I can’t call myself a stay-at-home mom anymore.
You see, I got a real-live, brush-your-hair-every-day,
leave-the-house type of job. And I’m so excited, so thrilled and so
It’s been a long time — three and a half years — since I’ve worked
in an office, outside of my home. And I know it’s conceited to think the
whole world stopped once I left the workforce, but in some ways, that’s
how it feels. I feel like I’ve been in limbo a bit, waiting for
something. I honestly didn’t have specific plans of what I would do once
it was time for me to go back to work. Or even when it would be time
for me to go back to work.
I’ve applied for a few jobs over the years, mostly because it’s
financially difficult to live on one salary with two children. But I
half hoped I wouldn’t be chosen because then I wouldn’t have to deal
with leaving my kids. So it was never a huge disappointment when I
didn’t get a call.
But when I saw this job, I knew it would be perfect. It’s a writing
job, close by and starts part time. So maybe I can ease back into the
The thing that is causing me the most anxiety, though, is my daughter.
My son was in day care from the time he was 3 months old until he
was 2 1/2. And then at 3, he was in preschool. So he’s always had time
away from me. He’s a social little guy and the only thing that will be
different for him is he will ride the bus to a day care in the afternoon
and probably will not be allowed to watch as much television as he does
at home. He is, of course, terribly upset at that fact, but I’m sure he
will adjust. This way, I don’t have to always be the bad guy limiting
his screen time.
But my daughter always has been with me, right by my side. She was
much more independent as a younger child than my son, but I think that’s
because she had never really been separated from me. She knew I always
would be within shouting distance.
So I’m worried about how she will take the adjustment. I’m worried
there will be tears and crying and clinging and I’m worried she will do
those things, too. Because it’s just starting to sink in I won’t be
around her all day. Yes, of course, it has been so difficult and trying
and exhausting staying at home. But I always knew she’d be in shouting
distance if I needed her.
And now, I won’t know what she’s doing all day. I won’t see how much
she eats for lunch or how she plays with the other kids. I won’t watch
her tuck her baby dolls in on the couch because “they need to feel
better.” I won’t be there to kiss a booboo or play ball during the day,
or stop her from eating all the toothpaste straight out of the tube.
Part of me is relieved at being able to be a person other than Mommy
again. I will be with adults most of the day and be able to think
without a small child interrupting me to ask for a cup of milk. But, oh,
it does hurt to think of not being available for my kids whenever they
It’s a fantastic opportunity I’ve been given, one I honestly never
thought I would have. I’ve been able to stay at home with my babies for
longer than many other mothers. And now that it’s time, I’m able to
re-enter the workforce doing something I love to do.
So, yeah. I’m lucky. And thrilled. And nervous. And excited. And sad. And terrified. And nauseous. And ecstatic.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on February 26, 2014.