Should I go back to work?

Typical Mommy during a day at home.
I have stayed at home almost exclusively for the last 13 years. I love my girls, love my husband and have gotten a lot of joy out of being here for them. But, I do feel a little lost at times. A little unsure of who I am outside of the "mom" role. I started to think about what I'd like to do last year when I was home alone during the days for the first time.

2004 - very focused SAHM
Last year I volunteered teaching English, at the kid's school as much as they'd let me, went to PTO meetings and even briefly volunteered to lead the middle school PTO this year. That was before I realized that was crazy and would totally overwhelm me.

While those things were good, this year I felt I was ready to get back to work and focus more on a career. After trying out teaching last year, I knew that was not the direction for this introvert to head. Did you know that kid's talk to their teachers? Like, ALL DAY? And then the grown ups talk to each other and the parents talk to the teachers.... And then I come home to 3 talkers and then Matt gets home and would like to talk. I love talking - really. Just not all day long. I need some quiet, some "no one is talking to me" time. Anyways, I decided to pursue an accounting focused job and then decide if perhaps adding some accounting classes to my resume would be a good plan.

I found a great position about 20 minutes from home.  Full time with not much flex in the schedule but lots of learning potential and some great people to work with. I interviewed on the phone and then in person twice. I figured that I was either a shoe-in or there was someone more qualified that didn't care about making much money (it didn't pay that well).

Got my "interview" self all ready!
The kids were a little excited for me actually. The youngest was super excited about going to after school daycare and anxiously asked me each day if I had heard about the job. My middle schooler was incensed. Seriously, I was going to make her walk home? And I really didn't like the idea of her home alone each day for the afternoon. She hasn't ever done that so it would be pretty radical.

And me? I was excited and terrified and my self-confidence issues all came racing to the surface of my everyday life while I waited to hear back. The questions of "Can I do this?", "Am I good enough?", "Can I work and still be a Mom?", "What will have to give?" and more.

I emailed the company and found out that I hadn't gotten the position. Queue the relief. Honestly, it would be such a huge change and there would be so many sacrifices - it just didn't feel like the right time. But, I still felt this sort of - What Now? Who am I then? Is being a Mom going to be enough? What else is there to me?

I think a lot of Moms struggle with those questions - if not the first few years, perhaps after about 10 years of staying at home. (So, if you don't think it yet, you just might in a few more years.) I honestly didn't struggle with it nearly as much when I had toddler hugs every few minutes, or a mountain of baby related tasks to conquer just so my kids didn't die. I felt important and definitely needed. I didn't want anyone else to do that job.

Now, it's harder. I don't always feel like doing all those jobs that make me useful to this family. I don't really want to clean the floors again, load the dishwasher, make dinner, wash clothes or make those lovely after school treats.

So - here I should end with some kind of happy, I figured out the solution, moment. Hmmm....

I can say - I volunteered at my girls' school yesterday and I felt better than I have in weeks. I felt useful. The tasks were easy but rewarding. Being in the school lifts my spirits. The kids are happy, the teachers are friendly, the school is awesome. And knowing that my girls can still count on me to bring forgotten tennis shoes to school, take them to Dr's appointments, pick them up for lunch on special days, pray for them throughout the day, pick them up from school, talk to them after school, take them to piano lessons, have playdates at our house and not be too busy for them makes it worth it. This is still my job. It's not time to split my attentions. They still need me and are still learning who they are.

I am choosing to be thankful for the time to devote to them. And acknowledging that some days it is a choice and some days it is the deepest feeling in my soul.

 I'm thankful for the days at home to capture memories like these:

Sisters being silly together.

My sweet Belle.

My bumble bee.

1 comment:

Chandra Regan said...

Glad you're finding joy in where you're at in life, now, even if you sometimes wonder if you should be doing more. I'm sure your kids do still appreciate the time you're able to dedicate for them!