Just a Season

We spent yesterday afternoon walking around the National Mall, popping into the Air & Space Museum and hitting up the American Indian Museum cafe for a late lunch, complete with Indian fried bread for dessert. One of my favorite aspects of Clay being stationed at Fort Belvoir is being able to live so close to our nation’s capital. As a young political science major during my undergrad years, I dreamed about being able to roam the halls of such important buildings and being a small part of the government machine in effort to help the country run just a little bit smoother. I never pictured myself staying home with children for a prolonged period of time but yet here I am, at home with a four-year-old and a six-month-old and no formal career.

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I’ve spent the past four years finishing graduate school, volunteering too many hours to count, and taking the occasional odd part-time job here and there. When asked what I do for a living, I answer, “I stay home with our kids right now” in the most confident voice I can muster and try to resist the urge to produce my transcripts and former performance evaluations as physical proof that I have attributes to offer outside of the home. It is important to note that I am choosing to stay home at this point in time with plans of returning to the workforce within the next two to three years. But as is the case with other major decisions, I wonder if I made the right choice.

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I’m not regretting choosing to stay home – in my heart it still feels right for me. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t mourn the temporary loss of my professional self and wonder if I am forever stunting my career. Additionally,Β the military lifestyle can produce some career-related obstacles due to the ordered moving around and somewhat unpredictable schedule so choosing to stay home can sometimes feel like I am shooting myself in the foot twice. I realize that this is the epitomeΒ of a first world problem and complaining about the luxury of being able to stay home is quite gag-inducing. But I’d be lying if I pretended that I am 100% confident in my choice to stay home for 5-6 years and not feel pings of jealousy as my peers advance in their careers.

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At the end of the day, I just hope that I am not selling myself short or seen to the world as taking the easy way out. I often say that I am not near as confident as I pretend to be – this is just one of the many areas where this notion rings true. And as I remind myself that this brief time is just a season, I can only hope that I am appreciating it as much as possible, because I know I’ll miss it terribly when the season finally changes.

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15 thoughts on “Just a Season

  1. jen January 21, 2014 / 10:54 am

    My friends that stayed home said they never regretted it. And I know I won’t, either, but I do feel like the time is passing and my brain is rotting at times.

    I think it’s so wonderful we are able to stay home, my Mom always tells me she wishes she could have had that chance, it just wasn’t a financial option.

    Still, I feel the same feelings you do from time to time. I think that is natural and just means you are an intelligent woman with a lot to share πŸ™‚

  2. Alexandra January 21, 2014 / 11:07 am

    I find my part-time work from home job lets me have the best of both worlds – staying home but keeping a foot in the door and keeping my resume current. My nonprofit might be hiring for positions like mine this month and I think you would be a wonderful asset to us, let me know if you’re interested.

  3. Sheena January 21, 2014 / 11:18 am

    I can’t even pretend to be confident in my role as stay at home mom, and I can’t muster more than a fake smile when I admit that I stay home and add the obligatory “I’m really lucky”. I feel that in our lifestyle, I had to give up so much to begin with in terms of my desired career, and that by the time two kids, two dogs and owning our own home rolled around I had completely lost sight of who I was 5 years ago.

    BUT

    I cling to a quote I read about a year ago: Children are not a distraction from more important work, they are the most important work.

    And I repeat it about 10x a day. I hope someday I can go a few days without having to remind myself.

  4. Meredith January 21, 2014 / 1:33 pm

    If it makes you feel better, I’ve worked my tail off the past 3 years Alaina has been alive and my career hasn’t advanced at all, pay or position wise, thanks to the state of North Carolina. πŸ™‚ We all do what we’ve got to do.

  5. jadesabre9 January 21, 2014 / 1:59 pm

    I know plenty of people who stay at home with children. It is truly a savings in terms of day care if nothing else. And I feel like if Jesse and I decide to have kids, I will be forced to make a similar decision some day. What you do at home with your kids every day is not easy work, but it is worth it!

  6. sparksse January 21, 2014 / 4:30 pm

    You are not taking the easy way out! You work so hard at your job – don’t sell yourself short!

  7. Mommy McD January 21, 2014 / 7:11 pm

    I hear you!

