Career Move- January 29, 2014

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When I went back to work after Charlotte was born it was at 2:00am. I dragged myself out of bed and away from my baby to report the news. That was January, 2011. For another year I left my infant each day to go to work. It was hard, but she had great care at a great school. I changed careers a year later in February, 2012 and started at a PR agency. It was a good move for me. I love my coworkers. I love working with clients. I like having my weekends off and not being a slave to the news cycle. Life at a PR agency can be hectic, but rewarding.

For three years I prided myself on being a do-it-all working mother. I was proud of how much my daughter was learning at her school. That made the steep monthly payments more justifiable. I went to all the class events I could. My house was often messy. We could only have playdates on the weekends. I used the hashtag #workingmother. Most of all, we were an insanely busy family, but life was good.

This month I went back to work when Henry was 9 weeks old. We found a great sitter for him with a better price than Charlotte’s daycare. She is a wonderful teacher and caretaker for my baby. She helped soothe the harsh wound of leaving him.

But, this time going back to work was different. Yes, I felt the same stress of having two working parents trying to get a baby out the door and I longed for my children, but it was worse. I was missing it. Missing everything. The first time I went back it was always with the thought in the back of my mind, “Well, I could always stay at home with the next one.” Plus, most of my salary goes to childcare.

I never pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom. Don’t get me wrong, they are fascinating! I would be in my suit on my lunch break and see them in line at Panera or Chipotle. They would be in yoga pants and have their tots in jogging strollers. I would push aside the pacifiers in my purse to get to my wallet. I would see them with their babies and my heart ached for my own. That’s when I would do a quick countdown to the number of hours left in my work day. Except, I knew that likely wouldn’t be the end as I would surely be on the laptop answering emails after bedtime. I would look at these women and wonder, “What do they DO all day?” as my phone buzzed in my pocket with backed up emails.

Well, I’m about to find out what they do all day.

After coming back it hit me like a ton of bricks. I stared at the computer in my office and I knew it wasn’t right. My shoulders were tense and there was a weight on my chest. It was just all wrong. I think I had to go back to work after maternity leave to know that my heart was calling me home.

But, what about my resume? What about the 8 years of my life I poured into a career in TV news, dragging myself into work at all hours of the night and day to keep pushing to be promoted?  What about my 2 years at a PR agency, learning so much about the different industries of our clients and offering my news expertise? Would it all be for nothing? I worked hard and I’m proud of what I accomplished.

A fellow working mom said it best, “What’s a year gap in your resume? You wouldn’t be the first mother to do that.” True. I told Greyson, “If I don’t do it now, when would I? When they’re older and don’t want to hang out with their mom?” No, it’s now or never.

So, a week-and-a-half after maternity leave I told them I was leaving. Get this. I swear it’s a freakin’ dream come true, ya’ll. They want me to still work in a freelance/consultant capacity. I’m still an employee. My first gig is in March. Seriously? Is this real life? How awesome is that?! I’m feeling so, so blessed.

We are sad we’ll have to take Charlotte out of her daycare. She has been with those kids since she was 3 months old. Her teachers are wonderful. But, blessings continue as I found a part-time preschool that can take her in March after she finishes her last month at her current daycare in February.

Sometimes everything comes together and all things point to a certain decision. Yeah, it’s still a risk. What if it’s not what I think it will be? How long will I do this? Do I have to use the hashtag #SAHM?

Friday is my last day. Here goes nothing…or something.

 

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30 Responses to “Career Move- January 29, 2014”

  1. hilary vanderveen says:

    I am so happy for you (and jealous)! You deserve this and more importantly your kids deserve this! Sometimes stress just isn’t worth it and helps to redefine your life. I know I am lucky because I get summers with my kids but I think often about what I would get if I was home all the time. I wish you all the best and can’t wait for more Instagram photos of your adventures during the days and more! Love you and once again so happy for you!

  2. Jessica Schmidt says:

    I’ve been doing it for going in one year :) it gets harder before it gets easier and then all of the sudden you realize you know your kids; I mean really really know them. Quitting was the hardest choice I’ve ever made but its not a corporate ladder anymore- it’s a playground (can’t take credit for that its “Lean In”). And who says you can’t jump from the ground to the monkey bars when youre ready to go back. Best of luck Amy!!

  3. So happy for you!!! I always assumed I’d be a working mom (my mom was and it just seemed that’s the way it would be). The economy forced me into SAHM life after my son was born and I am so grateful for that time. These are years that we’ll never get back. It really wasn’t a big deal for me to have 3.5 year gap on my resume. You will find your days are crazy full from keeping up with the kids, laundry, errands, etc. But so fun. Oh, and that yoga pants thing? Never happened for me. Occasional sweats but only in the house. 😉 Enjoy!!

  4. Jennifer singh says:

    I worked damn hard for my degrees and to get a great job in a male dominated field. We had the best childcare situation in the entire world. Yet, after two years, I couldn’t do it anymore, I had to be home. It was the best decision I have ever made. I miss parts of working, but I have never regretted my decision to stay home.

    BTW- my house is still messy, some things never change!

