Confession time: it’s been over five years since I had an actual job. My identity has been that of a stay at home mom since my son was born over five years ago. Sure, I’ve done some freelance work now and then over the past few years, but I haven’t held a position in the workforce since I was pregnant!
I was just starting to apply for positions when I found out I was pregnant with our daughter, and at that point, I figured why bother?
I’ve been content to stay at home with my precious little snowflakes for the past five years. But truth be told – I’m not cracked out to completely be a stay at home mom. I was going just a tiny bit crazy. I was losing my sense of self, and any identity outside of ‘mom’.
Staying home day after day, or even going to play groups, and having your life completely revolve around your children is mentally straining. It’s hard work! For me, staying home meant I was constantly around these little people that I created. These little people that inherited my stubbornness, my independence, and my ability to stand up for what I believe is fair and just.
Which sounds fantastic – and it is. Most of the time.
But when you have a household filled with people with similar qualities, it can wear you down.
I love my children. I love spending time with them. I love watching them grow, their curiosity and understanding of the world around them growing bigger every day. But I needed to take a step back and let my little people gain just a tiny bit of independence away from me.
And I needed to rediscover who I am as a wife and a woman.
My son started kindergarten this past September, and I decided to start applying for jobs. I anticipated a lengthy process because I was being extraordinarily picky about the work I was applying for. If I was going to go back to work, I wanted to ensure that it was going to be a position that would not only further my career but bring me happiness and allow me to gain a sense of who I am as a person again.
I applied for a total of 5 jobs over a three-week period, and I interviewed for 2 of those.
One of the jobs, I was a little iffy about right from the beginning. During the interview, I didn’t have the best feeling about the company, and I’m sure that came across as I was answering their 952 questions.
The 2nd job, I eagerly sent in my application. I spent hours going over my resume, tweaking it so that it spoke directly for the position, and I spent even more time ensuring that it was attractive. I remember spending far too much time writing my cover letter and painstakingly editing again and again. And when I thought it was perfect, I’d edit again. I was nervous. I wanted this job more than any position I have ever wanted before.
I was shocked when I received the email asking me to complete a pre-interview assignment. I was excited. I was up late into the night working on this assignment, perfecting every little detail. And I adored every single minute of it. I was breathless, and I clicked ‘send’ to submit it. I feared rejection.
Shortly after, I received the email asking me to come to their office for an interview. I immediately went shopping. After all, it’s not appropriate to show up to a job interview in yoga pants and a baggy t-shirt! Mama needed something nice to wear!
I enjoyed the interview. I had fun. For the first time in a long time, I was able to discuss specifics regarding what I went to college for, and I had almost forgotten exactly how much I loved it.
Not long after that first interview, I was asked to come in for a second interview. I was so excited I could have danced right out of my leggings!
When I received an offer for the position, I cried.
Now, over two months later, every day that I wake up and have work to do, I look forward to it. Not many people can say that they enjoy their jobs, but I can honestly say that every day, I love what I’m doing. It’s fun and enjoyable. I’ve yet to come across an assignment or task that I don’t want to do. I have no need to procrastinate – I jump on the next task with a sense of purpose that I haven’t had in a long time.
That’s not to say that working hasn’t had it’s downfalls. It’s a logistical nightmare sometimes. We only have one vehicle. Mornings, where I have to drive my husband to work, drop my son off at school and take my daughter to daycare and myself to work, are taxing. We’re finally settling into the routine – and that took a lot longer than I thought possible.
Working has given me back my identity outside of being a mother. I’m still a mom, obviously. I look forward to spending time with my kids, and I cherish every minute that we’re together – even though I still can’t seem to use the bathroom without someone barging in!
I urge every mother to take some time for yourself. Being a mom isn’t your only identity – you’re also a wife or girlfriend, a friend, a daughter, an aunt, and a woman. Who you are is important. Ultimately, how can we teach our children to love themselves if we don’t take the time to love our self? How you choose to spend time on yourself is up to you. For me, it was getting a job. For you, it might mean taking 30 minutes a day to read a book, or have a peaceful bath, or go for a walk. It might be as simple as putting making up on and doing your hair every day. That’s up to you to decide and figure it out.
But you’re strong. You’re a woman, and girl, you got this!