It wasn’t easy becoming a stay-at-home mom. I remember being in college dreaming about how awesome my career was going to be. I dreamed of the big fancy promotions, leadership roles, and making a difference in the lives of others. Being a nurse was both a practical career path, as well as a rewarding one.
When I left my nursing job in the Midwest to be with my now husband in North Carolina, I think many of my peers were baffled that I would leave my growing position for a some guy in the Marine Corps. Turns out that ‘guy’ became my husband, but that’s a whole other blog post! I think many of them would be even more baffled to learn that I left nursing all together shortly after my son was born.
But here’s the kicker…
Becoming a stay-at-home mom was a no-brainer when the time came. My life as a military wife is filled with ups and downs and tons of inconsistency, and my job as a staff nurse was filled with crazy hours that made child care a strain. Between 12 hour shifts and commuting an hour each way, I was often gone for 14+ hours each day I worked. For our family it just wasn’t going to work. The stress wasn’t worth it. While the decision to become a stay-at-home mom was certainly the best decision for our family, it still took me a while to make peace with it all.
Here are 5 ways I learned to let the career go and make peace with my stay-at-home mom status:
Staying at home isn’t less important.
When I reflect on starting my career as a nurse, I often remember how I wanted to ‘help people.’ So cliché, yet so true. Well now I’m helping 3 people each and every day—my husband, my son, and myself. Because being at home makes all our lives easier and less stressful.
Life is crazy, and one stay-at-home parent offers our household a constant through all the ups and downs in our life. When my husband is away, my kids can count on me through each and every difficult moment. My husband can also count on me to manage our household and care for our kids without a worry. Years down the road, this will matter. My career will wait.
Doing something for myself matters.
Taking a day for myself is highly encouraged. I’ve said this so many times before. I’m not afraid to take some much needed time to recharge, even if it is only for a few hours. Being a full-time mom is challenging, and it’s easy to lose yourself in the midst of chaos. Taking time away matters, and it helps me feel good about the choice to stay home.
This is a short season in life.
One day my kids will walk out that door never to come back quite the same. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. You know, treasure every moment? Blah, blah, blah.
I hate to say it, but all those cheesy people might be right. These days really are so fleeting. Some days I pick up my independent toddler and hold him in my arms just like I would a baby. His arms and legs dangling well beyond my own arms, I am reminded that he is already so big.
It was only one year ago when he was nestled on my chest unable to do a single thing independently. In the future, I will look back and treasure these early years we spent together.
Work isn’t going anywhere.
In a few years or in a decade, when I decide to return to nursing, a job will be there. The work, the money, the crazy hours—all of it will still exist. There’s no need to lose sleep or wonder if I will have a fancy career again because right now my career is raising up a little boy and a sweet girl who both need me.
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