Three years ago, I left my position as a corporate graphic designer to stay at home with our son full-time. That was one of the most stressful and pivotal decisions of my life. It was a leap of faith and many doubts and fears crossed my mind.
Fast forward to three years later and here I am, alive and well! I am still working as a full-time mom with two busy boys in tow and part-time as a graphic designer and blogger. Huh, yeah, I really didn't think my "hobby blog" would grow into a part-time sorta thing!
Reflecting on my journey as a full-time mom, here are the fears and doubts that tried to paralyze me and then what really happened:
Will I be bored staying at home?Nope. Nunca. Boredom has never been a problem because there is always something to do or that should be done. Now the question is... do I really want to do the thing that needs to be done? Confession: I tend to procrastinate putting away the laundry.
Running around outside, cooking, playdates, reading books, chores, and the nap-time crunch of design projects, writing, or reading keep things quite entertaining. What do I do all day? My brain is too tired to recall. I can make a list for you tomorrow though :)
Will I waste my degree by staying at home with my kids?Not for one second would I consider caring for my children and serving my family a waste of anything! Having a degree in graphic design has been handy because I am able to do freelance work from home.
Plus, spending time with little people is quite intellectually stimulating in itself! Our 3-year-old puts me to the test with his insightful questions, especially when it comes to theology and faith in Jesus. Honestly, I have learned so much from our children!
Will I miss out on adult interaction?Well, if you never leave the house, you likely will miss out on adult interaction. This was a big fear of mine because I was surrounded with adult-persons all day at my office job. Transitioning to a full-time at-home mom wasn't as painful as I expected because the kids and I visit with adults on a daily basis.
Whether it's meeting with friends, talking with neighbors, fellowship with our church family, or small-talk at the library or grocery store, there are plenty of opportunities for adult interaction. The key is putting yourself out there, especially when you're a new face in town. It's hard and at times awkward, but someone has to start the conversation!
How will we live on one income?This was the #1 question I received when it was announced I was leaving my job. Living on one income requires living within your means, thinking on a budget, being debt-free (or at least moving in that direction), and trusting God's faithful provision.
Is it enough to be "just" a mom?Simple answer: Yes. It's a blessed and wonderfully calling. Being a mom is the most important ministry opportunity that I will ever have!
Some moms choose to dabble in a side business (i.e. selling books, tupperware, nail decals, etc.) or to work a part-time job. I design and blog part-time because it is an enjoyable creative outlet for me and a chance to make a little extra income. It certainly doesn't give me more value as a person. Being "just" a mom is enough. Being a child of God is enough!
Will my house finally be clean when I stay at home?If you have children that are capable of moving themselves, NO. While sitting at my desk pondering the future as a stay-at-home mom, I pictured my house neat and tidy with meals always ready to go and Pinterest-worthy.
So maybe my vision of staying at home was a bit off. A little, a lot. When our oldest was in daycare and I was working out of the home, we left the house in the morning and nothing moved until we came home. Now, with two toddlers in the house, a clean house turns into a battlefield in a matter of minutes. They leave what I call "snail trails" of debris behind them. Thankfully, the 3-year-old is becoming more responsible and helps clean up. One-year-old... not so much.
How will my kids learn to socialize?This is similar to the adult interaction question. Though I will say that parental interaction counts as socialization, assuming the parent actually interacts with the child. Children's social skills grow greatly as they live daily life in the home, out of the home, at the playground, at the store, visiting friends, so on. Socializing is everywhere IF you put yourself in social situations.
And then there are siblings where "teachable moments" naturally abound. Numerous times a day our toddlers are learning lessons about sharing. Sharing mommy, sharing toys, sharing food, sharing the dog, sharing a bedroom, sharing paper, sharing an empty milk jug. Who knew a one-year-old could torment his older brother so well!
Will I be able to return to the "professional world" someday?Just before resigning from my job, this question came to mind. I had just received a raise, I enjoyed what I did and most of my coworkers. My job was comfortable. "Will anyone ever hire me again?" I chose to trust God's plan, knowing that when He wants me to return to working out-of-the-home, He will open the doors necessary.
Trust is a scary thing but if anyone is to be trusted, it's Him.
What if I don't like being a full-time mom?After only one week of maternity leave, I was a hot mess. I didn't like staying at home with our son because I felt trapped and lonely. Blame it on the postpartum hormone rollercoaster perhaps, or the shock of being a parent for the first time ever.
Thanks to the encouraging advice of a couple veteran moms, I took it one day at a time with my teeny tiny newborn. I went into maternity leave in tears over being stuck at home but, when my leave ended, I was in tears dropping him off at daycare for the first time. They say you get used to being away from your kids all day but I knew I didn't want to get used to that.
It took time to adjust to staying at home with my son and when I resigned from my job I was ecstatic to spend my days with our little boy again. The days with our two boys are exhausting and some are easier than others, but I wouldn't trade this for the world. These little people grow up too quickly and I don't want to miss a thing.
How I have changed...When I compare myself three years ago to myself now, I know that being a full-time mom has greatly changed me for the better. Marriage, child-raising, and life in general is a sanctifying process.
I have fallen in love with literature. I'm sure I have read more books in these past three years than in my entire life combined, whether it be "Little House on the Prairie" for the kids or Charlotte Mason's philosophy on education for my own personal learning. I have written more than ever before and, this blog!, it's been an opportunity that God placed in front of me. This certainly wasn't on my radar!
I have rediscovered the peace of playing piano. And the absolute hilariousness of our "family band". Daddy and E on their guitars, Mom on the piano, and Wes playing the drums (two pencils and a tupperware container).
The kids are teaching me to slow down and appreciate the little things. Watch the clouds float by. Follow an ant down the sidewalk. Set out on imaginary hunting excursions. Practice our skateboard tricks. Name the colors in the sunrise.
Being a full-time mom has grown in me a love for learning, it has taught me to appreciate the moments that really matter, and it has strengthened my walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Three years ago, I left my comfort zone because of the Lord's prompting and He has proven to be ever faithful. He always has been, always will be, no matter what the future will bring.
"Life's Sunset Moments are glorious, rejuvenating, and gratifying to behold - but when I'm caught up in daily distractions, they are so carelessly missed." - Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free MamaLinking up with Mommy Moments and Titus 2 Tuesdays.