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

The Legal Headaches of Divorce

When you’re thinking about getting a divorce, you think about the emotional turmoil it’s going to cause you, and the lifestyle changes for you and your kids, but you don’t realize the amount of time and stress you will spend on legal documents. Not to mention the crazy amount of money every text, email, phone call, and documents ends up costing you.

I just finished once again working through another deadline. I feel like I’m constantly buried in paperwork, scrambling to find the time with two little kids to fill out yet another document.  I swear, going through a divorce, even with having a lawyer is like having a full time job. Granted, my situation is a lot more complicated than some, but it’s so unbelievably stressful going through all this. Not to mention all the time on Google you spend trying to understand all legal verbiage. I think by the time I’m done, I will have learned enough to be a paralegal, lol. 

I feel incredibly blessed to have an amazing brother and mother that are helping me with my legal fees. There is no way I could have gotten a lawyer without their help. My ex has left me and my boys with nothing. My heart breaks for all the women out there that are living in similar shoes, that stayed far too long in a horrible situation due to financial reasons. 

It’s so scary and difficult to leave when you’ve been financially abused and a stay at home mom for so long. There should be more financial resources available for women out there needing legal representation. Perhaps there is, and I’m just not aware. I’ve connected with so many others walking similar paths to mine over the past couple years and it maddens me how hard society has made it for women and moms feeling scared and trapped to start over. 

Change needs to happen. These issues need to be talked about more. Victims of abuse need to have more avenues of help. 

For all you women out there giong through this with me right now, I feel for you. For all you women out there trying to come up with a plan to get out….I feel for you. You are not alone in this, even though I know it feels that way. 

If you are going through divorce, a victim of abuse, or have lived with someone who suffers from mental illness, I would love to collaborate with you to let your voice be heard. I know it’s scary to share your story, but if you are suffering from any kind of abuse, I guarantee someone else out there needs to hear it. We can make the post anonymous. Too often are we silenced in an abusive relationship. Let me help you state your truth.

Taking off my Wedding Rings 

It is such a weird feeling to take off something that has been a part of your hand for almost 8 years. And to be honest, it took me weeks after I left to finally take them off. I felt naked without my rings, some days I still do. I still remember the day I finally got engaged, I had been patiently waiting for 8 years for my now ex to put a ring on it. It was a week before Christmas. We always celebrated our Christmas a week early as we traveled to see family the actual week of Christmas. And there in the bottom of my stocking was a little black box. And when I opened it, I thought all my dreams had finally come true.  I remember that moment all so clearly, as well as the day we stood up and said, “I DO.” 

wedding rings

I pulled them out for the first time in 3 months today. They’ve been sitting in a box, in my nightstand drawer, and the tears immediately started pouring out. 

What to do with them… Sell them? I desperately need the money.  Keep them in a box? That makes me feel like I’m not moving on. Turn them into something else? Not sure what I would turn them into. Wear my wedding band on the other hand as a statement ring? I purchased the band myself. He didn’t think I needed one that fancy. RED FLAG. 

For now, I’m putting them back in the box, and reminding myself it’s ok to give my heart some more time. One moment, one day at a time. 

Accepting Divorce

DIVORCE. The seven-letter word I never thought would become my story. When I was a little girl I dreamed of meeting that forever man, creating a family together, chasing our dreams as a united team.

When you’re growing up you always think of these big life dreams. Having a family, building a home, going through life together. This was always my dream. All I ever thought I wanted in life was to get married, become a mom and have a family.

I can’t tell you the amount of times over the past five years I thought about divorce, finding myself thinking, this can’t be how it’s supposed to be. But accepting that reality, accepting that the man I fell in love with was no longer that same man, was an entire different story. I asked myself hundreds of times… Is it harder to stay? Or is it harder to leave? And still, it took a life alternating night for me and my sons to finally say ENOUGH.

For the past five years I’ve been trying to help someone that clearly doesn’t want help and for the first time in 17 years I’m choosing me. I’m choosing to put my own mental health first. And it’s hard. It was hard to stay, and it’s been hard to leave.

It’s easy to look from the outside in and judge someone’s situation. It’s easy to look at someone’s life when you’re not living in their shoes and ask yourself why they are still there. Everyone’s story is their own. Everyone’s journey to divorce or deciding to stay is their own. If you’re finding yourself asking, should I stay or should I go, know you’re not alone. It’s only your choice to make, your choice to say when enough is enough.

You’re not alone.