Why not just jump right in and the topic going, right? In case you missed it, yesterday I wrote about my background and my thoughts on the financial transition. Today’s it’s about the emotional ride. I’m not going to focus on the emotions of having a newborn, but instead the specific emotions I dealt with in my new identity as a SAHM.
Disclaimer: this post is not a discussion about working mom vs stay at home mom. Please don’t turn it into that, as ALL moms that work their tails off for their families, in whatever capacity works best for them, deserve the utmost respect. This is me, sharing MY experience and MY emotions that I went through when we decided I’d stay home with our newborn daughter.
In fact, that’s a good place to start. Identity. It’s amazing how much of our identity is tied up in what we do, rather than who we are. The first question at a cocktail party is always “what do you do?”. I always found it fun to tell people about my health coaching. Health is a topic that intrigues almost everyone and it would always start a great discussion. In contrast, answer that question with “I’m a mom” or “I stay home with the kids” and it pretty much kills the conversation. Maybe you’ll get a “oh how nice” in return, but that’s about it.
Somehow saying that I was just a mom (just?!?) felt unworthy in the beginning. It’s no surprise why. When I had a “real” job, I’d get dressed, do my hair, have to be somewhere at a certain time, have deadlines, clients, paperwork, a title and a company email address. You know, all the things that scream I’M IMPORTANT. When I transitioned to being a mom, I lost that. I could, and sometimes did, stay in pajamas all day, especially with a newborn. When someone innocently asked how I spent my day, I’d rack my brain and answer the best way I knew how- “well, I got dressed! And we made a quick trip to Target for toilet paper.” It sounded so unglamorous, so unimportant.
Looking back now, I want to hug the new mom I was back then. In between the putting on my pants and Target trip, I was accomplishing so many things that were left unspoken. I was caring for the most incredible little human, our daughter, who depended solely on me for every single need. I was her food, her comfort, in charge of keeping her clean and warm. I was caring for another life all day long, with no lunch hour, no coworker camaraderie, no boss telling me how great I was doing. The problem wasn’t with the level of importance of my daily tasks, but that I was so accustomed to external validation that I was lost without it.
Additionally, people seem to understand that jobs can be difficult. However, when I told people I was staying at home with Hailey, I’d often hear “you are so lucky!”. The phrase is well-intentioned, I have no doubt, but also is a double-edged sword. The thing is, I DO feel incredibly blessed to get to be at home with Hailey. However, the word ‘lucky’ always insinuated to me that I got off easy. Phew- no more work for me! Wahoo! In reality, as cliché as it sounds, being a mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had. The isolation, the inability to communicate, the 24/7 schedule, the pressure to be engaging and advancing the skills of your child at every moment… it can be a lot to handle day in and day out.
Now, as Hailey just turned two, I’m increasingly comfortable with my title as stay-at-home-mom. I wear it with pride and know my job is incredibly important. I don’t put the burden on others anymore to understand what I do all day or to respect my decision. We are doing what works best for our family. I’m not only at peace with, I’m in love with, our family’s decision. Because of that, I no longer feel the need to defend it to strangers.
However, to get here has taken some time and lots of learning. To be successful as a stay at home mom, I’ve depended on several factors.
1. Learning to have confidence in my choices and place in life. In other words, internal validation. Others may see that you spent the afternoon at the park and think how easy my life is, but I know no one sees every part of every day. I know how hard I work. I also know that sometimes we DO have easy days with lots of playing. I now refuse to feel guilty about the easier days. I also had days at my ad agency job when we drank beer and got off early on Fridays. I think the good and bad days even themselves out for most jobs.
2. Spousal Support. I feel amiss that I haven’t mentioned David yet. I almost tear up (ok, I am tearing up) when I think of how he’s truly been my rock from the beginning. He’s NEVER made me feel like my job was less than the most important job in the world. In fact, he’s reminded me of it on days I felt worthless. He gets excited when I’ve told him we played all day, not annoyed at my “easy” job. He appreciates what I do for our family and tells me it regularly. I try to do the same for him because I can guarantee you I would not be as comfortable in my role as a SAHM without his constant support. So, actually, I guess I do still rely on some external validation.
3. Getting Out of the House. I guess I could also call this mom friends or play dates, but you can’t underestimate the importance of them. When I finally was comfortable getting out of the house, I put an ad in our neighborhood newsletter that I was seeking a fellow mom walking buddy. One person replied and we met up that week. Now Alison is one of my closest friends and we hang out several times a week.
