Figuring out a career after being a stay-at-home mom for many years

As many of you know, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for almost 8 years and have found myself in a position now at 39 needing to start completely over and build a new life for me and my two boys. The thought of going back to work after all this time, on top of everything else I have been dealing with, has been completely overwhelming. If I’m being completely honest, it’s terrifying and something I really don’t want to be forced to do. Not because I don’t want to work, I want more than anything to bring a steady income in and provide for my boys. For years I’ve been dependent on someone else financially that has treated me like a child. I can’t wait to be financially free from his grasp. But I LOVE being home with my babies. Raising my sons is extremely challenging, but I love being their person all day long. I love seeing them grow and help mold them into tiny, amazing humans. I fear all those moments I will be missing. I know so many moms are working moms, and I know that day will soon be mine, but change is scary. New beginnings, especially when it’s not what you had ever envisioned are not without a lot of doubt, fear, and anxiety. 

Give yourself grace

I turned down an opportunity this week for a short-term job, and I was really beating myself up about my decision. When this opportunity was presented to me and after not only interviewing for the first time in 10 years but also being offered the job, it seemed like a no brainer to say yes. I need the income desperately. The anxiety I have on a daily basis of starting over with no funds causes me great stress. So of course, I had to say yes to the first job opportunity I was offered. It’s called being a responsible parent, right? The day I accepted the job we all came down with covid and it hit us hard. First my 7-year-old was the sickest I’ve ever seen him and then on top of feeling like crap myself, my 22-month-old became very ill, so ill that I began to think something was seriously wrong with him. He became violent and distraught in pain and the thought of leaving him in a few days became extremely worrisome. I began having second doubts. 

It wasn’t until a highschool friend I’ve reconnected with had a heart to heart with me that I realized that I had to turn it down. She told me, “Now is your time to be selfish. You spent way too long making others happy. You are in charge of your life and all the paths have different pros and cons. It’s your time to thrive and show your boys what life is all about.” You see, I’ve spent the majority of my adult life chasing someone else’s dreams. I’ve spent the last 5 years making someone else, on top of the selflessness that comes with being a mom, my priority. When I graduated college, I was madly in love. I followed who I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with across the country, because it was his dream, and I was wrapped up in the idea of finally finding what I thought was my forever person. The next 16 years became about him, his career, his timeline for our life, and eventually all the dreams I once had aside from being a mom slowly vanished. Which was ok, because being a Mom was my biggest dream of all, and bringing my two babies into the world was a very scary and difficult experience. Being with them made everything else feel right. With them was where I needed to be. But when he began to manipulate me and abuse me, I began to be left with the scary thought of what the hell will I do if I have to leave him. I suddenly began to question all the possible dreams I would have followed had I not met him so many years ago. 

I’m a firm believer that you can’t go back and question all the “what ifs” in life. Am I where I want to be in life right now? No, not one bit even close. Am I angry at all the time I wasted trying to help him get help? Yes. But do I entirely regret the last 18 years of my life? No. I got the two most amazing little boys out of that life. My boys are my whole heart and I’ve quickly realized that life gave me two little boys to challenge me with raising them into kindhearted men, men that know how to treat women right. I’ve grown so much over the past 18 years, the challenges I’ve overcome have made me into an incredibly strong mom. If I had chosen differently all those years ago, I wouldn’t be a mom to the most amazing boys I could have ever dreamed of. 

But after listening to my friend, I have been quickly reminded that now is my time to figure out what I want to do with my life. I don’t need to feel pressured by life into choosing a job that I know won’t bring me joy.  I’m smart, driven, determined, passionate, and I will have other opportunities. Opportunities that will bring me inspiration, opportunities that will make me want to work and will show my boys that mommy doesn’t settle. I’m allowed to give myself more time to figure it out, and I will figure it out in time. So, for now, I’m holding my youngest extra tight these days, and reminding myself that right now, cuddling him close, this is where I’m meant to be. 

hold your babies tight

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