I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I always knew I wanted to be a wife and a mother, but I never really considered the parameters. I just didn’t give it any thought and figured I’d know when the time came.
When the time did come, it became evident to me that a little foresight would have gone a long way. But I was conflicted, and I wrestled with it loudly and often. I worried over my identity. I lamented my lack of balance. I feared my life would never change. Then I was concerned that if it did, I’d regret it.
I felt I was never fully anywhere. I couldn’t honestly say I only worked because I had to because there have always been aspects I really enjoyed: I have always liked making money, contributing to a team, being an expert at something, interacting in a professional setting, and getting up and putting on big girl clothes and heels. I still do.
But whereas I thought getting up and leaving my babies for 10 or more hours per day would get easier as they grew, it has not. It has gotten progressively harder. For the last couple years, we have been working toward the time when we might have options. I wasn’t sure what I would choose, just that I wanted to have a choice.
A few months ago I started a consulting firm that I can grow at my own pace. We have been looking forward to a series of dates that have scaled back my work and that, eventually, would end my day job. It never seemed to come soon enough.
And then, Daniel got an offer-- a ridiculous and generous offer. We planned to take it, until it seemed there may be another one. It's not yet resolved, but we are moving. We don’t know where, though it is most certainly somewhere south of here. We hope to have an answer in the next couple days.
Despite this uncertainty, I quit my job today. I have been a nervous wreck, because it’s not like I just quit a job to start another one. I quit my job to stay home with my children. To devote more time to being the mother I want to be.
And before I say any more, please really hear what I’m saying: I don’t think there is one right answer for everyone. I wholeheartedly don’t. There is no judgment in this decision, no feeling that everyone should someday come to this place. What there is: 100% certainty that this is the right decision for me and my family.
Today I felt nervous about letting people down. In a month, when I actually leave, I will be sad to say good-bye to a team I’ve known for five years, to a company that has been wonderful to me. I know there will come a day in the not-so-distant future when I long to get up and put on a cute dress and sit at a desk all day where all I’m expected to do is work and I can go to the bathroom (alone) whenever I please, and then they’ll pay me. I am undoubtedly going to miss the grownups. But I made a huge step today, I have thoroughly counted the cost, and I have no regrets.
One morning last week as I prepared to leave for work, Mirabella said, “I don’t want to you to go to work.”
“I know,” I said. “What if, pretty soon, I didn’t have to? What if I could stay home?”
Mirabella cocked her head to the side, “For how many days? Fifty-five?”
“Every day,” I replied.
“MORE than fifty-five days? I think that would be GREAT. When can we do that, Mom?”
It had never even occurred to her that it could be different than it’s always been. And I found great comfort in that. I have always consoled myself that my children know only me, that they do not compare me to other moms or wish things were different. They simply need my best. For the last four years, I can confidently say I have given that to them. And now I am excited, nervous and hopeful as I look toward a very different-looking future.
But I'll say to you what I said to Daniel: In this brave new world, if you see me start to wear yoga pants every day, it's time for an intervention. I mean it.