Big changes for my family

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These past few months have been a whirlwind. Sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming and waiting for someone to bring me back to reality.

They say you should only have one major life change in a year. This year, I’ve tripled that.

I had a baby

We bought a house (still in progress).

sold house

And last week, probably the scariest change for me… I quit my job.

This was a huge decision I debated an agonized over for about a year. When my daughter was born my husband was finishing school, and in the process of applying to start his new career, so he stayed home with her until she was a year old. That’s when she finally started daycare. It made going back to work so much easier for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was still hard, but not as hard as it could have been.

This time, my husband and I staggered our leaves. I took off 12 weeks and right now he’s off for 6. But we both have demanding careers with crazy hours at odd times, and unless we wanted preschool and daycare during the week, plus a nanny on the weekend (in other words, childcare available 7 days a week), once he goes back, something had to be done.

I love my job. LOVE my job. And the career I’ve practically worked my whole life for. Yes, I love my kids more, but I didn’t want to have to choose one or the other.

kids at workI prayed about this decision for months and months. I asked for “signs”, unsure if it was just a Catholic thing, or if I could get them too.

Recently I’d read one too many articles about stay at home moms regretting staying home. It’s made me worry I’d someday fall into that category. Not hating time spent with the kids, but frustrated for not keeping up with my career.

I don’t feel like “stay at home mom material.” I don’t cook, I hate cleaning, and I really just like working, and having something for myself. But I also see my son growing so much every single day, and if my husband isn’t going to be home with him this first year or so, I think I’d like to be. Even my daughter, who thrives in social atmospheres like preschool, loves when I come home from work and tells me she misses me when I’m gone.

During a week of day-long summer camp, by day four, she was holding on to me a little longer as I dropped her off, and I could tell where she’d rather be.

Inside I was completely torn, and almost daily I went back and forth on my decision. Then the signs started coming.

Opportunities to write from home started to appear. My blog load at BabyCenter picked up a bit, and I’ve found potential to occasionally partner with clients on this blog. It’s not full-time work but it’s something.

My mom asked me what my ideal situation would be and I told her working outside the home a few days a week, still having a career, but still being there for my children. I just didn’t know how to piece that all together. She encouraged me to go for it, take a leap and figure it out as I go.

Things started to piece together but I couldn’t commit to a decision. Which meant I’d just keep doing what I was doing. But I prayed for one more sign. I just needed one more prompting, preferably obvious to tell me what I should do. I wanted to be sure.

Then one night I went to Panda Express for free orange chicken. I opened my fortune cookie and was floored:

fortuneMy husband claims it’s just a blanket statement that could be applied to anyone, but when I then asked him how it applied to him personally he said “your job!” Well, ok then mister, it isn’t as universal as you thought!

Now, I didn’t quit my job because a fortune cookie told me so. But that, on top of everything else I had been feeling finally put me over the edge of my teetering decision.

Hopeful to end on good terms, and continue some kind of working relationship; but ready to leave everything, I gave my notice of resignation. My stomach was in knots the entire week leading up to it, but the meeting couldn’t have gone better.

After a few discussions and negotiations amongst people way over my pay grade, I was hired to freelance two of my pieces for my station. My adoption segment, and my parenting segment. So I’ll continue to go to work a couple days a week, and complete those stories around my family’s schedule.

I’m working on a rigorous series up until my last full-time day, and I’ll switch to part-time after it’s complete.

Other plans are in the works to continue to freelance write, blog, and do photography/videography, but I’m taking things slow. The idea isn’t to continue to work full-time hours, but hopefully about 20 a week total. I’ve been researching part-time preschools for Lil’ J until she’s four, then I’ll look into something she can do everyday.

As for Big T… He’ll be with his mama and papa almost all the time, which I’m excited about. There will be a funky 2-week overlap of our schedules, where he’ll go to the daycare at his sister’s preschool until I’m done with my full-time schedule. I think those two weeks will be when it really hits me why I’m making this change.

For the last five years, aside from maternity leave an vacation time, I’ve worked every weekend. I can finally make Saturday morning family events and Sunday church. I can get to know a congregation I’ve technically been a part of for years but barely know. I feel like I’ve sacrificed a part of myself for a period of time, and now I can get it back.

