Thursday, August 1, 2013

This isn't what I expected

Four years ago, I walked out of a downtown office building for the last time on my way to becoming a stay at home mom. Four years have gone by, but I don't identify with this roll. I wonder what else I could be doing...I hear the call...I feel ambition's pull. Do you ever feel it too?

After the arrival of baby two, I let myself be carried through each day. I try to stay ahead of the next tantrum. Fatigue. I have no direction. I care about my weight, healthy meals, happy kids, and a clean house. I tell myself: "This is only temporary. Your (adorable, brilliant, sensitive) children are only young once. You made the right decision. It's a privilege to stay home. Your time is coming..."

My time to do what, exactly?

I day dream about having a successful second career, but, from where I stand, it seems impossible to rejoin the workforce and start over from scratch. This huge barrier (imagined or real?) has left me paralyzed. I drift along, hoping something will reveal itself...

I have these nagging fears. What if I take the first steps toward a new career and it doesn't work out? What if I can't compete with people 20 years younger? What if I lack the talent? What if the payoff is not worth the time put in?

I have two years before my youngest is in full time kindergarten*. This deadline sounds far enough ahead that I don't have to think about it now. Except, nothing is going to suddenly fall into my lap. I need to seek out my future and proceed toward it. I need to find some direction...and maybe put my ambition to good use.

ps. I hope to rely on school as a bridge between here and where I want to be. I love school. I guess that is something I can get started on now. Find the right program and make sure I meet the requirements.
pps. I underestimated how sticky being stay-at-home-mom is...
ppps. I wonder if I should read old blog posts...I have this nagging suspicion that I contradict myself at times...
pppps. I bought some more art...

*The boys are 4, and 20 first starts kindergarten (half-day) this fall!


  1. Have you considered maybe starting your own business? Im sure you have lots of talents (this blog being one of them!). A few courses to smooth out your skill set and you could be doing your own thing and still have flexibility to be there for your kids!

  2. Deep breaths. Network, schooling,volunteering - these could all help define what it is you feel like doing. Don't worry about the rest. 10 years from now you will be like why was I stressing?

  3. N_StyleingwithChildrenAugust 1, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    I"m just entering the stay-at-home phase. Mine is slightly different, as I'm a public employee (at some point) and have taken extended leave to be at home. Going back to being public employee doesn't sound super glamorous, so there's always a thought that maybe I should be going back to doing something else. But what?
    I agree with Designwali. Figure out what you want to do, take some schooling if you feel like it. Two years are far enough and will pass in a flash.
    You will figure it out. It is a privilege to be able to stay at home with your kids when they are little, so don't forget to enjoy your time now and don't cloud it with stress. You will figure it out.

  4. I've always struggled with the same thoughts as I am at home with my 3 little kids. School was definitely the answer for me...gets me out of the house each weeks, homework to focus on instead of just my house and kids,I've met lots of great new people, and hopefully it will help me re-enter the workforce in a few years. Maybe school could help tie you over the next few years too...

  5. Whatever you do..don't go to law school.

    A friend of mine just finished up a college degree in nutrition and she LOVED it. Like life changing loved it. Made me think of you.

  6. ashley ashley.izsakAugust 1, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    I feel the same way. At least you manage to retain some of your self... yourself... by blogging. I am failing at that and have that nagging panicky oh god where will my life go, what is happening, i feel so underutilized, but i need to be here, i want to be here, yet i feel trapped but so lucky, but definitely claustrophobic a little when I think of the square box that my life is contained in. What are you thinking about in the ways of school, I have a two year count down on too which I only realized tonight and of course made me cry, but for what? What I will be losing because they will be that much older or for the fear of what the hell i will be doing. Good for you for putting your fears out there!

  7. Could be a possibility...but I want to chase the dream, and a small business wasn't what I imagined!! It's a fall back plan.

    I don't think I have the entrepreneurial be honest...but I could surprise myself!

  8. not stressing, exactly...just don't want to let SIX YEARS go by with zero to show for it! I mean, beautiful, intelligent children...but if I want something more (I do) then I have to use some of this time to work towards know? There are no do-overs

  9. Smart to go back to same employer...

    I let go of my career in sell-side research. The hours were long. Studying businesses is interesting...I could read and make models all day, but I didn't have the confidence to turn that into stock calls...I mean, I did it...but the confidence...I always felt like I was trespassing...I didn't own it.

    Of course, I couldn't see that before I became a mom, started a blog, found my voice, grew up...even though I have this gap in my employment, these things make me infinitesimally more employable. I am true now to what I am thinking, I have confidence...and I have to focus on what's important because my time is precious. Still, the hours in that world are long...

  10. I am hoping for all of this - exactly!

  11. No law school for me!

    Nutrition, huh...
    I'd have to take some science courses!

  12. Claustrophobia is so real when you have little ones...especially when they are nursing and you really can't get away!

    Two years is more than enough time! Try to enjoy it... I just don't want to drift through my thirties...I want purpose!

  13. I'm sure being a stay at home mom has created a deep bond and sense of security for your boys - no baby sitter could ever give them the love and care that a mom does.

    They will appreciate this as they become older, especially in their adulthood. I work at a hospital and have observed many family dynamics during difficult situations. The "close families" are easy to spot. They are a source of support and comfort for elderly parents. That doesn't come out of thin air - its developed from childhood as you are doing with your boys.

    I agree with the others you are very talented and will succeed at whatever you choose to pursue.

  14. Thanks so much Polly! Leaving this sweet comment was really dear of you!

  15. I'm about to start the SAHM phase myself (well really I'm already doing it - just going to be official in a couple of weeks after my mat leave is done) and I'm going to attempt to continue to do outside stuff/freelance to keep my brain working... I suggest starting to attend a meet-up here and there. Go to a conference or workshop that interests you, take a course. It'll come, I'm sure of it.

  16. Choosing the right path is so difficult! I stayed home with my now 20-year old children back in the day... and don't regret a minute of it. I'm not sure they appreciate it yet... but it was the right thing for us. Have you thought of finding a profession that you aspire to work in and become a part-time assistant for someone working in that field? A few of my friends did that and were able to work their way into the profession on their own as their children grew up. One worked for a Realtor and is now a Realtor in her own right. The other worked in a design store and now has clients of her own. I did bookkeeping for my husband's firm and now have a dozen other clients I work with. Just my thoughts! Good luck to you!

  17. I thought you wrote "I'll come, I am sure of it!"...I was like, bring it sister!

    Anyways, I picked a class at UofT - I will write about it after I get around to's continuing education...not a steps!

  18. Ha! Well picking and registering is the hardest part. I'm sure you'll love it! I was thinking you could do something with books since you love them so much!

  19. Oh man. I could have written this post myself. I love being a Mom and I know it's lucky to get to stay home but I so miss having that day to day purpose. My time isn't coming to an end any time soon but I totally want to plan my career start over! I can't wait!

    You will do so great, you're so smart and motivated, I can't wait to see where the next phase takes you!