Monday, October 4, 2010

Why this is harder than it should be

I have one more week and one day left at my job.

A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulder since I handed in my notice. I can't wait to be done. I am looking forward to not spending my afternoons and evenings checking my phone for emails or worrying about that upcoming deadline. I am looking forward to being there with Ben. Just him, no work on my mind. But still, this is harder on me than I thought it would be. This transition to being a stay-at-home-mom is scary! Why, you ask?

1. The M-word. Money. The reason why me staying home with Ben was not plan A to begin with. Me not working will mean we will have to find ways to lower our spending. Despite the fact that I really don't enjoy shopping, there's a surprising amount of stuff that finds its way into our home. I feel bad that DH will have to cut back just so I can be at home. It will mean, most likely, that Ben will be an only child. There is no way a sibling will happen without my bi-weekly paycheck.
2. The fact that for years, I wanted nothing more than have a decent job with decent pay. After we came to the US, I had the hardest time finding a job. We either lived in the middle of nowhere, were there were no jobs (other than picking cotton), or we moved every 6 months, which made it impossible to keep a job. I yearned to work again. It was a dream come true to move here and actually find work that I would enjoy (for the most part). I am afraid that I am throwing away a good thing. I know that my son is more important than any job, but still.
3. The social aspect. When we moved here, we didn't know many people at all. So most of my social interaction was at work. I've slowly built friendships here, but it was always nice to go to a place everyday where you were surrounded by friends.
4. I vividly remember how awful my maternity leave was. Things got better towards the end, but I remember not knowing what to do with the child all day long and feeling some kind of relief when I first returned to work. Of course now I am actually able to leave the house with Ben, so hopefully that will help!
5. I am afraid I will become one of those mothers. You know, the kind that is only interested in talking about kids, specifically her kids. The kind that answers the phone with an immediate update on what her child is doing at the moment. The one that defines herself as a mother, and only a mother.
Every mother I know that I consider to be an interesting person has something going on in addition to being a mom. Some work, some are actively involved in church, some are crafty, some volunteer. Just look at some of my bloggy friends! Kelly has an awesome Etsy store and has learned to take amazing pictures. Elizabeth runs a non-profit, teaches kickboxing, and bakes. Christine fits in graphic design with raising Spencer. I will stop there, even though this list could go on and on.

I know that things will somehow work out, but still, I have to admit that this is a tad harder on me than it should be.


  1. Oh man - this is such a timely post since I'm going the exact opposite direction as of this morning! (And thanks for the shout out!)

    (A little background : I had planned to return to work last September, it didn't happen) I had the *exact* same fears when I became a SAHM... but I found that after a few months of adjustments, things balanced out a little. I didn't become one of "those" moms, because I'm just not programmed that way. I found I could live with a certain amount of debt on the credit card, as long as we were finding a balance. And I made some new friends, rekindled old friendships that helped sustain me. It took me a *really* long time on figuring out how to be the best SAHM I could be. And believe me, I wasn't always a very good one. Once I realized I needed to balance my needs with Spencer's ... life became better. And now I'm at the point where we're attempting "school" (aka daycare) two days a week while I try to ramp my business back up again. I think (very strongly) that it's the best for both of us at this point. None of us were ready a year ago, and I chose to become a full-time mom. Now, all of us need to change it up a little. I think you'll find the balance that works for you and your family as well. It's going to be tough at first, but feel free to drop me a line if you need to chat... I understand where you are coming from (I think!)

    Oh, and you say "it's a tad harder than it should be" I said the same thing and my friend said something that made me feel way better... so here it is:
    It's harder than you *thought* it would be. You're undergoing a major change of identity... that's big stuff. Allow yourself all the doubt and uncertainty since in the long run, it will help you figure out your role in your new "job." Good luck!

