I just saved my last Excel spreadsheet, sent my last e-mail, closed up my Microsoft Outlook, and logged off my virtual work connection for the last time.
Today is the last day of my corporate job. Tomorrow, I become a full-time stay-at-home mom.
That’s a misnomer, really, because I’ve been a full-time stay-at-home mom since we moved to Wichita in June. It’s just that for the last 8 months, I’ve been a full-time stay-at-home mom, a financial analyst working virtually part-time, and full-time small business owner all at the same time. For the past 8 months, I’ve been trying to “have it all’- a career, a thriving child, a happy home life with clean floors and a hot meal on the table when my husband returned home from a hard day at work. And you know what? I’ve been failing at “having it all” pretty miserably.
Now failing is a strong word, and one my husband, manager, and parents would probably be quick to correct me on. In all honesty, I’ve done okay on the career front because I’ve put my career before my child, small business, and home for the past 8 months. I’ve done that because 1) they aren’t paying me to do a half-assed job and play puzzles when I should be editing PowerPoint decks, and frankly, 2) I really love my job more than a person should humanly love a corporate gig. I never once woke up and dreaded going to the office when I lived in Phoenix and was working full-time, and the only reason I dreaded working part-time virtually here in Wichita was when conference calls were scheduled during non-naptime hours and I knew I was going to be doing some serious baby juggling while on mute.
I finally hit my tipping point. With a thriving, active 11 month old baby (good Lord, how is she almost 1 already?!), I just couldn’t make it work any longer. I got to the point where I had to choose between being a good employee and being a good mom – and I’ll be honest, having to make that decision was very hard for me (harder than it should have been). But at the end of the day, my daughter deserves to be played with and not stuck in front of the Disney channel for 2 hours at a time because “Mommy just needs to finish up one last PowerPoint deck, ok sweetheart? Go play with Mickey!”
The Lord has blessed us with some exciting new life changes in 2013, changes that will simultaneously push our budget limits and prevent me from pursuing the option of a full-time job at this time. So the decision had to be made- let the Disney channel continue to raise my daughter, or put my (admittedly selfish) career ambitions and desire to unwind after a long day in front of Bravo the side for now.
I don’t think I can even find the right words to express how I’m feeling about this transition. Yes, there is a bit of relief there because I’ll finally be able to find time for a shower more than twice a week (and if I’m being perfectly honest, change my day/night pajama uniform more than two or three times a week as well). I will have more time to prepare nutritious meals so the baby and I aren’t stuck eating graham crackers for lunch (again), and thank the Lord I’ll finally have time to deep clean this old rental house we live in (the dust bunnies around here are so big, I jump when I see one move out of the corner of my eye because I think it’s a giant bug).
Part of me feels like a huge jerk, because I know that there are mothers out there who would die to have the option to stay at home full-time with their babies without any additional commitments.
Part of me is terrified, because we have been relying on every penny of that part-time paycheck… I’m feverishly digging through our finances, cutting the few creature comforts we did spend money on (cable and an occasional takeout meal) and figuring out ways to save on the grocery budget (making my own bread? Learning to coupon?). But saving for college? Finally getting out of debt? What about all these fresh MBA loans?
There is also a great deal of internal trepidation- the “me” that I’ve held on to for so long- the spreadsheet crunching, contract writing, finance gal who would choose a well-fitting business suit and crisp white button down over a pair of jeans and a tank any day- she’s officially gone now. My identity for the last 9 years has been comprised a great deal by the title “financial analyst”. It’s on my business card, my tax forms, and heck even on the doctor’s medical forms say it. I have that title no longer.
I’m now a wife and mom that drives a minivan and lives in Wichita, Kansas. And that’s about all I’ve figured out right now. It’s time to find my new identity and begin the next chapter in my life.
1 Timothy 6: 6-8
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we should be content.”