It’s been just over four months since I quit my job. And I have to be honest, I’m not regretting it one bit. I am physically exhausted, my brain is completely focused on trying to entertain Bowen and being a somewhat reasonable sounding board for my husband, and if I’m lucky, I get a daily shower in the evening. But I’m really, really happy with our current family arrangement.
- I don’t need to put on makeup or “do” my hair every morning.
- My kid loves me! Ok, so he loved me and it’s not like we weren’t two peas in a pod before I quit my job, but we have bonded on a whole new level. He depends on me in ways he didn’t when I was working every day, and there’s just a new, intangible level of closeness that I didn’t know was possible.
- I see it all. My two-year old is learning new words and phrases every day, and this learning to talk stage is just so awesome. I love being a part of every piece of it, even when he repeats me shouting “Holy Crap!” because I couldn’t believe that someone willingly had four children.
- My husband is happier! He admitted about a month ago that he’s been really happy with our new arrangement as well. Apparently I’m more emotionally available to him, and I’m less stressed in general (i.e. less likely to take minor issues out on him). Happy wife = happy life.
- I AM less stressed. At least about our home life. When I was working I was constantly feeling like I had so much to do to keep the house tidy, ensure we had all the supplies we needed, research preschools, grocery shop and plan meals for the week, etc., and it inevitably turned our evenings and weekends into a shitshow of running around town/making Amazon orders and constantly feeling behind in the errand department. It’s still not perfect, but I am able to get a lot done during the week with Bo and free up our weekends so we can actually enjoy ourselves as a family.
- Pregnancy = bliss. Well, not exactly, and given the complications I have had, if I was still working, it would be extremely difficult for me to maintain my prior levels of professionalism. I would need to work from home and be in and out of doctors’ offices weekly, which would have been really tough in my job. Not to mention the fact that my brain power is significantly decreased this time around. I can barely manage simple head math anymore. Pregnancy brain is real.
- I am able to get much more involved in parental activities and playdates. Bowen’s starting preschool in a couple of weeks, and I love that I have the time to get involved with his school. I love that I’ll be able to pick him up and drop him off and hopefully start making some new female friends (which I found extremely difficult to do while working and being a mom).
- The door to my professional life has not closed. A couple of weeks ago a mentor of mine called to see how I was doing. We had a great conversation, and I assured him that I was still happy with my decision to take time off. He reiterated that as soon as I’m ready to come back to work, they would love to have me, and in whatever capacity. That felt really good.
- I don’t need to put on makeup or “do” my hair every morning. Most days I look like a pale, exhausted, and deranged lunatic with a perfect halo of frizzy flyaway hairs, thus I probably don’t always make the best first impression if meeting someone for the first time. Some days I don’t get a chance to shower either. Oops.
- My kid loves me! And sometimes he’s scary clingy. As in, screams bloody murder if anyone else (Daddy, Grammie, our beloved nanny, etc.) enter the room we are playing in. This can make it difficult to take a break sometimes, and I sometimes feel guilty (I simultaneously secretly love it).
- I see it all. Including every single tantrum. As he follows me from room to room screaming. Including all the dirty diapers. Including all the afternoons where he decides he’s not going to nap, therefore I don’t get any sort of break. Being a SAHM is truly the most physically exhausting thing I have ever done.
- My husband is eating chick food. As I have more time to cater to his and Bowen’s needs, I have been able to create Emily and pregnancy-friendly meal plans that typically include at least one vegetarian entree a week, and lots of brown rice. No more quick-to-cook salt-laden slabs of meat, which is very common when Brady’s in charge of dinner when we’re both stressed after work. He’s been skeptical (chickpeas is the protein tonight?!), but a total trooper (and hopefully healthier).
- I am more stressed. It’s awesome that I’m able to get all the little stuff done during the week and enjoy weekends, but when you’re in your home not only all night, but a significant chunk of each day, you begin to notice all the little things about your living space that drive you crazy and you would like to change. In our case, it’s the distinct lack of space we currently have as we’re about to have another human move in. I like to live in tidy, well-organized, light-filled, clutter-free, and beautiful spaces. Not exactly the case right now with two adults (one grossly pregnant), a two-year old, a great dane, and two cats in an 1,800 square foot bungalow.
- Pregnancy is not easy when you’re taking care of a toddler. Not even at all. And definitely not when you’re on restricted activity. And living in 100+ degree heat (thank you Houston). Sitting in your cushy office in an air-conditioned tower is way easier.
- I am insecure about my new status as a SAHM. We recently had a playdate with one of Bowen’s new school friends and his mother, who works full time. I immediately felt a little less important compared to her, and like my “job” doesn’t really mean as much as hers does. I found myself talking about my prior life and career and really feeling and trying to make up for that professional void for the first time. I think this emotion was one of the greatest fears I had when I was contemplating quitting my job, and it’s interesting that it has actually popped up. I’m sure this won’t be the first time.
At the end of the day, the pros way outweigh the cons. I’m happy, and I feel extremely fortunate that I am able to do this right now. This sounds funny, but I feel like we are more of a family now. I never felt like we weren’t a family when I was working, but there has been some sort of positive shift in all of our energies, and I’m extremely glad I made this decision when I did.