MBA Turned Mom {Shock}

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.

The Day My Life ChangedThe Day My Life Changed Forever

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.


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.

Thank you for visiting. Come back soon.




Founder, Publisher, Writer & Editor at Carrots Are Orange, Inc.
Marnie began Carrots Are Orange in 2010 after the birth of her first son. Carrots Are Orange is a Montessori inspired learning and living blog for parents and educators. She hails from Maine, a wonderfully down to earth place to grow up. Marnie moved to the west coast in 1999, currently living east of Seattle with her husband and three young boys. She is pursuing Montessori certification. Her work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, PBS Kids, BabyCenter, the Melissa & Doug blog, and


  1. Jennifer says

    You had me at MBA…

    Moving to a foreign country right before having our son pretty much forced me to become a SAHM. Something I know I secretly longed for. However, I sometimes wonder if my years of education and student loans were all for naught. Also, coming to terms with the fact that my Domestic Goddess skills are a little lacking have made the last few months interesting. Loved the read, and am looking forward to the next installment!

  2. says

    Your story sounds very familiar :). I never planned on being a SAHM either. I always thought I would return to my career and that I wouldn’t be able to stand not working. Ha, one look at my oldest and my heart knew where I belonged. I went back to work after maternity leave, only to resign a few months later. No regrets, only happy memories.
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  3. eryn says

    I never expected to be a stay-at-home mom, either. I am the child of a single mom and the lesson I learned early in life was never to depend on a man for anything.

    I spent 14 months after our son was born working from home, and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was good for us financially, but it came at a high cost to me personally and there were many sacrifices that we made as a family in order for me to do that. The thing that really made it possible was having my mom nearby to babysit regularly while I worked, but when we relocated to another part of the country and had to put our son in daycare. I just couldn’t do it. It’s been almost a year since I became a full-time mom, and I’m so glad I have had the opportunity to be at home with our son. It has been a struggle at times, particularly financially, but overall it has been extremely rewarding.
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  4. says

    You know I have always felt a little ashamed that I quit my PhD program once I became pregnant. I have zero regrets about it, and I know it was 100% the right decision. But your article has put it into perspective for me. I think it was how I was raised, and like you said there is nothing bad about it, but it just gives me these twinges of unease. My mom started college when I was 10 and graduated law school when I was 16. I have always held her in high regard for accomplishing this amazing feat while raising 3 kids by herself. I suppose I want to live up to that ideal in a way. I want to accomplish something amazing, but I remind myself that stay at home moms are accomplishing amazing things too. It’s just not as much of a “Wow” factor to it, I guess. Thank you for your thoughtful post and it inspired reflection.
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    • says

      Oh, Rebekah, thanks so much for choosing to share your story with me. My mother, and it sounds like your mother too, set these ridiculously high standards without realizing it (and neither did I until I had kids to be honest). Suddenly, I was complaining because I has ONE child, an extremely supporting husband and was FORTUNATE to have the OPPORTUNITY to stay home. I am so happy to hear these sentiments are hitting home for women. I will write more about my journey (and it continues). In brief, though, when I became a parent I suddenly lost control (yes, we all do, right) of my sense of self. I quit my job, one I was good at, and suddenly felt as though I was failing to live up to these crazy expectations we set for ourselves…it isn’t our moms faults. They are the people who raised us to always be reaching for the stars. My mom made a great point on my FB page when I posted this article yesterday. She said, her generation was all about equal rights and our generation is all about equal everything. It is confusing and uncomfortable. If you haven’t read FLUX by Peggy Orenstein, you should…more later. TY for commenting…

  5. Michelle says

    I love this story, and can relate so much – I’m blessed to work part time and still keep a job that I love, but the majority of my life is being a mom. Thanks for writing this!

  6. says

    Marnie. I am learning so much about blogging from those of you a generation younger. Obviously your heart felt post has resonated with so many. I am your mom’s peer and no doubt am responsible for ‘guilt’ on behalf of my daughters. LOL. We cheer for each other, yet those high standards and adoring expectations can throw a wrench into the works. Thank you for your genuine honesty. I came over to thank you for contributing such a fun post to my blog and just started reading more + more here! All the best as you work to sort it all out. I have a bumper sticker that makes me smile. “When all else fails — lower your standards.” Comes in handy for all sorts of reasons!

  7. says

    thanks for sharing your story, I am loving reading about all your activities for kids and look forward to doing some of them with my daughter. Your website is a great resource. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. polly says

    I admit I haven’t yet read everything on your blog that I want to, but I just had to reach out and connect asap. I’m struggling with the decision of whether to quit my extremely flexible job with excellent benefits and the most supportive management team to stay at home with my two daughters, aged 1 and 3. It is such a hard decision! I find comfort in the fact that you resigned four times — I already have one under my belt but was told to hold off on writing my letter while they worked to find a part-time schedule that would work for me. That was almost a year ago and here I am again trying to make the same decision. I keep thinking “if there were only one thing that wasn’t working well…” but there isn’t. We have an AMAZING nanny who cares for the girls during my working hours, my boss is SO supportive and accepting of my schedule, I can work from home 90% of the time, etc., etc. The hardest part of working is my own expectations for me — I am not the master at my job that I once was and I struggle with that on a daily basis. I feel like I’m riding on the wings of the reputation I had before kids. To be at that level I know I would need to spend 60 hours/week on the job, and that’s just not going to happen. In one breath I miss who I once thought I was at work, and in the next I know that my priorities have completely shifted and my attention needs to be at home with my kids. After all, there is plenty of time work when they are out of the house. My job now is to give them as much love and nurturing as I possibly can — I want to homeschool, I want to play at the park EVERY day, I want to have an abundance of unhurried time with them , I want to give them the peace and security I experienced in my childhood. I read something the other day that to have the most impact you need to prune back your activities and focus on the things that matter the most. This speaks to my decision to stay at home. Do you know when something is weighing on your heart and everything, I mean EVERYTHING, you read is somehow speaking to you?? I don’t think it’s an accident I found your blog. I’ve been searching for women going through this same decision to help me process my own thoughts. And I’ve actually started journaling my transition as well…because I know I’m heading there, it’s just a matter of when. Wow. Okay, thank you for letting me process here in your comments. And now back to reading more of your blog and then quickly to amazon to order Flux. :)

