It’s been a little over a year since I decided to quit my job during my maternity leave and though, I still have those moments of crisis where I feel like I’m not contributing to the financial well-being of our household, I have finally learned the key to feeling accomplished.
It has not been without effort (and lots of tears and doubts) that I have come to this place where I now feel happy and no longer a traitor to all the feminists who made it possible for me to be able to choose a career and be independent. But I now understand that part of all what the feminist movement fought for is for the choice of staying home with your children if that is what you wanted to do.
I guess that the root of the problem was comparing myself to my husband and my career-oriented friends while having too much free time and a little baby who didn’t need much more than food and love. So, as you know, I went on my quest to find friends who had more in common with my actual state of mind and life-style.
After some funny, awkward and quirky situations (like going on mom blind dates) I finally found the two best places to meet people in a natural way: MOMS Club, which has been the best place to regain a sense of identity and to learn to value the new me; and activities such as Babytime at the local libraries, where I met other people looking to connect with other first-time moms.
Besides finding people who had more in common with my stay-at-home-momness, I needed to fill the void that accomplishing things at work and learning new things gave me. That’s why I decided to start my own home-based business, which has given me the opportunity to continue to be in contact with some of my colleagues and to meet new ones. This has been the best move I could have made to make me feel like my brain (and all what I went to school for) was not just rotting away. It also gives me a little sense of control, the opportunity to contribute financially to our home and most importantly, a feeling of independence. It is great to know that my husband’s father’s-day-gift won’t come out of his own wallet this year :D.
Another great thing that I did with my free time was joining a French class to refresh some of what I had learned in my minor in college. This was a great decision as it forces me to actually sit down and activate my brain by doing homework and makes me feel like I’m not wasting my time while I decide whether to go back to school or a job outside the home in the future.
How many times in your life you said to yourself: when I have more free time I would like to learn how to cook, study photography, work on my yard, learn how to grow my own garden… We all have the desire to have more time to dedicate to our hobbies at some point but we don’t realize that we can actually make the time for them right now. I have to thank my husband for pushing me to do some of the stuff I always wanted to and now I find the time to cook, to be on a Spanish book club and to continue playing with my camera.
Yes, some days I’m so busy that I get overwhelmed but I am both happy and thankful for that feeling. I take busyness over boredom any day of the week. I have finally discovered that at least in my case, having a million things to do makes me feel happy and accomplished both as a mother and as a woman. If I only knew this about a year ago…