Going back to work after being a stay-at-home mom has its challenges — and its benefits.
In October 2014, I was heavily pregnant, working full-time, and raising a 2-year-old all while my husband was beginning to travel more for his job. A mutual decision was made that I would quit my job and become a stay-at-home mom when baby No. 2 arrived. Flash forward almost four years: My oldest is entering his second year of big school and my youngest will be in Mother’s Day Out five days per week. I’ve gone through all the stages of SAHM life: the honeymoon period; the routine period; the boredom period. What would I even do all day with both kids at school? I can tell you what didn’t top the brainstorming list — cooking and cleaning all day. Thus, the idea of a part-time job seemed attractive to me. It would keep me busy, plus I would have some extra cash to pay for frivolous things that weren’t always in our family budget.
As I was brainstorming potential employment ideas, I stumbled upon a job opportunity at a new jewelry boutique opening in the mall. It seemed like a no-brainer as the mall is one of my motherships, and I was already a fan of the brand. After discussing it with my husband, I went to the hiring event and got the job.
It was exciting for me but a little scary all at the same time, mainly because the store opened before my kids went back to school. I had so many questions of my own, which were then reinforced by my husband. How would I juggle the kids and the job? What if he was traveling? Was this worth my time and stress? How would the kids react?
Starting out was fun. I was excited to get dressed up, work alongside other adults and have something that belonged to me (not involving my husband or kids). Being a part of the opening of a highly anticipated store was an awesome experience. I really had a blast during training, and the first month of work, but it wasn’t without an adjustment period. Adjusting to being back in the workforce was a challenge in some funny ways. I forgot to clock in. When you aren’t used to working and your last job was salary-based, it is easy to forget. My manager had to remind me that I only get 30 minutes for lunch after I just assumed I got an hour. I learned at training that I am the token old lady of the group. Seriously, I am the oldest chick on the team. Or I guess I am the hen, and they are all chicks.
My kids’ reaction was comical. My 5-year-old told me, “You have work to do here, Mom. You don’t have to leave to work.” The 3-year-old stared at me blankly when I told him. He would randomly bring it up in the car or while we were snuggling, and ask “So why you go to work now?” They were intrigued by my job, but also a little sad. I’m not going to lie, they made me feel guilty. There were some tears from my oldest, and they did not appreciate having a babysitter one night so that I could go to work while Dad was out of town.
I’m now eight weeks into my new job, and we have had some hiccups. I know I have pushed my sweet husband’s limits a few times. My kids have put the guilt trips on me, and I have second guessed myself. Overall though, it is working. Getting my hustle back is great for me and for the family. I feel empowered having the opportunity to get out a little bit and bringing home some cash. My husband is spending some quality one-on-one time with the kids without me hovering. I am usually the control freak who plans all family outings and events. Now Daddy plans fun days and takes them to places that Mommy has never been.
The biggest surprise: My kids appreciate me so much more!