Full-time employee, full-time mom, big ol' failure
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
For those of you who may not know- I quit my full-time marketing job about two months ago to focus on my little family. I wanted to make sure I give them the best of me, because that’s what they deserve.
After I had Addison, I worked from home so that I could be her primary caretaker, but still maintain a full-time career. I never saw myself as someone who would quit her job to stay home to take care of her family. I had always enjoyed the work I did and loved having something that was just mine, and so it made sense for me to continue on, albeit in a different setting.
I am also a closet control freak and the idea of leaving my fragile, vulnerable, sweet little baby in a stranger’s care was enough for me to want to cry. We don’t have any family nearby that could have given up working at the time to take care of Addison, and honestly, it wasn’t anybody else’s responsibility to take that on. So, we made a deal with my work and we jumped into our new normal.
But I quickly learned that juggling working and momming was a lot harder than I anticipated. I was always on. I often worked from my phone in the nursery. If Addison was sleeping, I was working, if she was awake, I was bouncing between her and work, always feeling guilty about not giving one of those my undivided attention, and subsequently, feeling like I was failing at both.
It's funny, before I took the “work from home” path, I had a lot of people tell me that it would be great, because babies just sleep so much! Well, that’s true. But by the time my (very short) maternity leave was over, Addison was expanding her wake-windows. And it seemed like she would never sleep when I really needed to get things done (go figure, you can’t make a baby do shit!). Perhaps I should have been better about putting her down and letting her solo play. But I’m just not that mom. When Addison got here, I just wanted to soak all her squishiness up, as much as I possibly could. I wanted her near me.
Not to mention, she was a huge snacker because of her food allergies, and so I was ALWAYS breastfeeding. I had to turn video meetings down or switch them to a general phone call, because chances are, I’d be tits out trying to feed my daughter for the 18th time that hour.
My mental health started to really decline about a month in to working from home. I felt like I couldn’t catch up. There weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done for work that I would have pre-baby and take care of my sweet girl the way I desperately wanted to. I was failing at everything I was attempting- working, parenting, being a wife, being “Megan.” None of it was working and I could feel myself slipping into a dark place of resentment.
I made the decision to make a change- to prioritize. I made a calendar and a to-do list of things that absolutely needed to get done that day. And then I had another list of things, that if there was time, would be good to finish. I rarely made it to that second list, and I wished I wouldn’t have felt this way, but I was anxious that I couldn’t get those things checked off. Even prioritizing things that were an “absolute must” meant I was waking up, immediately checking email, posting to social media while trying to get Addison down for a nap, checking emails in the middle of nighttime awakenings, answering calls with Addison asleep on me, continuing to work until midnight just to try to catch up (and I never did). It. Was. A. LOT.
It was no one’s fault that it was all totally overwhelming to me. But that didn’t change the fact that it totally overwhelmed me.
I didn’t want to have to decide between being a good employee or being the mother I wanted to be for Addison. I didn’t want to have to decide to answer the constant barrage of emails coming in or being an active participant in my daughter’s day. I desperately wanted to be one of those people who could “do it all” but the stark reality was, I wasn’t. And so, I quit.
While it was nice to have that paycheck rolling in, it wasn’t worth my mental health, or our daughter’s happiness to keep doing it. And honestly, once I started staying home with her, I realized just how much I loved it. Nothing else made me feel whole or felt as important as pouring into her all day, every day. My priorities shifted. What I saw as important, shifted.
Quitting my job was the best decision I have ever made. Addison and I have thrived together since. Don’t get me wrong, it is a HUGE adjustment, and not every day is full of rainbows and cupcakes. Far from it, actually. We’ve all had to make significant sacrifices to make this work. But I would gladly make any sacrifice I needed to make over, and over, and over again to go down this same path. There is no greater feeling, for me, than getting to spend this precious time with my daughter that I know I will never get back.