After giving birth to Hunter last summer I was home on maternity leave for a few months and did go back to work in the fall. Hunter went to daycare. Hunter was fine at daycare, but I was not fine at work. Sam did the hard job of dropping him off at daycare, but I still struggled emotionally knowing it wasn’t me feeding him, changing him, making him laugh, rocking him to sleep, comforting a cry, or watching him meet and master new milestones (the list goes on…). As a pediatric nurse practitioner, I had a good job. A career. So it seemed like common sense that I should be working. But my heart was telling me otherwise. Sam and I had a lot of talks about what it would mean if I stayed home. At first it started as, “well when we have our second child someday it will probably make sense for me to stay home because daycare is expensive” and then the timeline in our discussion slowly creeped earlier and earlier until we finally started talking about me quitting sooner rather than later. Sam was very supportive of the decision, which helped, but honestly I struggled with concerns with what that meant for my career and what people would think/say (which in retrospect is so silly because it is my life–I only get one of these!– and I have to do what makes me happy whenever possible). But after a lot of heart-to-hearts with Sam, myself, and a few family members and close friends (who were all very supportive) I decided to give my notice.
I have been home for a few months now and I really enjoy being a stay-at-home mom. I love that I’m the one who tends to Hunter’s needs. I love that we have time to do activities during the week (we love meeting up with my mom or our friends for walks, going to the library, and having play dates). And I love that I can focus on getting things done at home during the week (the house cleaning is still a work in progress as Hunter keeps me busy, but there is definitely an improvement from when I was working), so we can focus on spending time as a family on the weekends. We are more active. We enjoy more time outside. I’m cooking a lot more often. And I am so much happier. And since Hunter STILL doesn’t sleep through the night it is nice to know I don’t have to wake up and go to work the next day. Of course, being a stay-at-home mom has its hard moments too–you are on 24/7 with no break (including if you’re sick), bad weather means you are cooped up indoors with an infant, and it can be isolating with little adult interaction many days. But, for me, the benefits have far outweighed the negatives.
So what does it mean for my career? To be honest, I’m hoping it doesn’t affect it much at all. I’m keeping my licenses active and staying up to date with continuing education. And if any job opportunities present themselves I would seriously consider them. But at this time I am just enjoying each day with my baby boy. And when I do plan to go back, whether it is in the near future or later, I hope that I will still be welcomed as an experienced pediatric nurse practitioner. If not, I will deal with it then, but I do feel like I made the right decision now. It took a while for me to make the mental leap to officially give my notice, but I made a decision from my heart and I have no regrets.