It isn’t easy to leave a professional career that you worked so hard to build to be a stay at home mom. There’s an internal struggle that is really hard to shake once you make that transition.
This can last for years until you finally settle into your own identity during this new season of life. You may be struggling with all 4, or maybe just 1 or 2. Either way, the battle is real. I hope to give you some real solutions to help you get past each of these and start to see the wonderful blessing of the choice you’ve made.
1. When you meet new people your natural inclination is to introduce yourself as the title on your old business card instead of calling yourself a mom. You don’t intentionally do this, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone asks you “what do you do?” You wonder if you should say you’re a mom or go into an exhaustive list of what you previously did 3, 5, or 10 years ago. It was an important part of your life that has molded you into who you are today.
I mean, if someone really wants to know what I do, I could say that I remove dirt from little toes, make multiple meals for hungry mouths, sweep the floor so dog hair doesn’t get on every piece of clothing, and chauffeur children back and forth to school daily… the list could go on and on! But really, when someone asks me “what I do”, no one is asking to hear about this list! I get funny looks every time I honestly answer this question. I get the “whoa, I didn’t want to know all of that” look.
This is an internal struggle that can linger for quite some time. What’s the solution? Call yourself whatever you want, but don’t feel the need to justify what you do or used to do. You aren’t only mom and you aren’t only ______ [enter your business card title]. You are many things to many different people.
Be okay with you are at this very moment. Who you are doesn’t matter to anyone but the Creator himself. You’re identity lies in who God made you to be over the span of your life. You’re an awesome woman with many gifts and talents that bless your family and those around you. Take joy in that!
2. Every day when your husband comes home you ask him how his work day went and offer to let him borrow your skills and maybe help in some way. Let’s be real. Your husband doesn’t need your help. You just want to feel like you’re accomplishing something, even though cooking every meal for your kids and changing every poopy diaper is absolutely necessary and important. You and I know that the alternative would have devastating consequences. Right?
Let’s face the facts. You miss the working world.
This is when you have to remind yourself of WHY you made the choice to stay home. It will be different for each person, but for myself it’s so that I can be home to raise my kids and be present for every new moment.
I realize that not everyone has the option to do this. For those of you who made the decision to be at home because you had this option, remind yourself daily that this is a blessing. We must keep this at the forefront of our minds when the kids are arguing with each other, refusing to eat dinner because there is a speck of pepper on their chicken, and their vocabulary is made of the word “no” or “that’s not fair” more than the words “I love you mommy.”
3. You’ll volunteer for any task, role, or committee so that you have something to do other than cleaning, laundry, making dinner, and changing diapers. Although you don’t know where you’ll find the time to do it, you’ll still jump on the opportunity, say “yes,” and determine to find a way to get out of the house.
The positive side of this is that it gives you adult interaction and something to focus on outside of the job you do at home. The negative side of this is that you can fill your schedule with so many things that it leaves you exhausted with no energy to give back to your kids or husband.
This is where boundaries and good time management skills come into play. If you feel like you need to be part of something that is separate than what you do with your kids, that’s okay. It’s very healthy! But, you have to know your limits or else you won’t be any good to anyone else around you. The physical and mental health of yourself and your family should always come first!
If you work hard to create a good (I said “good,” not “perfect”) family and self-care balance, then you’ll surely be free to take on some of these extra fun things at the right time. Heck, you may even start a business from home with the awesome skills, knowledge, and talents you have!
4. You’ll leave the vacuum out not because you want your husband to know you actually spent time cleaning the house when it looks like you didn’t, but because you just want to be recognized and hear a “good job.” Recognition is something that you were used to getting at your job before you had kids. You may have had a review every 6 months where your boss told you how great of an employee you were, or you received some really great perks like expensive dinners and yearly bonuses. You don’t see any of that anymore, and it makes you sad. It can make me sad too if I don’t do these 2 things.
First, intentionally do something to remind yourself of the impact you’re making at home. Being at your home is about serving your family and loving them through your actions. Every time you do something for your kids or husband, you are sacrificially giving of yourself and your time. It’s easy to become resentful and callous, but sometimes we forget about the significance and importance of what we are giving. You are building a loving home and atmosphere for learning, growing, and teaching your family.
Second, tell your husband you need to be rewarded and recognized somehow. Maybe it’s a movie night out every other week with a friend, or getting to buy that new purse you want. Perhaps it’s a special dinner at home after the kids go to sleep or a date night with your hubby. Just tell him that you want to be made to feel special.
On that note, everyone receives that special feeling in a different way. If you haven’t read the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I highly recommend getting it for you and your spouse. If he’s trying to show you appreciation but you don’t quite feel it, it could be because he’s not speaking to you in your “love language.” This book will help your communication tremendously!
It’s been 5 years since I had my first child and I still battle with each of the 4 internal struggles that are listed. Will they go away? I’m sure they will at some point. I’ve seen each one diminish over the years as I’ve learned how to put life into perspective, count my blessings, and lean on the God who created every unique part of my being.
If you’re currently looking for a way to use your skills and passion at home, watch our 4-part video series on How to Manage Your Time so you find the time you need to build a business from home.