It's been about a year since I left my career as a teacher, to stay home with Elias. I'm quite the people pleaser, so deciding to stay home was really tough for me. I received a lot of support from some, but then very little from others. As a teacher, I was respected, people were proud. But when I said I wanted to stay home to raise my baby.. well, that was irresponsible and a waste of a college degree. I'm not gonna lie, it hurt.
I stood my ground and decided to leave despite what some said or thought, but I also decided to not talk about it either. I didn't owe an explanation to anyone, I didn't need anyone's permission or to understand. And I didn't need anyone to tell me I was making the right decision. I knew what I needed to do, I knew what my baby needed and I knew my decision wouldn't be one that I'd regret later. And I've been right in every case.
Now, a year later, I'm happier than I've ever been, stronger than I've ever felt and a lot more confident. I'm proud of listening to my instinct to stay home and I'm grateful for my husband and those who have supported us in our decision. Home is where I belong. Maybe not forever, but for right now, I'm where I should be.
So, in case you missed it, here's my interview with Savanna Monroy, on life as a stay at home mom. You can read the full post over on her blog, Me and My Little,
Hi Rachel, so I am actually pretty jealous that you are a stay at home mom. Please do share what the pros and cons are to making that decision?
I absolutely love being a stay at home mom and am forever grateful for my husband for listening to my desires and making it possible for me to stay home. The decision to leave my career as a teacher though was tough. I’ve always had a burning desire deep down to stay home with my children, long before Elias was ever thought of. But I never thought I would actually be able to experience it. Our finances were the biggest issue. After all, we had bills and responsibilities. Could we actually afford it? My husband and I have never been frivolous with our money and truly know how to make a dollar stretch, but adding a child to our duo would mean needing more, especially as he grew and especially once we had more children. We understood that sacrifices would have to made, strict budgeting would take place and learning to be content with what we had was necessary. After we realized that, yes, we could make it financially, I then had to battle with myself over making the final decision. It was easy for me to decide to stay home, what was difficult was actually following through with it.
To leave my career after just a year and a half made me feel irresponsible, like a failure. I feared disappointing my family, my friends, my principal and my students. I battled with a lot of anxiety and fear while making the decision to stay home. What helped was stopping to think about my actual career. I asked myself, “Is this what I really want to do for the rest of my life? Am I happy teaching? Do I enjoy it?” And the answer to all of that was, no. I have always loved being around children and working with them (which is why I chose to teach), but what I really wanted was children of my own. The day Elias was born was the day I lost all interest in teaching. That’s what helped me make my decision. That and the fact that I knew if I returned, I would be doing an injustice to the students in my room depending on me. They didn’t deserve a “halfway” teacher, they deserved someone who would be there for them 100% and I knew I couldn’t do that anymore. So, I left.
In return, I’ve been able to spend every waking moment with my child. We’ve had a successful breastfeeding relationship for almost a year (something I’m not sure would have lasted had I returned to work), I’ve been there for every milestone, every giggle, every cry, every need. My decision to stay home was tough, but there’s not a single ounce of me that regrets it. Not even a little bit.
-What do you miss most about working?
The teacher in me needs some sort of structure and I oddly found preparing for my week ahead, making copies and laminating rather satisfying (so nerdy, I know) so I miss those things. I also miss getting up and getting ready for something, I miss adult interaction, the feeling I get when I cross off items on my “to do” list, I miss the feeling of someone needing me (different from Elias needing me) and I miss having a schedule. All of those things may seem silly to any other person, but being a former teacher meant staying busy and having a lot to do all of the time. So yeah, sometimes I long for “tasks”, if that makes any sense. :)
-What advice would you give to a working mom thinking about the transition to becoming a stay at home mom?
First of all, if you want it to work, it will. My husband and I cut our income literally in half when I left my job- talk about scary! But we are making it work. Look at your finances, budget and be more conscious about your wants and needs. This is a good time to minimize your life and focus on what’s important.
Don’t let others sway your decision. If you feel your place is to stay home and that’s where you and your baby would be happiest, then I strongly encourage you to do it. If those people aren’t paying your bills or taking care of your child, then their opinion shouldn’t overshadow your decision. You are mom and you know best. Trust yourself and your instincts.
And just for fun, here are a few tips for if and when you do make the transition to stay home:
SHOWER EVERYDAY! I made a vow to myself that I would get up and get dressed every single day and I have. I may not shower until 11 and I may have to let my hair air dry, but I bathe daily. I even take it a step forward by purposely wearing jeans (not everyday, but most days) because that makes me feel “normal”. If I wore my pj’s or sweats every day, I wouldn’t feel productive or good about myself at all. Plus, it’s a form of taking care of yourself, which is so, very important.
Create some sort of schedule for yourself and baby. This also helps create a sense of normalcy and routine that working outside of the home provided. Get your little one dressed, have breakfast, put them down for naps, have a day for laundry/chores, whatever works for you.
Get out of the house. My best friend is a nurse and momma to a little girl just 9 weeks older than Elias. Once a week, on her off days, we try to get together, either for lunch, a trip to Target, the park or her house. It’s good to get out, change up your routine and breathe some fresh air. Plus, it gives you some adult interaction that I for one, miss about working outside of the home.
Savor your time. You have been given an opportunity to be with your child every. single. day. Enjoy it, soak it up, be present. Yes, there will be really tough days. Yes, you may feel alone sometimes. Yes, you’ll have moments where you want to pull your hair out, get in the car and drive really far away. But I promise you with all of my heart, that it’s beyond worth it.
Until Next Time,
R + D + E