A blog reader (hi Cheryl ) reached out to me because we have daughters the same age. We met at Gymboree, talked to several other moms and now have been getting every Wednesday afternoon for over a year. I love those girls.
Again, this is not a mom-friends versus non-mom-friends debate (I love you ALL). When I get together with my fellow moms, there is an unspoken understanding and empathy present that you can’t put a price on. We share our struggles openly and without judgment. We pick up the slack for each other. We engage in the cooler-talk that we all miss and need.
4. Taking Advantage of Online/Distance Support. I know there are many baby/mom boards out there, but I feel so fortunate to have you guys. Seriously. It’s about to get all cheesy up in here, but having this blog as an outlet to come to and talk things over with you guys is priceless. I read every comment and every email and really feel like I’ve gotten to know so many of you. Thank you for your friendship and support.
I also am part of several mom groups on facebook. some of us our local mom friends, some of us bloggers and some of us randomly met on twitter. The openness and lack of judging in these groups is impressive.
And I can’t forget my friends that don’t live nearby. Phone calls do wonders to lift my spirits on rough days.
5. Giving Myself a Break. Not everyday is going to look like a homeschooling pinterest board. It’s ok. Hailey gets a lot of social interaction. We talk colors with play-doh and read books and sing songs and build forts on many days. Because of that, an afternoon or two of having her do nothing but tag along on my errands isn’t going to hurt her development. Neither is a random TCBY dinner.
Again, my apologies for being so wordy, but it seems I had a lot to say on the subject. Being a mom of any kind, heck just being a woman, isn’t easy. But by learning to be comfortable in my choices and taking advantage of support systems, I’ve truly embraced and come to love the part of my identity that is being a SAHM. It’s not ALL that I am, but it’s a big part of it.
Very nicely stated, all of it.
You are pretty fabulous & this again, is another great post.
Well said! It’s interesting for me as an ‘outside’ to see how heated people can get when the topic of sahm’s comes up.
Lauren K says
Very well stated and I think your post can relate to just about anyone. Kind of goes along with Jen’s recent post which I think can relate to both men and women. Every person is a unique individual and their decisions should be what’s best for them and their family. Doing something different is OK and doing something “mainstream” is OK. That’s the ride of life! If I am happy with what I am doing and who I can maintain relationships with (letting go is good when they are not supportive or engaging), that’s all I can hope for. You never know what path life will take so being engaged and happy with your current routine is so incredibly important! #5 above is also key! Keep it up. 🙂
Brittany Dixon says
I really love the point you made about letting go of relationships that don’t add to your life. It’s been hard at times to realize that some friendships have run their course, but by moving on I can free up so much more time and energy for friendships that are supportive and additive. Great point! Thanks 🙂
Parita @ myinnershakti says
LOVE this! I don’t know what kind of arrangement we’ll have when we evenutally have kids, but it’s nice to read about your experience. I think it’s super easy to judge either side, but at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to do the best we can with what we’re given. 🙂
Hey Brittany! I have been reading your blog ever since I discovered it during the 2012 cookie exchange (I sent you those chocolate sea salt cookies) and I never take the time to comment. But hearing that you do appreciate comments, I thought I would take the time to let you know how much I enjoy the quality writing you do. Yesterday’s post, today’s post, I always feel that reading your blog is worthwhile. Keep up the great work!
Brittany Dixon says
I still remember those cookies; they were delicious!! 🙂 I do really love reading comments and feedback, so thank you for taking the time today to leave an encouraging note. I appreciate it!
I greatly respect moms who stay at home. My husband and I briefly talked about it, and then we realized it just wasn’t a good fit for me or my son. My son is such an extrovert and loves playing with kids every day, and I’m an introvert who has few friends. Any time there is a long weekend I get a glimpse of what it would be like to be a SAHM and boy is it a lot of work – rewarding work for sure, though, so kudos to all the SAHMs out there – your job is not easy.
Brittany Dixon says
And kudos right back to you Heather! I think your comment is a perfect example of how what is best for each family (and what a woman even would prefer to do) can differ so greatly between families. I have mad respect for working moms who get their families ready each day, go kick-butt in an office all day and come home and be mom. There is no such thing as a part time mom and I think we all work our tails off. Thanks for your comment!
