Wednesday, February 7, 2018

*Guest Post* Leaning into Motherhood

**So happy to welcome my dear, strong, beautiful and inspiring friend Mrs. G back to Thriving Wives! Last week the Thriving Thought was to LOVE yourself. Well, that is exactly what today's post is all about. Loving yourself enough to make hard decisions to ensure your happiness. I am so thankful she was willing to share her latest experience of "Leaning into Motherhood" and hope you feel all the chills like I did when reading. Enjoy!**

I have a confession.  

I was one of the many women that judged stay at home moms.  Before I had my son Jacob, I was completely career driven.  I used to think, once I get a job with a big corporation I’ll be happy.  Once I landed my dream job with a corner office, and make six figures than I’ve really got it made.  I worked until I was 37 weeks pregnant, and managed to get promoted before going out on leave.  I read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean in, and ate up every word. There was no way I would be able to walk away from all of my hard work for a baby.  

Well guess what?  Once I become a mother, everything changed.  I fell in love with my son, and love every second of being his mommy.  
When I finally came to the long and hard decision to leave my career to stay at home with my son, I felt a huge wave of relief come over me.  This decision did not happen overnight either.  My husband and I have been throwing this idea around for over three years since my son was born.  The first year of Jacob’s life was a total blur.  I worked for a large company in downtown Los Angeles that required 60 hours of my time on a good week.  I knew I had to make a change for my family so I took a job closer to home with a smaller family owned firm. Unfortunately, my heart still wasn’t in it and I knew I wanted to be home with my son. My internal struggle was real, and I started to feel as though I was finally ready to Lean in to Motherhood. 

My Thriving Husband and I started digging into our discussion by covering the following topics in depth:  

1. Finances.  What discussed what we were currently paying for, and what could we cut back on. We made spread sheets that were extremely detailed.  The first financial decision we made was letting our nanny go.  We had agreed that I would look after our son full time.  Our family is fortunate to live near to not only my mother but also my MIL and they each agreed to take one morning with my little man so I could have a little “Me” time.  

2. Lifestyle. We then decided on smaller adjustments such as cutting back on Postmates, and eating out.  One of my new duties that I was looking forward to was cooking more at home.  I would have the time to make it to the grocery store without feeling completely rushed.  

3. True Feelings. We also discussed each of our feelings about this decision.  I was so worried that my TH wouldn’t feel completely confident that he could financially support our family.  The last thing I wanted was to add more stress to his everyday work life.  

My internal struggle was what people would think of my decision.  Would I feel less confident about myself?  Would I feel fulfilled in my new role?  My TH and I had decided to attend marriage counseling to get us through this hard decision.  The decision to see a therapist was a fantastic one for us, because it gave us a safe space to share our feelings and hold each other accountable.  A couple weeks of sessions helped us both air things out, and come to our final decision to have me stay at home full time.  It felt right for our family dynamic and to the both of us.

Sharing my news about my decision to take a leave from the industry was very uncomfortable for me.  I was so worried about what people would think of my decision.  I decided to make a list of the people I considered to be trusted peers within my industry, and made phone calls and/or sent text messages to each of them.  

I would say 95% of people seemed completely supportive of my decision.  “Family first” was a common response.  I even had a couple of my women peers admit that they wished they could stay at home with their children as well. There were also some that couldn’t wrap their heads around my decision, whether they openly admitted it to me or not.  I could sense it. And you know what? Who cares? I had to learn to brush it off.  It’s my life, and I made the choice to stay home. 

When I was in the office, I was constantly comparing myself to others and waiting from my next review.  While I think my work stood up to the best of them, I was never sure doing my best was enough since there was always someone just as good or better.  Slowly, I am starting to see that I no longer view promotions, raises, paychecks and other opinions as a mark of my worth.  

When my children get older, I want to be available to them to help guide them and support them through the complexities of growing up. Crafting this life, is a choice I make every day now. I can never imagine looking back and thinking “I wish I spent more time at work”.  I can always go back to work when I want to eventually.  

I recognize the privilege I have in making the choice to be a stay at home mom right now.  I do not envy anyone who feels differently and am disheartened that any mom would feel pressure to permanently abandon their career when she is not happy at home.  Every family dynamic is unique, and decisions need to be made based on what helps your family to thrive. All moms deserve to live a happy and fulfilled life, no matter how they get there.   

Strive to thrive, 

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