Returning To Work: From Full-Time Mom to Full-Time Employee

Returning to work has been nothing less than a heated discussion between my husband and I.  Tension had been building up for years.  It may have even led to some resentment.  It was decided, by both of us, that when we started our family, I would stay home and raise the kids.  At the time, it sounded like the perfect solution.  I would have been working to keep my kids in daycare; something I didn’t want to do.  I didn’t see the point in that.  Personal decision.  I had a very nice job.  I was working full-time in a small, 2 person-surgeons office.  It was myself, my boss and the surgeon.  I worked there for 14 years before I decided it was time to make the switch from full-time employee to full-time mom.  

Returning To Work: From Full-Time Mom to Full-Time Employee

Becoming a Full-Time Mom

Was it a hard decision?  No, not really.  I was in my mid-thirties and I knew that I was expanding my family.  It was a no-brainer, I just needed to be there for my kids.   I still remember the day I left my job.  It was hard because I LOVED my job.  My responsibilities included things like billing, insurance claims, pre-authorization, greeting patients, checking them out, filing (which I hated because I’m really not all that organized), and making appointments.  It was fun.  My hours were perfect.  My salary was amazing.  But, I still felt something drawing me home.  My daughter was 2 and I was pregnant with my second.  All I ever really wanted to be in life was a mom (and maybe to have my own boutique).

All I ever really wanted to be in life was a mom.

Fast forward.  Three kids, each 3 years apart and now I am a full-time mom.  I was there for all their firsts; first steps, first teeth, first tantrums, first words, the first day of school, first door slam, first boyfriend/girlfriend, first dance, I’ve seen and heard it all.  And, I wouldn’t trade that in for anything.  Did we struggle financially?  Absolutely.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  My husband started to resent me because at some point he started to feel like just a paycheck.  Of course, it wasn’t true.  I was grateful to be given the opportunity to stay home.  I was so happy to be there when they went to and from school. Actually, I was more than grateful, I just may not have shown that as often as I should have at the time.  I was able to stay home as long as I wanted.  

Returning to work?

We had two 10-year-old vehicles when my husband’s truck died.  We needed to get him a vehicle for work.  My van would make a good work vehicle for him because it was good on gas and had room for all his tools.  In order to do that though, I needed to get a new vehicle.  I needed something reliable because our oldest was just starting to drive.  For me to get a new vehicle, I had to get a part-time job to help cover that expense.  I took a job as a lunchroom supervisor making just enough money to pay for a car payment every month.  I was working so my husband can get to work and for me to have a vehicle that was reliable for my daughter.  

Part-Time to Full-Time.

That was fine for a short period of time.  However, my husband kept telling me that the kids didn’t need me and I should go back to work full-time.  Did I want to go back to work full-time?  No, I did not.  I had become Mom.  That WAS and still IS my job.  I gave up my job, gave up my work identity and became, “Mom”.  It was the greatest title anyone had ever given me.  I still wanted to work in the school district because – summers off….duh.  My first choice would have been and still is within the office, but I figured I’d step outside my comfort zone and get my Paraprofessional certificate.  Once I had that I started to apply.  It took a good 6 months but a position opened at the school I worked at and after applying, I was offered the spot.

Let the revelations appear…

I was in for an eye-opening experience that’s for sure.  I don’t think I thought things through very well.  No pros/cons list, I just went for it without thinking!  I should have given it more thought.  Why was I getting this job?  Was it because I wanted it, or because I felt pressured or mom-guilted into going back to work?  Do I even enjoy what I’m doing?  Or was it just a way to get my foot in the door for a higher position?  To this day, I’m not sure if it’s my “forever-after” job.  I don’t think it is.  There’s still that dream of opening my own boutique!  But while I was returning to work, I realized a few things.  Things like…

Forced To Wear Pants

No one should be forced to wear pants at 6 am!

 Yes, you read that correctly.  Who thought getting up early was a GOOD thing?  I am not a morning person so getting up at 6 am and actually getting dressed WITH makeup on is unheard of!  Businesses should start at 9 am….even schools, period.  I am way more productive after 9.  Just saying.

Meal Planning for a Month

Meal planning and preparation are essential!

Remember when I said I wasn’t organized?  I’m not.  But when it comes to dinner, the family still needs to eat and therefore, I need to cook it.  I am not good at coming home at 3:30 and then trying to figure out what to make so what did I do?  Created a month-long dinner schedule.  By giving each kid a week to plan their favorite meals, and one for my husband, that meant, I didn’t have to figure out what I was cooking for the WHOLE month!  

It's ok to ask for help.

You can’t do it alone!

It’s ok to ask for help!  Now that I am gone for 8 hours a day, I can’t get everything done that I would normally have done so it’s time to call for help.  Everyone in the family has got to step it up even if they don’t want to.  Every Sunday (or Saturday based on our schedule), the kids each have a list of three chores they must to in order to help me out.  One cleans the kitchen while the other does the floors, and the other cleans the family room.  I clean the bathrooms and anything else that needs to be cleaned.  I also use this time to plan and prepare for the coming week.  

You get paid, but not in kisses

You get paid! Not in kisses though!

You actually get a real paycheck.  That you can cash!  At a real bank!  The most exciting part of me going back to work full-time is getting a paycheck every two weeks like clockwork.  I also get to have my summers off and I still get a paycheck.  I like watching my bank statement totals grow.  It makes me feel like a real adult again.

Alone Time is Golden

Quiet, alone time is golden!

Now that I am even busier, it’s especially important for me to find quiet, alone time.  I need time to unwind, decompress, and let go all of the days or weeks worries.  It’s always been something I had a hard time with but now I have discovered that if I go to the gym immediately after work, I feel better, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually.  I try to leave the gym and all my worries behind once I walk back to my car to head home for the day.   

I am sure as the weeks and months go on, I’ll discover more and more things I do and don’t like about returning to work and when I do, believe me, you’ll hear about it too!

If you went back to work after being a full-time mom, what was your experience like?  Did you like it?  Did it take you some time to adjust to your new schedule?  Do you miss being home all day?  Let me know in the comments!