I concur on all of it! I actually work part time from home (similar to what you seem to do- maybe 10ish hours a week) and sometimes I feel like I’m just juggling everything but I wouldn’t trade being home with Josie for the office…though I might fantasize about the occasional coffee break 😉 I feel like I still have a bit to work on personally as I sometimes get very frustrated feeling like I’m constantly doing the same things over and over again (cleaning dishes, doing laundry, etc). I totally agree about the importance of mom friends and getting out of the house! Also, reading healthy living/mom blogs like yours help me feel encouraged.
Brittany Dixon says
Oh Katie, you aren’t alone! Sometimes I just stare at the dishwasher in awe that it is ready to be emptied AGAIN. I fantasize about the day that I can give Hailey a list of chores. Empty dishwasher is going front and center! 😉
Michelle G. says
This is a great post. I am a working mom, but I always feel like I would need to be on some kind of schedule if I stayed at home. Do you find that planning out your days helps a lot?
Also, does it get easier as Hailey gets bigger? How do you fit in time for yourself? Are you worried about adding another kid into the mix (eventually)?
Brittany Dixon says
Yes! I can’t believe I didn’t mention it specifically, but being on a schedule helps my sanity greatly. We have a loose schedule (not specific times, but a steady order of events) and I think it really helps both Hailey and me get through the day and know what to expect.
I do think it has gotten easier as Hailey has gotten older. Her schedule is more predictable, allowing me to plan our days. Also, she is now in “school” two half days a week too so it’s nice to have a few hours for doctors appts, errands and me time.
As far as adding another kid into the mix at some point… Lord help me. I have no clue. But I trust I’ll figure it out as we go 🙂
Can i give you a hug through the internet?! I am a SAHM and this post speaks so so so much truth! For me, I would add “non guilty me time.” Going to the gym, food shopping alone, etc. It took me a while to realize that just because I needed a “me break” doesn’t mean I don’t love my son or love staying at home. And it certainly doesn’t make me a bad mom! Everybody needs a mental break. (Even a 10 min trip through starbucks helps)
Brittany Dixon says
HUG right back to ya! 🙂 Yes, love your addition of guilt-free ‘me’ time. I believe my gym time and the hours I get now that she is in “school” a few hours each week totally helps me be a better mom. No guilt for needing that!
Oh my goodness, I think this is one of my favorite posts you’ve ever written! You’ve said it all so beautifully. I work outside the home full-time, and I struggle with some of the same issues – validating my decision to continue working to others, feeling the need to explain that my daughter really DOES seem happy in her daycare and will NOT be traumatized, having confidence in my choices, feeling okay about taking time to myself when I already spend so few precious hours with her, etc. etc. Thanks!!!!
Brittany Dixon says
Isn’t it amazing as moms we all feel like we aren’t making the right decision at some point or another? We’re so tough on ourselves! Haha, clearly there is no right decision, just the one that suits each family best. Glad you are getting more comfortable knowing that you’re doing an amazing job without having to ‘prove’ it to anyone. You rock 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!
Great post! As a full-time, working mama of a almost two year old girl means I have a totally different experience, yet I could easily identify with so much you wrote. When you open your heart like you did, it applies to all. You ARE doing the HARDEST job a woman can have. My hours spent at the office are very different from the hours I spend clocked in as “mama” at home. I love my job, I love working and it is best for our family but it took me awhile to be able to be proud of that choice. Now, I like you, I embrace it. One thing I miss is the opportunity to have “mom friends” to spend time with – so please know that your blog helps serve this purpose for me. You do an excellent job as a blogger and a mama.
Brittany Dixon says
Marie, thank you so much for your kind words and ability to open up. I LOVE that you used the word proud. It’s perfect. We all give a lot of thought to our circumstances and decisions and should be proud of our decisions to do what we know is best for ourselves and our families. Thanks for sharing!
Great two days of posts. I have enjoyed reading both of them. Ever since giving my notice, I have been contemplating how my days/schedule with the girls is going to go. I am slightly apprehensive, but also thankful for the opportunity to be with them at home. My patients (despite wayyyyyy too many of them crying when I tell them… 🙁 have been so supportive, more than I expected. So that’s been helpful to know how many people support my decision. I look forward to life slowing down as a family, but also fear the inevitable long days with the girls. (ie I just managed to change back to back poopie diapers while writing this comment…ha ha) Overall, I think this will be the best decision I will have ever made! (I hope 🙂
I was a nanny for ehh, 5 months (I know totally not the same thing, but still). I was basically a SAHM to three children in a huge mansion. I cooked breakfast, packed lunches, drove kids to daycare, organized playdates, oversaw house vendors, ran errands, etc. I remember, my 23 year old self saying, “How to SAHMs DO THIS?”. Since then, I have never, ever thought a SAHM has an easy job and shoot, you don’t even make money doing it! But you perfectly summed up how I felt in those 5 months and especially the feelings of isolation – oh man that was that hard.