  5. Rebecca says:

    I’m so happy for you! I’m sure you’re excited and terrified (as you should be!). BOTH gigs are intense in their own unique ways. I imagine you’ll have moments of parental bliss at home with your babies on a random Tuesday morning and you’ll have meltdowns and want to run screaming at other times. Way to go taking the risk, I hope you’ll be blogging your way through it :)

    • Amy says:

      Thanks Rebecca! I am SO looking forward to blogging more. I can handle a tantrum, but a tantrum on the way to a stressful day at work, ugh! Can’t handle that. So, I figure this has to be better. :-)

  6. Mandy Slocum says:

    So happy for you Amy. Never ever thought I’d find contentment being a SAHM given that I so loved my job and career but now I truly am so thankful to have the ability to be home for every single minute. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Best of luck to you love.

    • Amy says:

      Thanks Mandy! I didn’t even know you were staying home with Drew now. I’ll send you a message when I’m in town with Julie next month!

  7. Congratulations on your new adventure! I always assumed I’d want to stay home but then 3 months after my daughter was born a part-time teaching position opened up and I got it. I did that for two years and then this year I jumped into full-time teaching. There was a bit of an adjustment after the summer and I felt like a horrible person but now we both have fun during our days and our together time is fun. And we have 3 months at the summer and I have all major holidays off. Don’t have time for much else but it’s good right now. It’s funny how life takes us to different places.

  8. Sherri says:

    I am so happy for you! Best of both worlds! You get to stay at home, yet still do a few assignments to keep your foot in the door and give you a little something to look forward to doing. I, too, quit work – 10 years ago. :) I said in my letter home to my students, this is the hardest decision to make as a teacher, but the easiest one as a mother. You love your career and what you do, but being a mom is the most rewarding job there is. :) Cherish these days – especially before Charlotte goes to Kindergarten. After school starts, the days just pass by way too quickly. God will provide everything you need. Happy for you!

  9. Katie says:

    I’ve been thinking about this too. When I cut out to do a Target run during my non-existent lunch break, I’m envious of the SAHMs. When I hit the ground running every morning trying to get three kids under five out the door before 6am, I know I’m doing them a disservice. I’m still thinking though. Good for you for actually doing it. Enjoy your babies.

    • Amy says:

      I figure I can always go back. My mom went back to work with me, but stayed at home when my sister was born. She went back when Julie went to Kindergarten and everything was fine, we just had sitters after school.

  10. Amber says:

    Amy, I’m so happy for you in your decision to be a full time Mama, which is also a full time job! So wonderful you’ll still be able to do some consulting too. I read a recent study where moms that worked part time or consulted from time to time reported the high levels of happiness and satisfaction because they had the best of both worlds. I know how hard it is to come to a decision to either stay home or work full time, and I think every woman and family is different, and each has to make the right decision for herself and her family whether that’s working or being a stay at home mama – and we have to support each other in those decisions! I think one thing I was surprised to find when I became a mom was how much judgement came from some folks in making a decision like this on either side. Being a Mom, whether you work full time, part time or full time at home is hard enough – so we should support each other in this crazy adventure that is motherhood and reserve the judgement for fun things like watching Bachelor :) anyway, long winded way of saying I’m so thrilled for you and your family, and enjoy every minute!

  11. April says:

    Congratulations on such a tough decision, Amy. It never feels right to leave your baby no matter how old they get. And I don’t think it ever gets easier, we just get numb to the feeling so it doesn’t hurt so much. I’m lucky in a way because Mia has her grandmother to watch her 3 days a week so at least she’s with someone who loves her as much as I do. Daycare is expensive for the 2 days she goes but unfortunately the salary I make outweighs the cost so I’ll be a working Mom for the foreseeable future.

    And as I’m writing this, I get a call from Mia’s daycare because she’s upset and crying and wants to talk to Mommy. Geez. :( I envy you even more than I did 2 minutes ago.

  12. Nicole says:

    Congratulations! I know it must have been a hard decision. I think you’ll do amazing and the balance of having the consultant work will be so great. Proud of you making this decision! Maybe we can plan a play date when I’m on maternity leave in April! Can’t wait to hear all about the new adventures!

  13. heather says:

    I’m so envious! I worked part time the past couple years and it was wonderful. But I am back full time as we await baby #3. For a multitude of reasons (the main one being health insurance) being a full time SAHM mom is not an option for me. It’s like a punch to the gut each time I see other moms calling it quits to stay home with their babies – I’m so envious!! But we all make the best with our own situations. And I totally agree about setting the judgement aside – i feel so judged sometimes for being a working mom. Someone managed to work that judgement into a discussion about public school snow-days this week. I’d have bitch slapped her if we were talking in person. But I digress. As moms we’re all doing what’s best for our family at any given stage. Enjoy the time home with your babies – Charlotte will be marching off to Kindergarten before you know it. We’re half way through our maiden Kindergarten experience and I still haven’t gotten used to it.

    • Amy says:

      I’m sorry! Health insurance seems like a factor in everyone’s decisions these days. I agree, I try to respect other moms’ decisions. I wish people would be more respectful. Good luck!

  14. woody says:

    Its all about the journey. Yours has been short, but full and fun. The next five years will shape your children more than any other time span in their life. They are lucky that you will help shape this important time. I am blessed that my grandchildren have you as their mother. God bless you. I love you.

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