From the moment my son was placed in my arms, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else than with him. Being a stay-at-home mom has been, by far, the best job title I have ever held. It’s allowed me to be there to witness all his “firsts,” because I am around ALL.THE.TIME.
But I’m terrified about what happens next.
Where does it leave me, when my child will turn to a teacher to help them tie their shoe, answer the many questions he comes up with throughout the day, or for comfort when he falls and scraps his knee. Since becoming a mom, my identity has been defined by my ability to take care of my child.
Before my son was born, I was someone who had dreams and aspirations. I wanted to leave my mark on this world. I have devoted so much of myself to my son that I am not sure who I am without him. How do you go back and basically start over? I have a college degree that I have never used because the same week I graduated, I also became a stay-at-home mom. I will have a very long break in my employment history. My absence can be explained but what I have missed out on the last few years? Will I need to now play catch-up?
I’m worried that I will be lost, that I won’t be able to let go. The woman I was won’t miraculously reappear and things can just pick up where they left off. The more I think about this, the more I realize that as much as I want to focus all my energy on my son, for my sake I need to start focusing on myself as well.
I’m hoping to use this time away from “work” (I use quotes because let’s be real, parenting is HARD WORK) to rediscover myself and what I truly want. I feel like so much of me has changed since becoming a mom that I’m not passionate about the same things I once was, and I remind myself that it’s OK! Change is inevitable.
While I can sit back and worry about the future, I am choosing to embrace this unknown adventure instead.
- Volunteer your time
- While you may not be adding any work experience to your resume as a stay-at-home mom, volunteering gives you an opportunity to add SOMETHING to keep it current. There are so many different types of organizations that accept volunteers that anyone should be able to find an opportunity to fit their interests. This also can give you a chance to explore different fields that you may not have considered ever looking for a career in.
- Network. Make connections
- This one is big. Get out and meet people. I know, it’s super intimidating and can be a bit scary but step outside of your comfort zone and make it happen. It’s said that sometimes it’s not what you know, but WHO you know. Not only will you be making friends, that once in a lifetime opportunity may be right there, with the sister of a friend, or a friend of a friend, etc.
- Date yourself
- Do things that you like to do, not things you think your significant other or kids may like. Things YOU like. This could be as simple as reading a book or as crazy as skydiving or scuba diving. Take a class or learn a new skill. Who knows, you may be the next Julia Childs and have no idea.
Viewing this phase of at-home Mommyhood as an opportunity for growth and development rather than being defined by my isolation with my son has helped ease that apprehension of the “what comes next” question. And when this time is over? We’ll be on to the next grand adventure that will turn my world upside down all over again.