Friday, March 27, 2015

Motherhood // Being a SAHM

Before Henry was born, the question I kept getting from everyone was what I was going to do about work after he arrived. Ironically, there's been a lot in the news lately about how maternity leave standards here in the US are so incredibly far behind other developed nations, and it seems that this is really an issue that people seem to be talking about. I personally have many friends who are either new moms as well or moms to be, and so deciding how to handle working and motherhood is a question that many people I know are facing. I realize and respect that everyone's situation is completely different, however, I really appreciate hearing other mothers' thoughts on this subject. And that's why I wanted to share a little bit about my own personal situation, in case anyone might be curious...

For the past three years, I've been working as a recruiter for a growing recruitment process outsourcing firm. I recruited potential job seekers for our clients' open positions, which ranged from entry-level roles to more senior positions in a variety of industries. The thing that made my job somewhat unique is that I actually worked 100% remotely. All my interaction with candidates, our clients, and my colleagues was via phone or email, and being able to wear yoga pants every single day while working was pretty nice. But although I was working from home, my position was a very full-time job and extremely structured in terms of my hours and starting my day since I primarily worked with people on the East Coast. And honestly, I probably put in way more hours than I would have vs. if I had been working in an office as it can be somewhat difficult to find that separation between work life and home life when you're working from home. Anyway, I really enjoyed my job and loved the people I worked with, and so once I found out I was pregnant, my plan was that I would most likely continue working once Henry was born. However, I think deep down there was definitely a part of me that knew that I wouldn't be able to make a decision until after Henry was born.

Flashback to December...Henry arrives, yay! Those first newborn weeks were such a blur, I honestly wasn't really thinking about anything beyond nursing and getting through the next 24 hours at that point. But around six weeks in, I felt like things got into a little more of a groove and I knew that we really needed to start thinking more seriously about the future. My company did provide some paid time off for maternity leave, and then I had elected to take some additional unpaid time off as well, with the plan being for me to return to work at the beginning of  March. However, as the weeks at home with Henry started to fly by, I definitely felt less and less sure about the idea of going back to my job. Before he was born, Cameron and I talked a lot about the possibility of me continuing to work. However, once he was here and we were watching him grow before our eyes, it definitely changed the conversation quite a bit because all the sudden it wasn't this abstract future situation we were talking about but instead it was a decision that would directly impact our everyday reality. During my maternity leave, we did some research on various childcare options and had a lot of in-depth discussions about how our day to day life would look if I continued to work vs. if I were to stay home with Henry. At the end of the day, we were both strongly in agreement that me leaving my job to stay home would be the best choice for our family right now.

And so that's what I'm doing! I'm staying home to take care of our son and I couldn't be happier about it. But wouldn't you be happy if this was your new boss?



Seriously, I'm obsessed with that boy and his dimples :)

Now, I know some of you might be wondering why I couldn't continue to do my job since I worked from home, however, that was definitely not an option. My job as a recruiter involved me being on conference calls with clients and phone interviews with candidates for the majority of the day, and it was a job that required 100% of my focus and attention. All of my colleagues that have kids had them in some sort of childcare, and so I definitely could not have tried to watch Henry and work at the same time. As soon as my mind was made up about staying home, I did let my company know (obviously) and I left on very good terms. It was tough to walk away because I really liked everyone I worked with, but they were very supportive of my decision, which made the situation much easier.

I do feel incredibly fortunate that we're able to make things work financially with Cam's job for me to be able to stay home with Henry. Granted, that's not to say that me staying home doesn't change our budget at all. However, our finances would have also been impacted if we were paying for full-time childcare as well, and so we would have had to make adjustments to our budget either way. And at the end of the day, any minor changes that we need to make to our lifestyle to go down to one income really pale in comparison to me being able to be the one who takes care of Henry each day. I already feel like he's growing so fast, and so to be able to be there each day to get to witness all of his little milestones as the months go on is truly a gift that I don't take for granted.

While I feel 100% confident about my decision, I'll admit that I'm still a little unsure how to approach it in conversation. I realize it's a sensitive subject and so if I say something like "I'm staying home because I think it's the best thing for my child" I feel like it sounds like I'm implying that other moms who are making different choices aren't doing the best thing for their kids...and that is so not how I feel at all! Every mom I know is doing the best she can and I realize that the right balance looks different for everyone. Maybe I'm being overly cautious about this, but I just want to be sensitive to my fellow mamas out there. And while I am making the choice to be home with Henry right now, I have no idea what the future will hold. Even though being a mom is my first priority, I still want to continue pursuing things I'm passionate about too. I have many different things that interest me and so I'm definitely not closing myself off from potential opportunities that may open up down the road, provided they're a good fit for our family. I feel I should also mention that I have no plans to make this blog a full-time job either; I plan on keeping it as what it's always been, a creative outlet for my own personal enjoyment. I do remain open to collaborating with individuals/brands whose vision I believe in, but as always, I'm not interested in partnering on projects that don't align who I am as a person.