  2. Of course it's going to be tough, as any transition is. And all of your worries are definitely valid ones. I'm really being reassuring here, right? ;)
    But seriously, I don't think you'd be normal if you didn't have these fears. Money is, as always, a scary one. But I wonder if, once you start looking for ways to cut back on spending, you'll find more than you expected. And #3 and 4 can be helped by linking into some of your community's kids' stuff. I've met lots of moms just hanging out at playgrounds. Our library has a bi-weekly story hour for kids. And you seem like such a nice lady, through your writing at least, that you are likely to make friends easily. Maybe schedule a weekly lunch date with your work friends? Just make sure to carve out time for yourself each week, or you do go a little nuts.
    And the older Ben gets, the easier he'll be to keep entertained.
    You'll be fine, mama! We're cheering you on!

  3. Sandra, I can imagine how this hard this is for you. Everything you say makes sense to me. My plan is to go back to work part time next spring, but in the meantime I have found this SAHM thing to be so incredibly humbling. Way harder than I thought. I have found though that getting out the house each day makes me a much happier mommy. So I'm really glad that Ben is better about that now! Play dates also make things easier especially if you find some nice mommy friends. I have confidence that you won't become *that* mom :)

  4. oh, sandra...i can understand all of your concerns, and though i'm not on the flip side of it to reassure you from personal experience, i know you'll be great! and, hello? WE can totally hang out! :)

  5. You will find normal, sane mom friends! and I NEVER thought I could afford to stay home and live the way I want (well yes there is sacrifice, I do not get new clothes) but I found work two nights a a MUCH better hospital than where I was before. I was terrified I would want a job (or need!) a job in a few years so PT worked out. I seriously cannot imagine life any different tha it is now. But yes, I felt SOOO lonely at the start. Find a MOPS chapter and hit up the free programs at the library!

  6. Call me! We'll get together somewhere 1/2 way b/w us! :)
    I remember well the feeling of isolation that I had when I became a SAHM. I couldn't wait for adult interaction at the end of the day! It's so much better now! Has been for years. Get togethers with other Moms and kids helps a lot! Helps BOTH of you actually. :)
    You'll do fine but don't feel bad that this is a difficult and scary transition! It is!

    Also - MOPS is a great program as is MOMS Club International (go to their website and link to your local chapter). Good luck!

  7. It was tough in the beginning. I felt isolated and exhausted. I found an adoptive mom's group on What I love about it is that it is domestic and international families. It really is an eclectic group and at each event different families participate so it is always interesting. The key to survival is to get out of the house as much as you can!

  8. i think its completely normal to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when you're about to undergo a major life change. i had many of your same concerns when I decided to be a SAHM. i won't say it was easy, but eventually i found a way to feel fullfilled and enjoy being home w/the kids. definitely take advantage of any free/cheap classes offered through your local library or park district - that's been a great way for me to keep us busy and meet other families.

  9. It's ok to feel like this. It is a MAJOR change for you. Looks like these girls have some great advice for you!

  10. the transition is scary and all the concerns you mentioned are totally real.... but after having been a SAHM for the past eight years, i have no regrets. sure there are days when i just want to run away but that's why it's so important to take care of yourself as you take care of ben.
    my humble advice is to make sure you stay in touch with and keep the friends you already have, be proactive in making new friends along the way and make sure you carve out time for yourself by having time alone, time with your husband and time with your friends all without your little one.
    as much as i love love love my children, i'm the type that likes to keep busy and stay active. i can't just sit at home all day with my kids. that being said, i do a lot of playdates, mommy and me classes and outings. i also love date nights and girl's night out which i make sure to schedule on a consistent basis. these are the things that keep me sane. :)

  11. Think of it that now is your time to find your "niche"! The stress of change is always great at the beginning. You will do wonderfuly. The $$ was a huge stress for us during my leave too. One thing that we found to work for us is going cash only. There is a tv show in Canada that focuses on this - Till Debt Do Us Part - they have a great website too.
    My other suggestion is to ensure you get "your" time - it is so very important to do, and I think we mothers often forget that.

  12. You're going to do fabulously!! I am confident you will make it work and make it amazing for both you and Ben. It's so totally normal to be nervous about any big life-change, which is exactly what you're going through! Stay in touch with your friends from work and get out to do lunch with them every so often, find a playgroup to join, and go to the gym if you already don't (they usually have daycare!). MOPS is a great place to start, and hopefully you can find some other moms to be friends with that are willing to talk about something other than their kids!!!! :o)