I tagged on all my vacation while leave), I felt gratitude for my mother for a lot of reasons. This time, she flew in from Maine to help with the transition back to both of us working full time. My sweet baby boy was ten weeks old. I had a rough labor, delivery and recovery and in short…that day going to work felt, well, simply and absolutely wrong.
I HAD NEVER FELT SUCH FORCE OF CONVICTION UNTIL I SAT IN MY OFFICE STARING AT A COMPUTER SCREEN. LEAVING MY INFANT SON FOR “THIS” WAS NOT AN EVEN TRADE OFF. HE NEEDED ME. I NEEDED HIM.
No matter the uncertain road, leaving my baby for 50 hours a week didn't feel right to me. Leaving my baby felt as right to me as pumping in a handicap stall in the work bathroom.
It took two weeks convincing my boss that I must leave the job. He didn't understand the decision. Honestly, there were moments when I didn't either but I just couldn't stay. I “resigned” FOUR times before I finally said, “I won't be in on Monday” to which my boss replied, “Okay, but if you want to come in on Monday, just know there is a place for you.” I recall one of the simplest and clearest realizations I had was on the drive home from work that last day. I glanced over at my passenger, Breast Pump, and thought, “Wow, I don't have to do THAT anymore. I can be there for my baby when he needs me.”
Simple. Profound. Clarity.
That was 2.5 years ago and I haven't looked back…sort of…as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I grew up in a home where self-sufficiency, whether my mother meant to convey or not, was paramount to being. Again, not a bad quality to instill in children, just one that can make leaving my job to be a full time mother, a role of which I had no inkling how to perform, fraught with feelings of vulnerability and insecurity in ways I had never experienced in my entire life. Being home all day with this little being felt wrong. But it didn't. Not being able to chose when I could shower, go to the bathroom and eat felt wrong. But it didn't.
I was so conflicted internally that my subconscious had no idea what to do with me. My dreams during this time were outright hilarious and frightful. I feel 100% secure in my marriage but suddenly I was having dreams about my husband leaving me in every which way, for example.
I was so uncomfortable. I suddenly had no idea how to relate to anyone…
…but maybe I could have related to you?
Here I am almost three years later with as much conviction but little did I know that the discomfort would last so long.
This piece is only the beginning of a series outlining my transition from MBA to Mom. There are meaty topics of which I have been seeking an outlet to process…and, alas, my outlet, my blog, certainly not private but effective. I look forward to sharing more of this journey with you. Perhaps more importantly I hope to relate to you in your journey down a similar path. If you haven't yet read Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids, and Life in a Half-Changed World by Peggy Orenstein and Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer give them a go. Great books on the topic.
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