    To entertain myself, on school applications and whatnot, I’ve started coming up with alternate titles for “stay at home mom”.
    Circus Ringleader
    Nursery Rhyme Specialist
    Master Plate Spinner
    Quantum Food Mechanic

    That’s just a few of them.
    It’s the little things, right?

  8. laura whitefield January 21, 2014 / 8:45 pm

    I struggle with this every single day. But I also can’t fathom going back to work and having slow days, sitting at a desk, wondering what my babies were doing at that exact moment. Soon they will be old enough to go to school all day and then my chances of being a stay at home mom are forever gone. We are molding these wonderful little people, even when we are out running errands, we are teaching them SO much about our own personal morals and values and that is a very important job. Work will always be there. Our babies won’t. I’ve had so many people tell me to enjoy this time in my life because I will miss it terribly. I get it. I look at Audrey and realize I would do the exact same thing (staying home) over the last 3.5 years if I had to do it all over again. No question.

  9. Karen January 22, 2014 / 10:01 pm

    I do think that maybe 2014 will be the year of the part-time job…I just feel like I need a little something more. I am glad to know that I am not alone trying to figure out this parenthood vs. professional-self game.

  10. Briana January 23, 2014 / 2:17 pm

    Someone who would say stay-at-home moms have it “easy” has likely never been one. We work hard, from the moment they wake up until our heads hit the pillow. Every choice you make, interaction you have, everything you say and do is absorbed by little minds who are learning from you how the world works and what their place is in it. Our role is exhausting, exhilarating, humbling, and full of victories. Don’t let anyone convince you that what you’re doing is “easy.” We have the great responsibility of raising a generation, and that is very important work. πŸ™‚

  11. Angel January 28, 2014 / 9:15 pm

    Don’t worry about what others think. A mother has the toughest job in the world. YOU are shaping the minds and lives of our future. Your children are the most important things in this world. I’m so exhausted by the end of the day that I can just crawl into bed and sleep for a month. I’m by trade a Registered Nurse of many years but I left nursing for a long while after my little boy was born. I don’t feel guilty or worry about what people think. Raising my children and shaping them to be the Best they can be is the most important job in the world. Thank you for linking up with us at Wake Up Wednesday today. I’m so glad you did. Follow your heart and the rest will work itself out.
    Angel

  12. Laura @ Mice in The Kitchen January 29, 2014 / 8:58 am

    You wont regret it …I promise. I worked for so many years and had built myself to exactly where I wanted to be and then walked away to stay home with our kids. When I talk to some of the people I have worked with they have stories of work…I have stories of my kids and the crazy things they do. I get to “work” around people who love me and make a forever difference in their life. πŸ™‚

    Thanks so much for linking up with Wake up Wednesday!!

    Laura @ Mice In the Kitchen
    http://www.miceinthekitchen.com/

  13. anna January 29, 2014 / 10:38 pm

    I feel I have walked in your shoes. I too choose to be a stay at home mom and it was a truly hard choice. At first it was difficult and scary but now at the end of the day I know I made the right choice. My son is loved, happy, and my best buddy and I myself feel that I work my butt off being a full time mom. You’re on call 24/7 and never really get a break, but so worth it. I’ll never get these years back and I don’t want to miss a thing. Hugs

  14. Marie@The Interior Frugalista January 30, 2014 / 11:36 am

    Karen, you will not regret this decision, trust me I’ve been there. I remember a few days after making the decision to stay home full-time (my youngest was struggling with her health) and I was sitting on a park bench watching my kids play in the playground and crying behind my sunglasses thinking “I’m far more comfortable in a board room than I am here in this playground – how am I going to do this?” My kids are grown now and I do not for a second regret making that decision. You’ll know when it’s right to take back that part of yourself but in the meantime, remind yourself of the gift you are giving your children! Thanks for joining the party this week πŸ™‚

  15. wanderlynn February 12, 2014 / 5:10 pm

    YES! A thousand times yes, I feel this, too. Especially on days when I feel like that eye I’m supposed to have in the back of my head is defective.

    If I were at an office, I could drink a whole coffee in one sitting. I could pee without an audience. Someone would tell me I’m doing a good job.

    And then the uncertainty of not knowing what I’ll actually be marketable for when I decide to get back to it, that’s discouraging. I try to remind myself that everything I’m doing now is setting me up for something I can’t yet see. Maybe it’s naive, but it’s hope.

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