So there you have it - I'm officially a SAHM...for now :) I definitely don't have things figured out by any means, but I'm just trying to take things one day at a time. I'm sure I'll be sharing more posts on this topic in the future, but if you have any specific questions you'd be interested in me posting about, please let me know in the comments! I was thinking about doing some sort of post about what a typical day looks like for us...but that's been sort of all over the place lately. And actually this past weekend, I came down with a bad cold...and then Henry got it...and then Cam got it, and as a result, this week has been extremely low-key. We're all recovering now, but being sick has definitely made me extra thankful that I'm able to have this season of being at home to fully focus on my family!



And because you made it to the end of this extremely wordy post, you get a no makeup selfie of Henry and I from this weekend when I was feeling no bueno - so thankful we're on the mend!

Have a great weekend everyone!

16 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your decision - I'm not pregnant but my hubby and I have toyed with this idea and are really unsure about how it will all pan out. Interesting to hear your perspective. Tell your new boss that I think he's cute! :D

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  2. I think you'll love being a SAHM! As with everything there will be tough days but it's really the most rewarding thing I've ever done. And I totally get why you couldn't just work from home without childcare. Kids (and babies) are time consuming and require full attention. They aren't like pets where you leave food out and go about your day! And employers deserve your 100% attention too! I think the idea of working from home while watching your child by yourself is why many companies are hesitant to allowing work at home options. And I totally get the weird feeling when you say you are doing this cause it's what's best for your family. I always worry about offending working moms as if I think what they are doing is wrong... Not at all! Every situation is different and we all need to do what's best for ourselves. But really, enjoy being home with Henry! They really grow up so fast (coming from a mom with a 2 1/2 year old)!

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  3. Glad to hear you are doing what's right for your family and you're at peace with your decision! Each situation is so different and I know a lot of moms would love to stay home with their little ones but aren't able to. I agree that maternity leave laws in the states aren't up to par. Here in Canada new mothers have up to a year off paid. But I have heard that countries like Sweden have way longer.

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  4. I loved reading through your post. I think most of the people who don't get why you really can't get all that work done at home with a baby don't have one! (I love the pet comment above!)Working from home with my son was just downright impossible for me. I'm proud to be a SAHM for now, and excited to get back into work when the time is right. right here, right now, wherever it is for each of us, is where we need to be! Xoxo Lo - traveltheunbeatenpath.com

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  5. I really appreciate you being sensitive about the topic. As a working mom, it really bothers me when people say they are staying home because it is the best thing for their child because I HAVE to work. It's really not a choice for us. And the guilt that comes with that is awful. All that to say that I REALLY appreciate how you wrote this post.

    I'm so glad you are getting to do what you feel is right for your family. You'll be a great SAHM!

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  6. Such a great post! I am so glad you get to focus on Henry and your family. I felt like that was what you really wanted to do. So happy to hear you are loving it. Let's get lunch soon!

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  7. I don't know if my post made it so I'll write it again. I'm so grateful I'm able to stay at home with Ellie. It's hard sometimes, a lot of the time, but I'm so blessed to be able to spend this time with her. I'm happy you're able to as well. I just wish yall were closer so we could have some play dates

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  8. Such an amazing post about a sensitive topic. I am glad you have the chance to stay with Henry and that decision fits you. Almost before my due date, I get a lot of question about this topic,too. I think you pointed it out well, that it is everyone own decision, as long a family can meets monthly ends. Originally from Germany, we face a complete different maternity leave structure as here. And I am glad that we can see, a slow change for maternity leave in the United States. But out of what reason, we makes our choices- every mom, working or stay at home mom is does a great job which should always be more honored. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  9. It's such a tough decision and ultimately you have to do what's right for you and your family. Glad you figured out what that was and are enjoying this time!

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  10. I'm happy for you that you get to stay home. We had to make a gradual transition for me to stay at home; although once I was pregnant, I knew that is what I wanted to do. It was so hard to be away from my son for so many hours each day when he was in daycare full-time. Now I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with our two kids, but I am transitioning to working from home part-time. I think that is a better balance for me. Every situation is different and needs change over time.

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  11. Kudos to you! Looks like you'll be enjoying some pretty adorable dimple-filled snuggles, cheers! :-)

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  12. What a blessing to have this option! Very happy for you and your family!! :)

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  13. What an inspiring and honest piece. As a fairly new SAHM too, I have found it hard to make the adjustment despite both my husband and I wanting this for our family. I have a lot of admiration for all SAHMs, but particularly those, like you, who take to it so quickly and so well. 9 months in I have been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to be a SAHM but how I also have a tendency to feel guilty about not working outside the home. Your blog has inspired me to just get on and enjoy this time and be the very best SAHM I can be. Enjoy your time!

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  14. Congrats!! That is the best job in the world! I'm only working part time and my mom watches him on days I work, which is the only way I would have it besides staying home full time. We could not do the daycare thing. Congrats on your new position! The benefits are amazing ;) ;)

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  15. congratulations!! i plan on being a SAHM for the most part too! i'll continue working part-time (as in VERY part time -- 24/hrs a month) doing graphic design consulting but other than that im incredibly grateful that i'll be able to be home with violet. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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Your sweet words make my day! :)

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