Posted by Kim K.
I can’t even say how many days since December 2003 that I felt lonely, sad or guilty as I sat at work after I had my son. For almost seven years I had good days and bad, but often I found myself thinking that I wanted to be anywhere other than where I was. I always used to think to myself, I could be home with him. As the years unfolded and I got a better job, the guilt went away temporarily — but came back fast and furious after I had my second child. Often when I was with my kids, I was thinking about deadlines, client issues and other stuff. And, when I was at work I was thinking about my kids.
I thought if I left the workplace, the lonely, sad or guilty feelings would go away. To some degree they have. But now some of those feelings have shifted to other areas in my life.
Lonely. In the past five to six weeks since I left my job, one of the things that I have missed about working is having somewhere to go. I don’t have a “place.” There is no HQ for stay-at-home moms. If there is, nobody’s sent me the memo. So I guess my new HQ is my house. I come and go and come and go. But, during the day there are only little people and dogs at my HQ. I guess the pool is the closest thing to a summer HQ, but people come and go and nobody’s on the same coming-and-going time slot. It’s just strange that I don’t have a regular place where I need to be, where people welcome me, where I make people laugh — or where they make me laugh. I knew this would be hard. It was at the top of the “con” list when I decided to quit my job. I know that everything is a trade off, but I didn’t realize how much I would really miss that aspect of working.
Sad. I have been much more happy than sad. I’d say 97 percent happy, 3 percent sad. I feel less stressed. I feel more organized. I feel in charge of my schedule/life and I don’t need to be accountable to anyone but my family. I love being with the kids, having time to exercise, not worrying about getting to baseball or gymnastics on time or forgetting at least one thing that they need and just hanging out at home reorganizing and doing projects. But I have to say that there have been a couple of days where I started thinking too much. I could have called 10 friends who would have said “stop by” but I didn’t. I actually made a call or two and then I realized that I wasn’t in the mood. I just didn’t want to talk to anyone. I had those days at work, too. I am realizing that those days just happen. No matter where you are or what you are doing, it’s human to be human.
Guilt. I have no kid guilt at all right now. It’s only taken me seven years! They are happy, I can tell, and that makes me happy. But, I (as expected) feel a little bit bad when my husband has to get up at 6 a.m. and has to be in eight different places before noon. He’s crazy busy. My biggest issue is getting school supplies at Target. My stress of deadlines and clients has faded. He told me to enjoy this time. He’s happy because I also am helping him get things in order and I am happy because I am able to give him more attention because I am not spread as thin between work and the commute and the kids. I am just used to being non-stop work, kids, work, kids, work, kids, work, kids. I am not used to the pause. It’s only been five weeks.
I guess what I am trying to say is that everything is a trade off. But I am glad I did decided to quit my job and stay home with the kids. There’s always going to be work, but my kids aren’t always going to be 4 and 6.