True Life :: My Job Made Me a Bad Parent

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This post is part of a series called the True Life Series, where we share stories written by Milwaukee area moms, but posted anonymously. By and large, these stories are more sensitive in nature or cover topics that may be triggers for some readers. Publishing the piece does not suggest an endorsement by MKE Moms Blog.

However, we want to give these writers the chance to share their stories in a safe space, in the hopes that someone else might resonate and realize they are not alone. Topics in the True Life Series are likely to draw a lot of opinions, but we want to be clear that, out of respect for the writers of these pieces, we will be monitoring comments carefully and deleting anything that is shaming, hurtful, derogatory or otherwise abusive. 

working parent

My Job Made Me a Bad Parent

Just a few weeks ago, I made a very important career move. It all began after I was left with 2 options at my previous employer: 1. watch my job get restructured out of the department and risk unemployment by reapplying to a new role or 2. take a role I was not thrilled about and keep working. Like most families with working parents, we couldn’t afford my sudden unemployment.

So I pulled up my big girl pants and I took the guaranteed job.

After less than a month in the new role, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stay. Despite having wonderful coworkers, the work itself was no longer challenging and I wasn’t busy enough most days. I began to resent the decision-makers that landed me here and with little to keep me busy, I was frustrated I wasn’t feeling challenged or that my I was fully utilizing my skill-set. I knew I had to move on for my sanity and my personal fulfillment. 

As it turns out, I was bringing my misery at work home with me. I didn’t realize how much of a toll my job was taking on my mental health. Most days, I came home dreading the responsibilities waiting for me. I was often irritable and anxious. I yelled at my kids a lot and on occasion, at my husband too. My daughter may have learned the proper use of the word “damn” from me during this time. Binge-eating snacks and fast food was back in my life after years of breaking the habit. And most concerning were the nights I often went to bed with anxiety-induced heart palpitations. In short, I was a mess!

Fast forward to 2 months later and I know I made the right move. I landed a new position doing something I have always dreamed of doing with communities in which I could actually make an impact. I have a fantastic team of colleagues and the work is both challenging and inspiring. Since making my professional transition, my life has made a complete turnaround. Now, I find myself growing more affectionate and actually enjoying my time with my kids again. I have yelled a WHOLE lot less and hugged a WHOLE lot more. And best of all, the work I am doing is so important to me that I practically jump out of bed every morning, ready to take on another day.

I never thought I could be a better parent if I had a job I loved. I always believed that parenting and work were mutually exclusive. In reality, 40-60 hours a week away from your children and loved ones is a big sacrifice. If I’ve learned anything throughout this experience, it’s that feeling stuck professionally is not just a problem at work. It trickles into all aspects of your life and can deprive you of your joy and ability to make healthful choices.

It’s too early to say if I have turned things around for good but it was the best first step I could take to ensure I’m never that miserable again.

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