Ten years ago last month, I became a mother. I was 23, had no idea what I was doing, and had this sweet little person totally relying on me to nurture her, care for her, teach her, guide her, keep her alive and provide for her. And so I did all of those things to the best of my ability and in the case of providing, that meant going back to work on a part-time basis from home while she stayed at home with me.
She got older and a little more independent and my job morphed into a more demanding role that required I be in an office a couple days a week and off she went to a friend's house for care on those days staying home with me on the others. Life happened, divorce happened, moving and transferring into a full-time position happened. And although all those things were happening around us, this little girl and I still spent every evening and weekend soaking up each other, reading, creating, planting, breathing the fresh air and each other. Life was different, but oh so very good.
Then came marriage and brothers and a little baby brother, and craziness ensued. (Don't boys bring all the craziness to life?!) I could feel myself stretching thinner and thinner, trying to be involved at various schools, activities, raise and nurture these little ones, tote a baby along and give him necessary attention as well. Meanwhile, I was fortunate to have my job become flexible enough to allow work from home, although I couldn't really care for any kids at the same time because I had to remain focused during my work hours.
With all the chaos, we still made the most of life, creating, baking, gardening, hiking, pursuing the activities most dear to us.
As Paul and I became more settled into our careers, we've been fortunate enough to have a few of the extras, and we've been able to travel some and expose our kids to things that we find enriching to them.
But more and more often over the last year, I began to ask myself, "Is it worth it?" Handing my children's care over to other people so much of the weekdays (albeit carefully-considered and loving caregivers), does the end justify the means?
I'm a fairly independent and strong-willed person, and I would think, "yes, the sacrifices our family makes to have 2 hard-working parents are worth the benefits that come with those 2 careers, 2 salaries, a multitude of opportunities."
Yet still I asked, "In 10 more years when my oldest is in college and my youngest is nearing high school with much less need of motherly smothering, will I still think it was worth it?"
Don't get me wrong, I think this question can be answered by many mothers in so many different ways, but clearly, for me, the answer was not quite as simple as I'd come to believe it was.
And so I quit. My last day of life as a working mom is drawing nigh, and I'm scared, thrilled, nervous, excited, skittish, overjoyed, and about a million other emotions all rolled into one already energetic person.
While I'm feeling that crazy jumble of emotions, at the end of the day when these little people come running toward me, I want to give them every last ounce of myself that I can for the years I have left to give them.
I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I'm throwing myself headlong into the possibilities.
Oh Joy! I'm so happy for you. Have faith. I admire your strength, courage and love for your family. I am emailing you with a small opportunity. xoxoReplyDelete
You didn't quit. You just started into a very demanding, non paying, but very rewarding job that you were already doing anyhow :) I am so thrilled for you Joy!ReplyDelete
This will be quite the adventure-- but I am sure you made the right decision. Jobs come and go-- your children are only little once. Enjoy!ReplyDelete
Congratulations! I know this is a scary leap of faith, but if anyone can pull it off, it's you. And I agree with Cindy - mothering is the biggest job out there, and you'll be wonderful at it!ReplyDelete
Oh congratulations Joy!ReplyDelete
obviously stoked for you & what this change can bring. You already dedicate so much of your hours, it's impossible to imagine what will come! so exciting.ReplyDelete
Wow Joy!! What a huge leap to be taking! I am really excited for you.ReplyDelete
how exciting!!! change is always exciting and scary all at the same time. enjoy every precious moment!!!ReplyDelete
What a change! What a brave choice. I'm cheering you on from here!ReplyDelete
And I love how you were able to state your decision and the reasons behind it with no judgment on other mother's choices.
Much love, Joy. So happy for you.
How wonderful! (Believe me, the sacrifice of that 2nd salary isa ALL worth it). You will have much more meaningful pay days!ReplyDelete
How exciting! I wish you all the best with this big life change. I admire you and the careful thought that you put into mothering your children.ReplyDelete
Congratulations dear friend!!ReplyDelete
Congrats on being a brave woman and doing what you think is best for you and your family. (:ReplyDelete
You will never regret one moment spent with your children. Go for it Joy.ReplyDelete
Oh my word, that is HUGE! Congratulations Joy! I've always thought you were an amazing mom with all that you do with your kids while juggling a career, I hope that this change will also bring about more time for you!ReplyDelete
So much love and happiness going your way!
Oh CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I know exactlly what you mean. I think it all the time. Our children grow too too quickly, and when it all flies by, because it will, there will be all the time in the world for jobs and all that other stuff. Your children will look back and thank you. Much love to you as you embark upon this new way!ReplyDelete
oh wow, what a post to pop in for!ReplyDelete
what an amazing decision.
you're right, it's different for everyone. staying at home comes naturally and easily to many, while it's hard work for others. we each have to do what feels right at the time and works with all our personalities and needs.
CONGRATS & ALL THE BEST.
Joy- I am so excited for you! Those are the questions that float around in my head (In the future (soon!) that is!). I can only imagine the memories that you will make being at home with your sweet ones!!ReplyDelete
I remember once at our weekly wine night, where I was lamenting over the job that consumed my life 24/7, you stated "My job is only a means for us to live the life we want". It resonated with me that while you loved what you did for a living, it didn't define you, like it did me at the time. I have never forgotten that and now live my life once I leave work. I don't take it home with me and I don't dwell on the fact that there's always more work to do. Life begins after work, and for you a whole new life is about to unfold. Your kids are so lucky they got you for a mom!!ReplyDelete
wow!!!! how exciting!!!!ReplyDelete
How fabulous! What a beautiful gift you are giving both your children and yourself. You will never regret the choice to spend time with your children doing what mamas are supposed to do.ReplyDelete
Joy, I'm so happy for you!! I've just gone back to work (LOL) but I know how truel wonderful and rewarding it ccan be to saty at home with your little ones - I also know that going back to work (2 days per wk) is right for me :-)ReplyDelete
Best of luck with your new challenge!!
Awesome Joy. The fact that you care that deeply about your family to think it all through is awesome. Its such a hard thing sometimes. I decided last year when I knew my husband would be gone a lot and we'd be moving not to pursue my masters. I had really wanted to and it was the hardest decision to make, but I feel that freedom to spend more time with my kids, allow them to make messes because I'm not stressed about time to clean up. Work on my stuff on my own timeline... its a good thing, what a wonderful mama you are!! And what a wonderful supportive husband you have.ReplyDelete
I am so excited for you and this decision. Are you going to homeschool now? This will be such a great new season in your life either way!ReplyDelete
Congratulations, Joy! I agree that it goes by too fast! Savor these moments.ReplyDelete
Oh Wow, how did I miss this post? Big congratulations, Joy!!! Enjoy every moment! LucianaReplyDelete