The amount of thankfulness, relief, and appreciation I feel is completely overwhelming. Every day since then, I’ve been constantly saying silent prayers of gratitude. It’s like a dream. I hope it lasts a while.

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  1. That’s awesome I am really happy for you because that is a hard transition. Since I am not in your area I don’t get to see you as a news woman but your a terrific blogger.
    You have really inspired me with that, there are so many life changes I need to make and it’s been a battle. Reading about your journey will be motivation.
    Best of luck to you.

  2. I am so excited for you! When I quit my job I felt so scared and I kept reconsidering my decision but once it was done it that was it! I too don’t cook much, hate cleaning after others and have seen myself behind a desk ALWAYS at a 9-5. It’s been 4 year now and I couldn’t have made a better decision. I’ve been home with my babies since and have found myself outside of just being a mom and wife. I wish you the best!

  3. I totally feel you. I had my second baby boy in April and after that I kept asking myself if I really wanted to go back to fulltime work. I agonized over it (had been doing so actually for the last 1.5 years). I decided not to go back and instead focus on my blog and do freelance assignments (I’m a journalist too). I am so at peace with myself, so happy and very grateful.
    Happy for you too, going after your heart’s desire. Best wishes.

  4. I am so happy for you and your family! I wish you and your family many blessings! I have been battling with my decision to stay home or go back to work. As a military wife I decided to stay home, with my husband gone so much I wanted to be home with our children. The decision is always a hard one, but I am very happy with it!

  5. Good for you! It’s a hard choice to make but you will never regret one moment you spent with your kids. I love that you were able to get your career in there as well. Best of luck with the transition!

  6. I really think that retaining part time work in various ways has made a huge difference for me. I would feel somewhat lost without it & I’d be less viable to return full time one day. Part time gives me a chance to be more than just Mommy but allows me to be present with my kids all day. I hope it is just as good for you, best wishes!

    1. That’s exactly what I’m hoping! Ill have to chat with you about how you’ve made it work. Without childcare it’ll be a little more tricky but I think we’ll be able to trade off easily.

  7. Wow, that’s awesome! I’m really happy for you and I hope this turns out to be the happy medium you crave! 🙂

    I’ve found so many great opportunities through my blog that pay the bills over the years and then it finally pushed me to start something of my own. I now run 3 businesses (blog, social media management, and photography), and drive myself nuts! Even though it isn’t easy, I just love being home with the kids and being my own boss 😉

  8. I can totally relate to this. My daughter is the reason why I decided to stay at home for three years and now I’m a WAHM…lol. It’s definitely not easy, but I love being here with her every day.

    Wishing you all the best! I’m sure you’ll have a thriving business out of it in the end! ♥

  9. Awesome! Sound like you have the perfect set up for your family. If I could afford to quit right now I probably would. I work 10 months out of the year (teacher) so I guess that is better than full time all the time. This is my 1st summer without my husband off too. He just quit teaching in Feb. for different job. It is challenging staying home, but I’d still do it full time if I could. We have one week left to enjoy and it’s back to work. :/

    I hate cleaning as well, but it’s not as bad when you aren’t working outside the home all day. Then again you are home all day to make messes. I know you’ll love it!

  10. When you finally made up your mind, things really fell into place in a manner that was what you prayed for. You only go this way once with your children. Life does not give you a “do over.” Enjoy the ups and downs of being there with them. It does go by so quickly. I just attended my daughters last swim meet (she’s aged out) & I now reflect on 12 years of swim meets, practices, etc. I honestly don’t know how it has happened so fast. I want to go back and make time stand still so that I can savor each moment. Congratulations to you!!

  11. Hey, I’m a stay at home mom who hates cooking and cleaning too! Actually, I don’t even like staying home much. And I’m a workaholic. You can totally make it work for you. I have a feeling you’ll still work odd hours, never sleep, and be hugely successful at whatever you end up doing “on the side.”

  12. So excited to hear about your transition! I’m sure that it will all go well, and even if you decide to head back to work in another couple of years? Just remember that you’re not closing the door on the option forever – you’re just choosing the option that’s best for you right now.

  13. Good for you girl! We tend to teeter on where we are in life. It’s been almost 9 years that we’ve been online buds (can’t believe it’s been that long and we’ve not met yet). When we first started chatting my babies were just starting to walk. Now they are headed to the 3rd grade. And mama…well, I have my first interview in almost 10 years and for a social media position no less. To think, this position didn’t even exist when I had my twins and now I’m potentially heading up a new position. It’s crazy how life works.

