Four years

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Four years

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out of the workplace

and in the home

being a mom.

It began with a one-year pledge to stay home with my newly adopted baby girl. She needed my full-time attention.

One year easily stretched into two years thanks to a thriving family business.

Two years became three when the economy wiped out that thriving business and slit the throats of the major industries that fed the bellies of this region.

Three years became four as I realized a few things:

* I had grown to mostly like this lifestyle.

* The longer you are home, with a somewhat free and flexible schedule, the harder it is to imagine rejoining the rat race. Also, the longer you are away, the harder it is to jump back on the treadmill.

None of this is to say things can’t be figured out. But, heck, a four-year gap on the resume is a tough one in this tough market. Thankfully I’ve found some freelance work here and there.

Four years

out of the rat race

working my way slowly

through the maze.

I am someone quite different from the woman who walked out of the newsroom with a U.S. Postal Service-issue plastic tub filled with her career and an extra helping of bitterness. (I returned the tub, just in case any government types are reading.) It’s true what they said to me: You leave now, you won’t be able to come back. It scared me but I did it anyway.

Along the way a bunch of great stuff happened in my life that had nothing to do with money and careers:

I experienced full-time motherhood.

I started doing things myself.

I made some amazing new friends.

I dropped some highly toxic relationships.

I started to volunteer in my community.

I didn’t find what I was looking for but what I needed found me.

I changed the direction of my life. I may not know where I’ll end up, but I do have a path to follow and the faith to know that I’m on the right road. Endless unknown possibilities are just around the bend. A really, really long and winding bend.

I endured some hard lessons in these four years. We lost our life savings.  We came scary-close to picking up and moving.  We had many months of living on very little and worrying if this utility or that service would be shut off. It was painful. We came away with the kind of appreciation for things we couldn’t have known otherwise.

After these four years,  I can make it through anything.

13 thoughts on “Four years

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I have been staying at home for nearly five years now, and sometimes it fills me with anguish that I made that choice. But you really reminded me of all the reasons to be grateful that I did. Even though it’s been hard as well. There really are a lot of ways to look at it.

  2. Sam: Anguish is a good word. When I read where all my former co-workers are now it fills me with anger and jealousy at times. However, I did what was right. I couldn’t have lived with myself if I’d put my career first when this child so badly needed my full attention,

  3. I’ve been a stay at home mom for two years now, and I cannot begin to imagine returning to the rat-race. Nor do I want to. It has NOT been an easy two years, but like you said, I do have a lot to be grateful for.

  4. If a fortune teller had told me even five years ago that I would be a part-time work from home, full-time mom with two little girls, and proud owner of a vegetable garden, I would have asked for my money back. Times change and life is a strange (and sometimes terrifying) but wonderful ride.

  5. Meleah: The rat race is overrated.
    Tanya: I know, right? I am the proud caretaker of a vegetable garden, too. Our gardens always suffered when no one was home to tend to them. Who knew they needed attention?

  6. I am very impressed with you. I couldn’t handle the stay at home mom thing and the sacrifices that I made to my career were part of the stress that ended my marriage. Good news is that I have perspective now. It’s great when we can realize that difficult times can be our biggest triumphs.

  7. Molly: I’m convinced that I’m better off focusing on one thing. I tried the full-time working mom thing and I was torn all the time. If I put my career first, which I did on more than one occasion, my daughter suffered. If I put her first, I had hell to pay at the office. It was no-win.

  8. I can totally relate to that feeling of never wanting to go back to the rat race of full-time work. I absolutely love being with my kids full-time, though money is definitely tight. Would not change it for the world. Love this post.

  9. MamaMary: Just yesterday as I was shopping for my almost 5-year-old I realized with a lump in my throat that this is it, the last go-round with a preschooler and all the early childhood stuff. I really need to just embrace it all, good and bad.

  10. you rock, momZ. i, too, have been home for 4 years ever since i became ill. i never envisioned my life as a stay-at-home-mom, but now that i am one, i cannot imagine punching a clock anymore.

  11. Sher: Life has a way of dishing out what we need. Well, minus the illness part. Just love your pet-peeve theme. I so want to steal it.

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