Wonderfully said and like all of your mom posts – bookedmarked for someday 🙂
This might be my favorite post you’ve ever written, so encouraging to other SAHMs! I almost like it was me speaking because I’ve faced the same struggles and dealt with the same thoughts. And I love your point about how we shouldn’t feel guilty about the occasional “easy day”. Every job has those easy days, but somehow as a SAHM I often feel like I should be working my tail off every minute of the day because there is always something that needs to be done. But I need to remember to relish the easier moments…because they make the harder days more worthwhile. Great post!
John J. Stathas says
Brittany, you and David have designed and executed an incredible plan to have a wonderful marriage and family. Your communication, based on trust and respect, is edifying. You are helping others see what can be accomplished with the most important “jobs” of your lives. Thanks for sharing.
As a full-time working mama, my very first reaction when I started reading this was “she’s so lucky!” Haha. But that’s certainly NOT because I think you live a life of leisure. While I know it’s not the same, my 3 months of maternity leave did give me a glimpse of what full-time motherhood looks like, and it IS a 24/7, demanding job, like you say. I guess when I think “she’s so lucky!” what I’m really thinking is that “she’s so lucky she had the choice!” THAT’S the part that I envy, because I always knew I would have to go back to work, whether I wanted to or not.
But I totally get all your points about validation and making sure you still have social time and time for yourself. I’ve seen how isolating it can be for my SAHM friends, and how they sometimes struggle with their identity.
Mostly, I’m really glad you have such a great hubby, because I’ve also seen my friends struggle with spouses that just don’t “get it,” and seem to think that life at home is carefree.
Thanks for sharing!
Danielle @ Long May You Run says
Agreed- it’s not really fair to always assume people who say you’re lucky say it because they think you’ve got it easy. I wish my mom could have stayed at home and raised my brother and I, but she had two work two jobs to support us (she wasn’t so ‘lucky’). So I’d bet a handful of the “you’re so lucky” responses might have something to do with being financially stable enough to make the choice of staying home.
But with that being said, I don’t mean to attack you at all. Quite the opposite- I admire your tenacity and hard work as you raise such a beautiful and (seemingly) well behaved daughter! =)
Fabulous post! I am also a stay-at-home mum. I am proud of that. I find it hard a lot of the time because it’s not all ‘coffee dates’ and ‘playground’ time all the time. Of course, I enjoy those things too.
It’s funny how many people ask me if work or if I plan on going back to work…like what I’m doing at the moment isn’t good enough….sure, maybe one day when the kids are in school I will return to the outside workforce if it works for us.
Every family is different and everyone has different needs.
Love this post 🙂
Love this! Hailey is so lucky to have you home with her.
Have you seen this amazing post by a dad defending his stay-at-home-mom wife?
Brittany Dixon says
YES! Loved it. It helps a lot to have men support their women!
Brittany Dixon says
YES! Loved it. It helps a lot to have men support their women! (whatever their choices!)
Kimberly @ Healthy Strides says
I’ve really enjoyed your two posts about staying at home. I am so glad that you’ve not only found but embraced the value in staying at home. And I’m even more glad that you made this post clear that it is not about the mommy wars.
As a working mom, I’ve been guilty about thinking there’s some ease with being SAHM but I know it’s not true. As evidenced by my complete meltdown trying to find keys this morning while M was requesting … well, whatever. Who knows.
And, for what it’s worth, I hate being asked what I do. It’s the dumbest question. Plus, I don’t like to share because too many people have an opinion about it. (I work at a newspaper.)
Brittany Dixon says
Don’t feel guilty. As a SAHM mom, I’m sure I’ve been guilty of longing for a day at the office, knowing well enough that the office is full of pressures and deadline and other stresses without anyone caring you are also a full time mom. It can’t be easy.
Thank you for sharing!