    • says

      Oh Polly, I am so glad we found each other. Such a wonderful dilemma to have! Right? You have a supportive husband, amazing nanny and wonderful work environment. Nothing your work can do for you will replace you being with your babies, especially since you want to be with them. Not every parent is that way. The choice for many for good reason is to work. For you, though, it sounds like you need to be home with them.

      I am obviously a little biased in this decision BUT it is VERY clear to me that you should take the next few years to be with your babies. You will never get that time back. It is a decision you won’t ever regret making…if you can make it work financially, do it. You will feel so great. It was a tough decision for me but when I walked out the door my last day of work nothing had ever (with the exception of meeting and marrying my hubby) felt so right to me. My mother was a single mom and had no choice but to work. Luckily we had family and an incredible community but she said to me a few months ago {when I was having yet another identity crisis} that she would have stayed home in a heart beat. That brought tears to my eyes. How lucky are we to HAVE THE CHOICE?

      Obviously this conversation needs to continue…talk soon! ;-p

      • polly says

        So glad you responded…thanks SO much for your support and your unwavering conviction about the right decision. Sometimes that’s just what you need to hear — you already know that there really isn’t a WRONG decision in the matter, but it feels so great to have someone go a step further and confirm the RIGHT decision.

        You are so right about not getting that time back. Yesterday my epiphany was (I have a new one just about every day) that there is a possibility I will find a job just as flexible, more fulfilling, etc. when I am ready to work again (if ever). HOWEVER, there is absolutely zero possibility that I can get my girls’ childhoods back. I find it interesting the impact your mother had on your decision and I’m trying to determine how much of my wrestling is a result of my own mother’s decision — she is a very hardworking, extremely dedicated mother (like, almost too much, but i now know that is NOT a bad thing :)) who gave up her career to stay home. I watched her struggle with her identity often during my formative years and even today. My father completely supports her then and now, but I feel like there may be a part of her who isn’t convinced staying home was the right decision for her (even though obviously I can’t imagine life any other way). But that was her and this was me, and how will I ever know if I don’t try?? We can swing it financially. In fact, it makes me kind of sick to see where our priorities lie when I’m working — money comes in, money goes out. There is part of me that wants to be forced to simplify and teach my children how to make do with what you have. But that step into the unknown is kind of scary — I need a push off the ledge! :)

        And I’m also kind of worried about what to do with myself if I stay home — I know having the weight of responsibility for my job removed will make me feel so much freer, but will there be enough structure? This is another place where your wonderful blog will benefit me — there are so many ideas and activities that I want to do with the kids. So many things to explore, both in our own backyard and in the larger community. How great to take the time to unhurriedly enjoy such activities and for me to watch the girls and find exactly what makes them tick. At the end of the day when my husband asks my 3-yo about her favorite part of the day — how great to have a firsthand recollection of what she is telling us about. And how great to watch my 1-yo succeed in all of her new firsts.

        There is a part of me that find some pride in saying, my kids are worth it. I have the choice not to work and I’m taking it. I’m giving up my career and status, and I’m going to make the choice that will benefit our lives in so many ways. Okay, obviously still processing. I think I know what’s right…now just to do it. Yikes!

        And since we have similar backgrounds (I’m finance and economics) — tell me, do you ever get bored? Does that factor into your struggles, or is it more just the loss of what you used to be?

  9. says

    Oh yes! I am also an MBA. After my first daughter, I returned to work and enjoyed the ability to work outside of the home and return to my little one in the evening. It made good sense to me. It wasn’t that it wasn’t difficult and I missed her terribly, but working outside the home felt good. And then I had daughter #2 this past April. I took 16 weeks off and I was confident before my leave that I would return to work and that it would be even easier this time! Wrong! I have cried and cried and cried because I miss them so much. My husband and I have begun the conversation of what it would like for our family if I a. stayed home with the girls or. b. worked PT. We are trying to discover what makes the most sense. But I hear you – there’s just something, something in my gut that’s crystal clear, that says, “be with these kids.” I’m happiest when I’m with them and I need to honor that. I have also struggled with the “but I worked so hard for this degree and my career” debate in my head, but my heart is pretty clear. Thank you so much for your post! It means a lot to me!

    • says

      Heather! Wow, can I relate to you. Just think about it like this: childhood zooms by and your education is a huge benefit to your children! Do what feels right to you and, yes, honor those feelings. It takes a lot of courage. Congrats on being so self aware! Keep me posted…

  10. says

    My wife is pregnant, being a working woman she has her worries of managing between home and work after birth. Although, I am there for her and our baby, still she sometime becomes overanxious and nothing could satiate her.,hope she will soon get over these occasional panics and understand that nothing is going to change and I am there for her always.

  11. says

    Great post for all the mums out there. Its hard staying at home all the time looking after the kids and part time jobs from home are what helps mothers bring there children up while working and providing for them, I am luck to have a husband who contributes lots but this is not always the case in many households.
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