This time last year I was a working mom. I loved my job.
I loved my coworkers. I loved my students. I loved teaching. I loved working in a profession I felt proud of. I loved going to work and seeing some of the closest friends I have ever had. I loved my work schedule, too. I was fortunate to have my two boys (then, 5 and 3 years old) watched by my mom, my husband and sometimes my mother-in-law while I was at work. I really couldn’t have had a better setup for a working mom.
But I was also 9 months pregnant with my third child.
My husband and I tossed around the idea of me staying home after the third child was born. We were in the right place financially. And probably at an OK time for me to put my career on hold. But I had trouble picturing myself staying at home full time. This profession I had been so passionate about was me. It defined a large part of who I am. I’m Fallon and I’m a pharmacist. I’m also a mom. This mom role had taken hold of me in ways I didn’t know were possible.
How could I step back from that other part of me? How could I step back from the career I had put so much money, time, and effort into? Such a huge piece of who I am. I just couldn’t picture it.
I had very few stay-at-home mom (SAHM) friends. And my closest SAHM friend was going to be moving 2 hours away. I felt like I would be alone. Just me and my little crew, but adult alone. I knew being with the kids every single day would not be easy. And it may be the hardest job I’ve taken on so far. I loved my days with them but often welcomed my days at work. I didn’t want to make a decision until our third baby was here.
And then, she was here. What a bundle of light and joy! Yet still, I wanted to give this huge life decision more time. Let me take a few weeks with having three kids and try to finalize my decision. Do I stay home with them while they are young, precious and super moldable or continue on with the job I love?
I had always heard that if you take time off from work to be with your kids, you would never regret it.
And, in general, I don’t regret things that I do anyway. I knew I would miss my old self. But I also finally came to realize that staying at home is something I need to try. Change is often scary, but I had to give this a hard effort and see where it took me and my family. My husband was supporting this decision. My mom, who had been watching my children for us for over 5 years, was also a supporter, even when she knew she’d have less time with them. She knew I needed this time, too.
So, I called my boss to tell her I would not be coming back. I cried. Yep, I cried on the phone with her. She was surprised I wouldn’t be returning but also understanding and supportive. I appreciated her words on the phone that day. She helped me get through that moment. I still appreciate her words today.
It has now been almost a year since I’ve been home full time with my kids. My husband and I said we would take it a day or a week or a month or a year at a time. I’m still here. To my surprise, I want to stay here for a while.
I love being home with my children.
My days are not measured the same as they were when I worked. I don’t look at the day thinking of how many lectures I taught, emails I sent, meetings I attended, students I met with, patients with diabetes I educated, or exam questions I wrote. Time goes by differently and more chaotically but mostly beautifully. I used to be such an organized person, but I find that I go more with the flow now. Because, well, I just have to! If I didn’t, I would drive myself crazy never finishing my to-do list. Because it is NEVER finished!
My days are hard to measure now.
Sure, I can do dishes, make some phone calls, run errands, do the laundry, but it’s so much more than that. It’s taking the time to help my baby fall asleep or play with her on the floor, help my 6-year-old get excited about an upcoming event or cope with a disappointment, help my 4-year-old learn to deal with his emotions and treat his baby sister with love…the list could go on and on.
I’m not perfect at all this. I lose my patience at times, but I also learn about myself in the process.
I have found that I need more breaks for myself. This took too long to make happen, but it is happening now! I have rediscovered some things that I love – like photography, writing, running, and music. My relationship with my husband has shifted because I see him more often and he’s the primary adult I talk to. But we are learning new and even better ways to communicate because of this. My relationship with my mom has been shifted wonderfully, and she is now more the grandma than a primary caregiver, which I think she thoroughly enjoys.
I still keep in contact with some close friends from my teaching job. It’s hard to find time to see each other, but they will always be an important part of my life. I have made a few stay-at-home mom friends, but I mostly just hang out with my little crew of three and that’s usually just enough for me.
Overall, our family seems to feel more balanced in such a chaotic time in our lives with three young children. Every day is not perfect but we learn and grow together. I am never bored. Ever! (Man, sometimes I wish I was bored!)
I never pictured myself staying at home. I always loved learning, working, and feeling challenged. Now, I am challenged in other ways as I balance a family of five.
As our children grow, life continually shifts and changes. I am learning at every new turn in our family’s story. I’m not sure what the future holds or when I will return to work, but we continue to take it day by day and year by year. I could not ask for more at this special time in our lives. I’m looking forward to continuing my journey as a stay-at-home mom as long as we feel it’s best for the whole family. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.