During the past year of being a mama, I have been surprised at how difficult the the transition to staying home was at times. I’d love to share a little about it with you today.
My husband and I married when I graduated college, and I spent the next five years teaching high school biology. I loved so many things about that job – my colleagues, my students, my subject matter, and hey – summer break! Being a teacher brings a certain rhythm to your life...
The first day of school brought nerves of meeting a new class of 150 students. The palpable stress of final exams right before Christmas, while twinkling lights were strung around my classroom. The awkwardness of high school students asking each other to the school dance. Collecting textbooks, finalizing grades, and the beginning of glorious summer break...
By my fifth year of teaching, I was ready for children of my own. I had grown a little weary of 150 students vying for my help and attention. I was eager to start teaching and loving my child. So, when we found out we were expecting and I began planning to stay home, I assumed motherhood would fulfill me. I had dreamed of and expected this role of “SAHM.”
For the first five months after my daughter was born, I was consumed with the constant-ness and chaos of motherhood, that I never missed my old job. I was BUSY.
But as I began to find some rhythm I noticed my mental capacity just wasn’t being tapped into by the physicality of caring for a baby. And that was when I missed my job and being an earner for our family. I missed working, accomplishments, and deadlines. I missed teaching and communicating ideas. I even missed the paychecks. For someone who loves to cross a finish line, parenthood stretches on endlessly.
I didn’t wish to be teaching or leave my baby. I really felt my calling was to stay home for this time, but I dreaded waking up in my thirties and feeling I had lost myself through giving everything to my kids.
There were three big things that helped me transition:
1. Give yourself a year.
A friend told me that it could take a year to find a new life rhythm and mourn the absence of your career. The expectation that staying home (or going back to work, for that matter) will be immediately & constantly fulfilling sets a girl up for disappointment. There are tradeoffs with both choices.
2. Be in community with other women.
Motherhood creates a fundamental bond between women, and finding other moms in a similar situation is enormously encouraging. Every other week, one girlfriend and I trade watching the other’s children, so we can have some alone time. On alternate weeks we try to go out to breakfast or walk around our neighborhood. The challenge is finding women who aren't too busy to build friendships.
3. Pursue your passions.
Don’t be stagnant. Spend time learning + growing + creating. Writing and working with women at The Influence Network has met a need to mentally engage in my world. I don’t believe this makes me less of a mother – it is making me better. I hope my daughter learns from me the value of working hard and trying new things.
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