I think you hit the nail on the head. I have a 7 month old and I am a SAHM right now, but I’m trying to open an acupuncture practice as well. I’m having such a hard time trying to balance marketing for that with caring for my son during the days. There is not time (or logistics) to meet with people to get the word out about my practice. I am considering canning it all together to be solely a SAHM. I almost feel like I need someone to say “it’s okay to stop.” My husband has said it 100 times, so I feel better about it now. Like you, I wish in the beginning new moms realized how important their jobs are and didn’t feel pressure or unworthiness. I don’t have many friends that are SAHM, so it’s hard for them to understand. I hate the “lucky” speech that I get from them too. I’ve learned to let it go in one ear and out the other! I’m so happy I get to raise my child and provide all his needs for him!
Beautifully written, Britt.
Wonderfully written post! I think it says a lot about your voice on the blog that so many moms (both working and SAH) can relate to you.
I love this post! Even though I am not even a SAHM! 🙂 I echo number 1 in the above list – internal validation. This is so important for anybody in any situation to learn. I feel like as I age, my need to be validated from others chips away little by little. And that is a very good thing.
And I absolutely LOVE that picture of you and H. So sweet.
Brittany Dixon says
Love your point about getting older and being more comfortable with your decisions. It’s taken time, but I love that I’m reaching that point of being confident in my life choices without having to justify them. Thanks for commenting!
Love this. I’m just now getting to the point where I’m comfortable with saying I’m “just a mom”. I’ve always worked, so when I quit my design job once my daughter was here I really felt like I’d lost myself. I dreaded the “what do you do” question, but I’m starting to not care as much anymore. It’s taken awhile to get to this point. I think I just don’t have time to think about those sorts of thing now that my daughter is running around all over the place. :]
Hilary @ PeanutButterSpoonfuls says
Hi! I have been reading your blog for a long time but have never commented. I have a little boy one day younger than Hailey. I just want to tell you how much I love this post!! I can relate to every single point and I feel like I could have written this myself, although I probably would’ve said it less eloquently.
This post is great – refreshing and honest. I’m going to admit one giant hesitation I have about being a stay-at-home-mom (we don’t have children yet): division of household labor.The girlfriends I have who stay home with the kids are all on duty 24/7. All the ‘life maintenance’ falls on them, from doctors appointments, to meal preparation, diaper changing, bill paying, getting up in the middle of the night, getting cars fixed, appliances repaired, landscaping, vacation planning, etc., etc. Some of them are genuine control freaks, and some simply don’t want to (or know how to) ask for help from the working spouse. Maybe it’s because my mom stayed home and also fell into the trap of doing everything all the time and not expecting anything from my dad besides a paycheck. I don’t want to feel obligated to do everything, and turn into a grumpy mom-martyr.
With both of us working full-time, we have the same amount of time at home, and I feel it’s easier to divvy up the work without the “not bringing home a paycheck” guilt. I know my working mom friends are stressed too, but they seem to have more egalitarian division of labor in terms of hours spent on childcare and household chores.
And I should clarify that I mean egalitarian division of labor in terms of evenings, weekends, holidays,etc. Obviously a stay at home parent does the lion’s share of childcare during business hours!
I just read your reply and love your concern. I have been a Family Medicine doctor at a private practice for 7 years and have recenlty decided to resign to be home with my two small children. This is definitely a big concern I have (among many!! 🙂 about being home 100% of the time. Thankfully there is a lot of household stuff my husband genuinely wants to do, but there is also a lot that has fallen on me even with my current job status (mainly related to childcare and basic household daily chores). I think it will be a work in progress always to establish a rule of thumb for feeling equal despite not working outside the home anymore. In a way, without sounding too feministic, I think there is an element of assumption made by husbands that we can and will do it because we are females and it comes natural to us. (well at least with my hubby…). I think as will all life stressors, this one will always be a huge work in progress where open communication is key on a daily basis!! 🙂 (wish me luck) 😉
Brittany Dixon says
Love love this discussion and look forward to writing all my thoughts about it when I cover ‘roles’. It’s been a tricky one in our household at times too. To give a quick overview, communication has been key. I’ve realized that David is happy to help, but like so many women, I want him to just see what needs to be done and DO it. Over time I’ve realized that he truly doesn’t see the overflowing laundry the way I do. It’s taken (and is still taking) a lot of open communication. I am working on doing a better job of listing what needs to be done and asking for help. It bothered me a lot at first that I needed to ask for help (shouldn’t he just see it??), but I’m coming to grips that men and women are different (who knew?!).
