Friday was my final day of work after 12 years in a stable career. My husband and I are expecting our first baby in the next few weeks, and I know staying at home is the right decision for us, but it still feels like I just leapt off a cliff without knowing where the bottom is.
Looming ahead is the unknown world of parenthood and the loss of a great chunk of income. And we’re scared.
But I know we’re not special and our experience is not unique. And I am not the first woman to quit her job to stay home full-time; many fellow Ricochet readers have done it. Which brings me to the point of my post: to ask for wisdom from experienced stay-at-home moms.
I’ve planned my entire life to stay home when I had children, but began to get nervous a few months ago after hearing and reading some comments from other stay-at-home moms. For instance, after indirectly mentioning my plans on Facebook, an acquaintance posted a forward and surprising comment: “Don’t quit your job!! Can’t you just take a leave of absence?? It’s such a hard adjustment!!” Add to this all the piling-on about how I’ll never get a moment alone, never have time for a shower, never be able to get out of the house less than an hour behind schedule (if I get to leave the house at all), and I’m beginning to wonder whether I have anything to look forward to.
My other consideration is based on my knowledge of myself. I am a very social person, not naturally self-disciplined or a self-starter. My experience with long stretches of time at home without much of a schedule or enough social interaction has taught me that I must stay busy and engaged with the outside world in order to avoid depression. I’m one of those types that needs to get out of the house and around people. What will happen when I’m staying home full time with a baby? Am I doomed to depression or is it possible to get dressed and groomed and leave the house on a regular basis for some social interaction?
I honestly have no idea what to expect. Will I end up finding fulfillment and loving this, or will I be one of those women who rushes back to work because I can’t handle it anymore? Are there adjustments and attitudes I can adopt to maximize my chances of this being a smooth and positive transition?
I covet your wisdom.