    Beautiful changes ahead and I’m wishing you nothing but beautiful memories to look back on because that’s what it’s all about!

  14. It will last! You are creative and inventive. I’m so excited for you! I keep thinking of Elder Uchdorf’s (sp?) talk about regrets when people are on their death bed. I doubt any of us will regret spending more time with our children. We only get them for 18 years…such a short time, especially when you count in sleep, sports and school. Proud of you for taking this leap of faith. I look forward to great things from you as you are free to pick and choose more now. Good luck and lots of love. Hugs-Megan

  15. Hey mama! It has been way too long!!! Congrats on all of it! A new house, yay!

    I struggle sometimes as a SAHM (well, WAHM) and wonder what/where my career would be otherwise. I’m like you – I hate cooking and cleaning – and I’m very driven to work. It took me a long time to adjust to this (I’m still adjusting some days!) and to accept and be happy with this. But I know I am so lucky to be home with my kids and do all that I’m able to do with them – to experience everything new WITH them. It’s amazing and I wouldn’t trade it. I think you’ll love it – and if you ever need to rant about missing your job and being a WAHM, I’m here 😉 Best of luck!!!

    1. Emily it has been way too long! Hi!! *waves*. I’ve loved watching you become a s/wahm. It’s been great to see how someone like myself has transitioned. I don’t see you having shard time adjusting at all! So know that on the outside you totally appear to have it all together! 🙂 thanks for the encouragement!

  16. “…working outside the home a few days a week, still having a career, but still being there for my children” – I totally feel you on this! I think it’s a great idea to have something to fall back on when the at-home days are over. GL!

  17. Thank you for sharing this. I’m a social worker by profession and passion. I am currently pregnant with my second and have also been contemplating being a wahm. With my first I only took 6 weeks of maternity leave. With this one I’m taking 12. I’ve been getting a bit of job A.D.D. and I’m itching to just put in my resignation. I’m definitely not in the position to do so just yet but I’m hoping that during these 12 weeks I solidify what it is I want to do and align myself with opportunities to put me and my family in the right direction. Good luck to you. I’m glad you’re doing what makes you the happiest. Hoping to join you soon.

  18. How wonderful! You won’t regret it. Still getting to dabble in your passion for your job while being able to be the one at home raising your babies…now that’s a total win win!

  19. This is absolutely awesome! Wonderful news!
    We lost one of our daughters when she was 21. You never can get that time back, just as you never can get those baby hours back. Those were the most special of times in my life.
    Enjoy EVERY second! I know you will!

  20. I think it is awesome that you are becoming a WAHM. It is not an easy choice and many do not always have the opportunity to do so. It will not always be perfect and you will good days and bad days as with anything else, but more times with your kids is always a plus! Good luck with the house and welcome to the WAHM community!

  21. Sending you lots of support, hugs and love, Jen!

    You’ve always been someone I’ve looked up to and respected greatly. This is one of those challenging (often very common) life decisions that women in our generation (and those a few before us) have to make at some point.

    One saying that’s always encouraged me: you can have it all, just not at once.

    I really believe that. This is a season for change and it’s going to be glorious for you, even if it takes some time getting used to.

    Love you, Jen!

  22. Girl, I’m so happy for you! I believe working part time is like the best of both worlds. Staying home with the kids a majority of the time and still being able to make a little change.

  23. Congrats! It was definitely a transition for me, and hard to strike a balance because when you work part-time you still can feel pulled in a million directions…but after 5 years of doing it, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  24. Congrats!! 1 year ago I quit my AM Met job to stay home with my babies. It’s been a hard transition (i believe when news is in your blood you are a special kind of person!) but one you won’t regret. Congrats on the option to freelance …what a great way to keep a hand in it! (I did Weds. child at my old station..such awesome stories!)

  25. Your story sounds so similar to my situation. I felt so torn between having a career and being with my kids. I prayed and prayed over my decision to quit my job as well. I stayed home with my kids for a bit but realized I too needed something for myself. I found that balance by starting a website business where I now work from home and have that something for myself, and can be there for my children. Baby # 3 is on the way and am so happy I have the opportunity and flexibility to be a WAHM 🙂 All the best to you and your family!

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