As far as childcare, I am guilty sometimes of actually dumping more childcare responsibilities on him when he is home. He does them happily, but sometimes I remind myself that he’s worked hard all week too and shouldn’t have to do everything on his own when he is home.
See, clearly this needs to be an entire separate post so I can organize my jumbled thoughts. To be continued… 🙂
Great posts! I worked part-time for the first 15-months of my daughters life. We moved last winter for my husband’s new job and I made the decision to stay home, which he has supported. We’ve made the finances work, the change has improved our quality of life and I love being home with my daughter. The toughest part of the change in my ‘identity’ has been in my head, so I appreciate you addressing the emotional aspects of it.
I think the best thing for us is that my husband & I have realistic expections of ourselves and each other. Somedays I have super-hero productivity and find time for errands, cooking, cleaning and play, but other days responsibilites are compromised for each other and cleaning only happens while cartoons are on or he makes grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner because I put off food shopping due to toddler tantrums. I make the best of the good days and try to avoid having easy play days while were running out of toilet paper & milk.d
I’ve been a SAHM since my youngest was born, and he’s now 5.5 and just started Kindergarten. I was toying with the idea of returning to work…and then we were surprised with a pregnancy. I was freaked out at first, but I can’t wait to start all over with a newborn in April 🙂
Kristen @ notsodomesticated says
I’m loving these posts, girl. As a SAHM, I can relate to so much of what you’re saying. And I think like any job, it has it’s ups and downs. There are easy days and more challenging days. Today (and yesterday) were challenging around here. Addie turned 6 months and has suddenly turned into Miss Cranky Pants! Hoping we get back to the happier days soon! 😉
Erin @ The Grass Skirt says
This is such a great post! I touched on this topic on my blog as well and completely agree with everything you said. We need to see each other soon during that whole “getting out of the house” part. 🙂
Brittany Dixon says
I would LOVE to see you soon. I’m sad it’s been so long. Maybe in the next couple weeks??
I love this post and am soooo happy I read this!!!! I feel like I wrote it myself and it makes me feel sooooo relieved that I am not the only one with these exact feelings! I am a brand new mother of a now 6 month old beautiful baby girl and I am also blessed to be able to stay at home! It has been challenging especially because we moved to a new town where I know no one!!! It has been a struggle to find “myself” as a sahm but I think I’m slowly really starting to appreciate it!!! Sometimes I have to stop myself to slow down and enjoy the moment because BAM she’s already 6 months old and where did the time go! Thanks for helping me feel positive about my gift I get!!!
Heather @TheSoulfulSpoon says
This was a great post! A few things:
I’m not a mom, but my mom was a stay at home mom. I credit the fact she and I are so close and such great friends to her staying at home with us all those years. I always tell people how grateful I am that she didn’t work. It means more now as an adult now than ever.
Secondly, I just started working full time at home, and at 28, it took a little getting used to, although it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I was prepared to fight distractions and such, which I do well at, but I wasn’t prepared with how it would make me feel odd being here, almost as if I’m not as important, which I know is ridiculous. It’s that self validation you spoke of:) It’s true though; when we have the luxury of being at home all day, even when we’re busy, it can make our schedules seem “unimportant” when others ask how we spend our day. I often find myself trying to prove to others how hard I work, ( and that I actually work harder here than I did at other places), when really, they don’t even care!
I’m glad you wrote about this because I think it could help a lot of moms. I also love your blog by the way:)
Brittany Dixon says
Hey Heather! Thanks for your comment and for bringing up a great point about working outside an office setting being isolating. I used to groan about going to the office, but isn’t it crazy how much we actually get out of it? The social interaction, the validation, the camaraderie, etc. Sometimes I’ll watch The Office and long to be in a crazy environment like that 🙂
It sounds like you’ve worked your butt off to get to where you are, so congrats!! I hope you give yourself credit for your diligence and hard work 🙂
Dominique @ That's What Domi Said says
Again, so great to hear your perspective! I’ve always wondered about this; I was blessed to have my mom stay home with me and my siblings ever since I was 2, but I’ve always wondered if I would be able to do the same (in terms of financial and personal/emotional reasons). I’m not even sure that I’ll decide to have kids someday, but I know that just these past few months of being unemployed after graduation have been a challenge in terms of finding my identity when I’m not “doing” anything career-wise…can’t imagine what it’s like with a kiddo and all the work that goes along with that.
