Dear SAHMs: I Don’t Want Your Job Anymore
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for nearly two years now, and although I’ve loved being home with my son to witness all of his milestones and share countless special moments with him, I–I’m almost afraid to admit this–am ready to go back to work.
I never stopped working, really, except for the first three months of my son’s life when I was so sleep deprived that I hallucinated. But I work from home and only part-time, and I want to return to my former career–or at least work towards building a new one.
Now, there are all sorts of people out there who may think my admission is due to a character flaw of some kind: Either I don’t love my son enough/care about my career too much or I’m just another victim of “the grass is always greener” mentality. The first point is so far from the truth that I’m not going to bother to explain it except to say that I do value my career and the time/money that I put into my college education. I worked really hard and excelled in my studies, and from time to time I worry so much about my ever-aging resume that I feel sick to my stomach. The second point (Verdant Grass Syndrome) is something I’ve considered.
After thinking long and hard about it, I’ve concluded that I’m not under the delusion that life will be easier for me whenever I return to work full time. In fact, I’m dreading the early days when my son and I transition from our current home life to one in which we are separated for most of the day. It’s going to be extremely difficult for me to get used to being apart from my babe, and I’m also worried about the logistical side of this–how on earth are we going to eat a healthy meal before bedtime?
So, no, I don’t think working outside the home will make life easier, and yet, I miss the exhilaration I used to feel from working my ass off on a project and seeing it succeed. I miss using the part of my brain that solves complex problems and comes up with creative solutions.
I can already hear the other SAHMs indignantly arguing, “But I solve complex problems every day! And I’ve practically got a PhD in Time Management.” Yes, yes, it’s true… I’m constantly calculating which errands I can run (and how many) before nap time, planning out snacks and other supplies I might need before I leave the house, and learning to combat my son’s increasingly sophisticated toddler brand of psychological warfare when it comes to going to sleep, getting dressed, eating, getting his diaper changed, getting into/out of the shopping cart/bathtub, etc. All of this takes skill, it takes cunning, it takes ingenuity, and, yes, it takes excellent time management. But being a SAHM doesn’t take a college degree; it doesn’t require the specialized skills I acquired in my career; it doesn’t challenge me mentally, only emotionally.
So, I’m sorry, other stay-at-home parents: I commend you for your patience, commitment, and sense of fulfillment, but I’ve been ready to go back to my career since my son was six months old. Now the question is, who’s willing to hire me?
Photo credit: mkalty