On June 13, 2008 I worked my last day as a Graphic Designer. We were moving to Tampa where my husband had a job waiting; it was a big step up for his career. Our daughter was 8 months old; for her the move would mean being able to spend a lot more time with her grandparents. My personal plan was to find a job — something part-time ideally, so I could be home with our daughter more. Of course, life rarely goes as planned.
We moved into our new home by the end of that summer, my husband started work, and I was busy with the baby. A few weeks later the housing bubble finally burst, the market tanked, layoffs began, companies went under. Jobs became scarce. Realization set in … I was a stay-at-home mom.
I want to be truthful. For me, it turned out to not be an easy reality to face. I guess that surprises me a little. I know moms who work and wish they could give it all up to be home with their children, and I know moms who feel guilty NOT being able to stay home for their kids. But here’s what I’ve discovered: Motherhood does not fulfill me the way my career did; It fulfills me in a completely different way.
I love hanging with my girl! I love that I’ve been able to be there for every milestone in her young life; I have absolutely no regrets about this time I’ve had with her.
There was also an emptiness inside of me. It was surrounded by my happiness at finally becoming a mom and my love for my daughter, but it was unable to be completely filled by them, which left me feeling guilty as well. How can I not feel completely happy being a mom? Do I love my daughter less that other moms?
Redefining Personal Success
I needed to find something else that could give me a sense of personal fulfillment and accomplishment, something else I could talk about when people asked me, “So, what do you do … besides be a mom, I mean?” And being a stranger in a strange land, so to speak, I also needed a way to make friends who could replace the co-workers I no longer had.
The first step for me was to make the personal connections with others who do what I now do, so I got on MeetUp.com and joined a Moms Group. I met some great moms — stay-at-home moms like myself. Moms with kids my daughter could play with, and families my family could hang out with. Within a couple months, I was running into people who knew me. I had friends who could understand where I was coming from and what I was going though, who would encourage me and support me. I had … personal connections.
The second thing I did was to start my own blog. It could just as easily have been something else, like a craft-based business, Avon, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Thirty-One Gifts …. But I’m not particularly crafty and I’m not good at selling things, so for me it was a blog. I enjoy the process of creating something from nothing, and whenever it threatens to become boring, I can take it in exciting new directions. I enjoy the opportunity to learn new things. I enjoy being able to connect with new people, both virtually through social media, as well as in person. I enjoy being plugged-in with what’s happening in the community around me, and I enjoy the challenge.
And today, I enjoy talking with people about what I do … including being a mom!