Thanks for sharing so honestly!
PS…totally started tearing up when I read what you said about David. Definitely inspired to find someone who’s equally supportive! 🙂
Brittany Dixon says
Don’t settle for anything less! I can’t imagine being married to someone who wasn’t open to communicating and supporting each other the way David is. Waiting until you find the one that truly is your best friend is so worth it! <3 #cheesealert 😉
John J. says
You are incredible in sharing, and living out, your wisdom of a life well lived! Your focus on marriage and family is edifying.
Laura @ Mommy Run Fast says
So well said! The identity is definitely the challenging piece initially, it’s a big adjustment. I’m so glad you have such a great support system and a spouse who gets it- that makes a huge difference! Thanks for sharing.
Lauren B. says
You’re my favorite. :). And what everybody else said.
Spot on, Brittany. 12 months ago, I left work for maternity leave in tears. Work defined me for so long. I struggled with my new identity as a mum initially, but once the fog in my head cleared, I found my feet. I am heading back to work in 3 weeks. My heart breaks at the thought of sending my little one to nursery, but I know she’ll get so much out of nursery. I may be going back to work full time, but I’ll always be Isobel’s (full time) Mama. 🙂
Thank you for this post!! We are expecting our first in a couple of weeks and I am struggling with going back to work – saving that decision for when she is here of course. I just don’t know how I am going to feel. And part of me worries I would lose that ‘identity’ you talk about. We shall see.
Danica @ It's Progression says
Okay, so I’m really behind on blog reading so I’m sorry this comment is really delayed, but…
Thank You so much for doing this little SAHM series!! I loved reading it. While I’m not a mom yet, my husband and I hope for me to be a SAHM someday when we do have a baby, and it’s awesome to read about how you and your family handled it – I’ve learned a lot and it’s inspiring!
Brittany this is such an incredible post! I too have always sought validation on titles, the amount of money I made, and being busy outside of the home. My daughter is now 3 months old and I’m truly enjoying being a SAHM, but struggle with many of the things that you mentioned. Each day is a blessing that I intend to enjoy and I realize that what works for our family may not work for everyone else, but our health and happiness is paramount. Thanks for sharing, this post was just what I needed to read!
Leila Dishes says
This is such a great post! I’m a teacher, so I’m fortunate enough to have summer’s off with my daughter. This summer was so wonderful, but also a lot more work than I expected. I had a goal of getting out of the house every day, no matter what the capacity! I found a group of moms to walk with via our local birth resource center on facebook, and their friendship is invaluable.
Heather Warner says
I am going back in your archives for some support here 🙂 I will be a SAHM officially in September. I am sort of freaking out. I never thought I would be one. There were times in my life when I didn’t even know if I was going to be a mom.
I was raised by my mother who worked a “man’s job” in finance, was one of two women in her Columbia business school graduating class, shattered glass ceilings, all while raising me on her own. By becoming a SAHM, I almost feel like I am letting her down. I always felt like I was supposed to Lean In, and then I had my first child. Now I really don’t want to have to work after I put my daughter to bed – 9 to 5 is enough for me. I don’t want to be the CEO, I don’t like what it would do to my family life. On the other hand, I have a masters degree and how I am going to be a SAHM? It is hard for me to validate the position to myself after all of the hard work I have put into my career. I really need to work on finding my identity like you said and put on my big girl pants and find some local mom’s to hang out with,
Thanks for being my sounding board Brittany!
Brittany Dixon says
You are not alone at all in those feelings, Heather! When you become a SAHM in September, make your first priority to find a “tribe” of moms that share the same feelings. I have been in complete awe of the women/moms/friends I have that have impressive backgrounds, fancy resumes, etc and now are SAHM and loving it (most days ;)). I think it’s a difficult transition when you are used to being defined by a job and then suddenly feel like “just” a mom, but having other women that understand and a supportive husband make a world of difference while you create and fall in love with your new identity. You’ll do great!!
I know it has been a few years since this was written but I still felt the need to say thank you. I have been looking for something like this for a few months. All the housewife guides out there seem to be cleaning tips. This is the only one that I found that spoke about the transition from work, the emotion of it all, and redefining your own personal definitions of success. I went from running a company to staying at home and I am having a hard time measuring personal accomplishment. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone and there are other woman that didn’t just find this easy on the emotional and mental state.