It’s been a full year since I transitioned back to work from a full-time home parent to a working parent. Many things have changed in the last year, including blogging taking a back seat to new demands.
My life has changed dramatically over the course of the last 12 months. Some things for the better, some for the worse, and some things are still the same.
I loved being a full-time home parent. As a matter of fact, I am not working right now because I work for a school and we are out for summer break. I am extremely happy. The boys and I have planned things for this summer, but our schedule is determined by what we would like to do rather than what we have to do. Being a full-time home parent is kind of like being self-employed. You can turn down jobs you don’t want and choose the one you do.
My transition to a working parent wasn’t easy. It’s hard to know if the transition was hard because I had been out of work for so long or because the job I transitioned with was so challenging. I think it was a little of both. Being a perfectionist by nature I found the ‘learning curve’ for the new job very hard. As much as I prepared I was never really ready for how stressful it would be. Because my job is management, I had to quickly come up to speed skills used over 15 years ago. Many skills were rusty and some forgotten. Managing a program and other people while trying to play catch up wasn’t fun. I felt overwhelmed all the time.
My family seemed to adjust quicker than I. My oldest son enjoyed his role as driver to pick up his two brothers from school each day. My husband planned and cooked meals, helped with homework, and managed to pick up the house a bit. It was painful to come home stressed out each day from work and find the family happy and functioning without me. I had always prided my work as a home parent and was surprised how quickly I was replaced.
For the first few months at work I made mistakes. My expectations for myself and others were often too high. I didn’t have a coping system for all the new emotions I was experiencing. I did a lot of yelling, crying and complaining. Most of which was done at home with my family. My husband and kids had to endure a woman was wasn’t at home as often and when home she was an emotional mess. I doubted my decision every single day and longed for my former life being home.
However, like most new experiences I became more familiar and things got better. I started to experience success. People made comments how I was making a positive difference. My staff responded well to my direction. I found I was more capable than I thought I was. I developed friendships related to me and to my work, not things related to my kids. I began becoming a separate person away from being a mother and wife. I could relate to why so many women wanted to return to work, so they could have accomplishments that were solely their own.
A year in the life of a working mom I have survived. It hasn’t been all good, but there has been good in it. The boys proved they were capable to doing more to care for themselves. My husband proved he is able to be as nurturing as I am. But most of all, I proved to myself that I can work, being a wife, be a mom, not perfectly, but in a way that makes me and my family happy.
I made it through the first year. That makes me pretty darn proud.