Was I Meant to be a Stay-at-Home-Mom?

Several months ago I got offered the work-at-home opportunity of a lifetime with a local outsourcing sales and marketing company. They asked if I wanted to work part-time from home as a digital/social media specialist.

I jumped at the opportunity knowing it would be a great chance to use my college education, feel like I am once again contributing to the outside world and give me something to do on days when I am bored out of my mind.

Not only that, but they offered me really good pay too.

But I’ll be honest with you. It’s hard to squeeze an extra 20 hours each week into an already packed stay-at-home mom schedule.

In order to minimize the effect my work has on my children, I have started waking up really early in the mornings so I can get a couple of hours of work in before they get out of bed.

I know what you’re thinking, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” I totally agree. But it’s been hard for me to convert myself from a night owl into an early bird.

Starting this job has also put a huge damper on my crafting life. I used to dream up all kinds of crazy crafts to do while my kids were having resting time. Now while they rest I’m sending emails, posting stuff to social networks and writing new content for my company.

It’s probably a good thing. I am running out of craft-display space in my modest home anyway. Not to mention I love writing and the challenge of researching new social media strategies.

But more than missing out on a few extra zzzs or some unnecessary crafting projects, this job has really made me stop and think about my stay-at-home-mom lifestyle.

I had the stay-at-home mom thing down pat. Now I have been recreating my identity as a work-at-home-mom and reconsidering my decision to leave the workplace.

Could I keep myself at home even though my foot had been placed inside the door to the working world again?

A few months ago I was thinking about being a work-at-home-mom, my career, my new job and what it meant for my family, while I was driving down to a social media seminar in Salt Lake City.

When I stepped into the college auditorium I felt the rush and excitement of learning, growing and working come flooding back to me. It reminded me of when I used to cover events as a reporter. I loved being a reporter. I loved meeting new people and writing about all kinds of interesting things.

In my mind a mental battle was brewing. I was kicking myself for my stay-at-home-mom predicament. I have always enjoyed working and feel like I am a good, hard-working employee.

While wondering if I really should have been a stay-at-home-mom, the thought came to me, “You chose to stay at home with your kids.”

It was like a light bulb turned on in my mind. No one forced me to give up my reporting career. No one fired me or told me I couldn’t do it anymore. No one kicked me out of the Deseret News building and told me to turn in my badge. I left voluntarily.

I know everyone is different and has different lifestyles, but for me staying home was my ultimate goal.

I love my new job. It’s hard to find time to do it all, but my boss is extremely flexible and understanding. She lets me work when I can — whether it’s 5 a.m. or midnight. I wouldn’t work right now if I couldn’t stay at home with my children. And it’s also very important to me that my money is just extra. I make certain we can still live on my husband’s means.

Even though it’s hard to realize sometimes, I honestly love staying at home with my boys. When I feel down about my place in the “world” and where I am in my career, I remind myself of my decision to stay at home with my children.

I consciously decided long before I married, graduated college and had my first baby, that I was going to be home with my kids no matter the cost. My mom was home with me when I was little and I wanted to be able to do that for my children.

I look at some of my colleagues who have successful and productive careers and get jealous at times. That’s when I remind myself that my little boys are only little once. No matter how many hours I were to put in at an office, it would never be able to replace the time I have been able to have with my babies at home.

Am I giving up on my career? Definitely not. For now I plan on working as the best part-time social media specialist my company could ever hope for. As the years go by and my house gets quieter I may take on more work if possible.

Do I regret leaving my reporter post to stay at home with my first son five years ago? Sometimes I think I do; it’s hard to be shut out away from the world while building blocks, coloring pictures and blowing bubbles. But then I look at my scrapbook of all of the fun things I have been able to do, see and experience with my boys and I know that my staying home has been the best thing for all of us.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Julie
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 23:30:11

    You’re one of those amazing women who would make a great mom whether you were working away, working at home, or working as a full-time mom.


    • Natalie
      Oct 14, 2011 @ 06:43:41

      Thanks Julie! That means a lot coming from you. I really do love being home with my boys. But like everything else in life, some days it’s just hard.


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