I Quit!

Tomorrow I will embark on the second retirement of my professional career. I am quitting my job as a digital/social media specialist for MarketStar.

Why, you may ask, am I quitting a part-time job that pays me really well to work at home from my living room couch? Because despite my every effort to minimize the impact my job has had on my family, it has made a difference in our lives. Mostly mine.

If any mom tells you that starting a job — even if it is part-time from home — had no impact on them or their family, they are either lying or superwoman.

I’m not saying starting a job creates a negative impact, but it definitely changes things.

You can’t possibly toss another juggling ball up in the air without the risk of dropping one or two others you are already juggling. You may want to juggle them all, but won’t have the focus to do so.

For me tossing the work-at-home ball into the air caused me to drop two others — the sleep and personal-time balls.

I have worked hard during the past 15 months to get up long before my children to put half of my daily work hours in before they woke up. That meant they didn’t even know I was working. It also meant I had to go to bed early or fight to stay awake during the afternoon hours — especially during the past 7 months.

I would put my other two to two and a half hours of work in during the afternoon while my oldest was at school and my three-year-old napped. That also meant that they didn’t know I was working. But it left me with virtually no personal time to do anything I wanted like reading, crafting, watching TV or even cleaning.

Not to mention the fact that when you have to get a babysitter one or two times a week for work (even though I worked at home there were meetings and events I was required to attend in-person) who wants to get another sitter for girls-night-out or date night?

Sounds selfish right? It probably is.

I’m burned out so I am throwing in the towel. Summer vacation is quickly approaching and my three-year-old no longer wants to take naps. It’s an ideal time to quit.

I like my job. It is easy and rewarding. I have always enjoyed working, but finding and squeezing in an extra four hours of professional work each day so I can bring in some extra bucks has turned out not to be worth it for me.

It has caused me to focus on things I don’t want to.

Besides I am sure my life will complicate when I bring home a new little baby this summer. I want to be able to give him, and my older two boys, my best. I have always wanted to stay at home with my little kids and I don’t want to take them for granted.

I am sure there will be times when I regret my decision to leave — like the first Friday I don’t get a pay check, or the first afternoon that I am bored out of my mind wondering what to do with myself. But for now I just feel lucky I have the option to quit. Some moms don’t.

But either way, in my opinion, everyone has to decide for themselves which balls they are willing to juggle and which ones they might have to let drop.

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.

Career Mama

I graduated at the top of my class after serving as editor of my college newspaper and earning several journalism awards. I landed an internship at my favorite daily newspaper and was offered a full-time reporter position when the internship ended.

I was living my dream.

Then what did I do? I quit about a year later. I was pregnant with my first son and knew deep down I wanted to stay home to raise my children. I just didn’t know how hard that would be.

This year I will celebrate my fifth anniversary of stay-at-home-momhood, and I couldn’t let another year go by without writing something. But what should I write?

I’ve heard people say that to be a good writer you have to write what you know. What you experience. What do I know? Well, I no longer cover court, attend city council meetings or ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking ceremonies. I don’t have access to behind-the-scene parties or high-profile interviews. I’ve turned in my press pass and therefore my front-row ticket to exciting, news-breaking drama.

So what do I do now? I wipe boogers off the wall — boogers that have been meticulously placed in low-profile areas by my four-year-old son. And I’m getting pretty good at it.

Yet I know I am not the only mother doing this.

That is why I am starting this blog. I am going to write about the joys, headaches, heartaches, drama and ordinary excitement that come with being a stay-at-home mom. Hopefully other mothers will laugh and cry as they relate to my experiences as a wannabe perfect housewife.

Call it a personal rant, call it a therapeutic writing session, whatever it is it’s going to be good. If nothing else, it will be a great way to document my laughable failures and occasional triumphs of motherhood. Enjoy!

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