Two years. Nine months. Three Weeks. Two days. That’s how long I held the title of Stay-at-Home-Mom. I fully intended to keep it for at least another year or two…or five. Following my “plan,” my son would likely be in First Grade before I considered full-time employment.
And then… God intervened and laughed at my “plan,” as He often does.
I saw a job description that looked like it was literally written with me in mind. Within weeks, the job was mine! So, now what? Would my son be ready for school? Would he stay with grandma? I’ve been home with him since birth. How could I go more than nine hours without seeing him? How would he nap without me? How could I let someone else care for him ALL DAY!? These questions flooded me.
My husband and I decided this was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Not only was I excited about the job but, there is a wonderful school close by. We enrolled our son into their Pre-K 2 program, prayed a lot, and gave it try! So, here we are, more than two months later. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road, but I feel like we zoomed right over them.
I realize every family, every mom, and every child is different. But, if you’re ready to head back to an outside-of-the-house job, here are five things I’m keeping in mind as we make this BIG transition:
1) Expect Different– As a SAHM, I have a certain way I do things for my son. I cut up his half sandwich in to 8 bite size parts (excessive?). I let him linger in our bed watching a show in the mornings. I linger with him. Now, I certainly have no time to linger. And guess what? Turns out my nearly 3 year old child is somewhat flexible (most mornings). We do things differently now and different is OK.
2) Ask for Back Up– I have a great support team with my husband and my mother-in-law. My husband takes over in the mornings and gets our child out the door. When he needs back up, my mother-in-law steps in. Your support team might be a neighbor or friend who can help you with pick up or drop off or maybe it’s the staff at Luby’s who gets dinner on the table. Either way, support has been key. This leads me to my next point.
3) Relinquish the Need for 24/7 Control– As a SAHM, I knew every detail of every second of my son’s day. Now, I get reports from his teacher, my husband, and my mother-in-law. At times, this has been VERY HARD. But, my son is thriving. As much as this is an opportunity for me, this is an opportunity for him. We are expanding his little world and he just loves it!
4) Give it a Fair Try– I have felt sad, guilty, and uncertain at times. But, then I remember all the good that has come out of my decision to return to work. The first few weeks were a rollercoaster. We stuck it out and now, we are in a new routine that is actually working! If you’re in doubt at the beginning, give it some time. Don’t give up too soon.
5) Talk to other moms– They are full of great advice and tips on how to juggle it all. They also reassure me that sometimes you just have to let the laundry wait another day and give yourself a pass.
I know not everyone can choose to work or stay home with their children on a whim. Not every child is ready to be thrust into a different care situation. But, if you find yourself, like me, making the transition from stay-at-home-mommy to working mommy or thinking about it, I want to encourage you! Everyone will be fine and you’ll get to sit down and eat lunch, like for an entire hour.