20 January 2014

Back to Work

On November first God opened a new door for our family, and I went back to work, full-time, outside of the home. [I've been trying hard to add the "outside of the home" part because being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job and a half for sure.]

I was a pretty bad stay-at-home mom. I had my good moments. Good days, even. But all in all, I don't think I was cut out for the job.

It's taken a lot of prayer and searching to let go of the guilt I had surrounding those feelings. But once I did -- once I woke up and put on dress pants and heels, once I had meetings and responsibilities to other adults, once I was being relied on in a way that didn't include wiping bums -- once I got rid of the guilt, I never looked back.

So here's a bit of my professional history for those who care to know it:
Grad school
Full-time hall coordinator [living in the middle of 400 students, supervising staff, providing for the safety of human beings, making high stress decision, having really hard conversations]
Full-time mom (managing the house, cuddling, cleaning poop, preventing Sam from eating the cat's tail]
Full-time mom PLUS full-time administrative assistant [making copies, making coffee]

I joke with Kyle that I used to attend suicide prevention training. Now I attend training on how to use the Xerox machine.

It has been a very humbling experience for sure. I have a masters degree in college student development. I saw myself moving up the ladder at a university, gaining a broader and more complex set of responsibilities, going back for my PhD, all that jazz.

But that's just not where we are right now in our story. And although there are definitely days I need to check my ego at my office door [which is a joke because I don't have an office, I have a desk], I am head-over-heels in love with my job.

[lunch break material]

I love the people.
I love the level of responsibility I have [and that I don't have].
I love the flexibility I am given for family stuff.
I love the work I do.
I love the university.
I love commuting with my husband [we actually work in the same building].
I love missing my son and rejoicing every day when we pick him up at daycare.
I love that I have more energy for him when we're together.
I love that I feel a new sense of purpose when we're apart.

I definitely did not imagine this when I was sitting in my graduate school classrooms. But God knew it. It has been His plan all along.

I'd love to know: Are you a mom that works outside the home? How do you do it? Can I feature your thoughts/trips/tricks/struggles/joys in an upcoming post?


  1. I wonder if I will be good at being a stay-at-home-mom or not. Greg and I have discussed what we want to do when children come, and we want to try me staying home, but I told him I honestly could not be sure if I'd enjoy/be good at staying home, through I hope I do/am! So then I wonder about pausing my career to stay home and how it would look to restart again later. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    1. Gosh, there are so many things to think about starting a new marriage and thinking about family. I still think about all those things! I try to rely on the fact that no matter how much I worry, God's will be done. You know? He has you and Greg's future in his hands. And from my perspective, you are going to be a wonderful mom someday, stay home at working!

  2. Some days, I feel like there is no "right" way for me. I really hated working, but I think it was just the culture of my job and the stress and my own Type A issues. I did it for almost a year and a half after Henry and I simply knew that I was becoming more and more unhappy and my family was getting the worst of me. So even though in many ways, I had a "dream job," it just wasn't my dream at this point in life.

    Now, I'm totally happier. But I'm still finding my way as a mom and trying to make time for some volunteer and freelance work. I think my biggest belief is that nothing HAS to be permanent. I could always find another job. (Even if it's not what I would consider a "dream job" or something in line with my education and experience. That's okay.) I could always change my path. That's sort of the beauty of life. And I don't mean to be flippant about it, but I guess it's just the way I look at it now.

    I'm so happy that you are adjusting and enjoying this change in life. It may not be perfect, but it sounds like it's the right thing for your family right now. And that's perfect.

  3. Laura, I'm so happy to hear more about your story and going back to work. I've been back in the office for three months following maternity leave and it certainly is a challenge to be away from my daughter (Monday's are hardest). While it's been a huge adjustment for my husband and I, we're finding our way and making it work for now.
    I'd be happy to chat more about this via email :)

  4. just found this article and thought of you: http://www.iammrsfancypants.blogspot.com/2014/01/one-year-ago-today-finding-my-way.html <3 I've beeb living my own version of it, and each time I read over her words my eyes tear up again - so good!

  5. I'm a SAHM who sometimes struggles with feeling like she should be more, but truly, I love what I do...even if it's "all" that I do. That being said, my husband and I worked at the same place before baby. Sharing the commute and taking walks during our lunch breaks was the norm, though probably underappreciated at the time. It's awesome that you two get to share those moments now!

  6. Loving your post, Laura! I do think it is different for each mom and I'm tired of the mommy wars on which direction is better... it's what is better for you, your personality, needs, etc. For me, I needed to go back to work for the same reasons as you. However, after maternity leave, I found that my job did not meet my family needs and left me pretty miserable as a mommy. I started a new job that is extremely family friendly. I'm not using all of my gained experience, but it is still a high level job and I'm learning a whole new field - which is exciting, too. I was reassured this was the right choice when I had a 2 week break off between jobs and those 2 weeks as a SAHM re-confirmed for me that I'm a better mom and wife when I'm working.

    So precious, too, that you get to see your hubby more at work!


Thank you for coming along for the ride with me. Your comments make my day!