Why I went back to being a stay-at-home mom
A couple weeks ago, after three (quite agonizing) months of internally going back and forth on my decision, I quit my job.
My job demanded a lot of me, and, often times, those demands fell on a weekend or week night. I handled it well for a good 10 months or so, but as I came up to my year mark, the responsibilities of work, family, and caring for a household began to fight for my best self, and I wasn't able to deliver even a semi-present version of myself. Without the caffeine intake of a coffee addict, you'd find me dozing everywhere. Even the car. And it was when my foot began to slip off the pedal while driving home from daycare that I realized something had to give.
But what to some would seem like an easy decision was not easy for me. A job gave me structure. It meant that no matter what, I had to be out of the house clothes pressed, face applied by 7:25 am. For someone who suffers from chronic anxiety and is prone to depression, this structure and routine was everything. Since I've been a full-time stay-at-home mom before, I know this path is mentally the harder one for me, and in the weeks leading up to me quitting work, I was not convinced about choosing the route that, previously, has led me to therapy—3 times.
But things will be different this time. And those factors ultimately helped me to decide that being at home was the right decision. I'm in Michigan now. I can go to my best friends' parents' house for The Bachelorette on Monday night (Go Peter). And can ask someone to watch the kids for a day if I need the mental break. And Tim and I have the opportunity to go out, just the 2 of us, every once in a while. I'm not isolated, even a little bit, and I'm able to drive beyond my city limits without having a panic attack. A lot has changed.
Am I going to comment on the whole idea of women being able to have it all? Lord help me. Moms can work full-time if they so choose. I think we do need to realize, however, it is a simple fact that we mere mortals cannot be in three different places at a single moment in time, so one aspect of life somewhere somehow will feel your time being allocated in so many different ways. And that is perfectly fine and okay to an extent. Like, for instance, I had no problem having my kids in daycare. We had a near ideal setup and the woman who watched the kids was truly great. They loved going there. (And they will still occasionally go there.) They learned, and I saw growth in them that I was happy to see. However, for me and my family the schedule we were trying to pull off got to be too much. On a good week, when I had been particularly on top of meal planning, budgeting, and grocery shopping, the kids and I would pile into the apartment at 5:30, I'd get them settled, rush to make dinner, and get the kids ready for bed a short hour and a half later. The cycle was grueling on both Tim and me, and we soon became intolerant of the laundry piled high, the fridge screaming to be cleaned, and our finances demanding a little more attention. Maybe if we had someone to clean the house, or if Tim still worked from home, or his commute wasn't an hour, or I wasn't in a managerial position, etc., etc., etc. Who knows? Each family has its own unique set of circumstances, and we all try to do our best.
Don't let me fool you into thinking I'm devastated over quitting, and I'm just dreading being at home with my kids 8 hours a day. While I will miss the people in my department, I'm excited to transition back into this role. Even when Ella was a newborn, I looked forward to the days when she would start talking and say the cutest, strangest, most hilarious little sentences. Now she does. And Archie is at a fun (albeit testy) age. I'm happy summer is winding down, and me and the kids will be able to put together a Fall Bucket List that, I think, will allow us to reset as a family.
So, another change has begun. Not surprising in the least for us Lochners. But not long after I came to my decision, my mom got sick, so I can't help but think Divine Providence has been guiding me toward the right decision all along. At this point in time, my life is calling me to focus on my family. And so focus on my family I will.