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Being Fulfilled. What If Being a SAHM Is All I’m Supposed to Do?

 

I have always been a dreamer. I love a good goal setting session, a vision board, or just a few hours alone with my thoughts to spin myself an entirely new or improved life. Usually, that includes my professional future. I’ve been accepted to law school, applied to countless master’s programs, and currently receive no less than five emails a month regarding various educational opportunities I once thought might be the next step for me. Typically, I stay within the realm of possibilities—I’m terrible at math and science, and I’m squeamish at the sight of blood, but otherwise—all bets are off. I love to learn, and I love to stretch myself.

For a long time, I let it bother me that I didn’t have a true calling. I’ve had plenty of friends who knew EXACTLY what they were supposed to be doing with their life from a very early age, or at least from the beginning of college. Even my husband is in a trade and has been doing some version of that trade for more than half my life. I would think of these people and feel discouraged. I just knew that I looked like a flakey girl who didn’t have her stuff together. Yes, I like marketing, but is it my passion? Do I feel called to do it forever? Do I know that a marketing job is the last job I’ll ever have? No, nope, and I hope not. I have a long list of things I’m passionate about or enjoy—things I wouldn’t mind doing to earn a living. Agriculture, food, marketing, social media, and non-profits all make the list. But, if I’m honest–if I had to choose one and be happy—I couldn’t. Then I got pregnant with my first son…

While I was pregnant, I figured I would go back to work after my maternity leave ended. Maybe I’d reduce my hours a bit or work from home a little more often, but I planned on going back. Then my baby boy arrived, and I realized via panic attacks and anxiety that I did not want to go back. Not at all. Being his mom was the one thing I felt truly sure about in the world. I took on parenting the same way I took on the potential of a new degree or career. I researched. I love parenting books and devoured them on topics like sleep training, food, and how parenting and school are done in other countries. Sometimes, I find that the particular research or theory isn’t for us (sorry, baby led weaning). Sometimes, I try them, and they are wildly successful (The Happy Sleeper). At first, I kept an eye open for a new job. I perused Indeed and listened to podcasts about networking or starting your own business. I even went so far as to apply and have phone interviews. However, I was nursing full-time and worried about the long commute and time away from my baby. I also was realistic about the fact that my degree is in English Literature and most of the work I’ve done is with non-profits. If you didn’t read between the lines there it means I don’t make a ton of $$$. Was hiring childcare that would eat up most, if not all, of my paycheck be the right way to go?

As a family, we decided I would stay at home. We found out I was expecting baby number two in August and that decision just seemed to make more and more sense for us. Does that mean I will never work outside the home again? I hope not. I’ll be honest—at 7 months pregnant I still check out Indeed, but a lot less than I used to and always with a focus on work-from-home and part-time gigs. I don’t know if this baby will be our last. I don’t know when I’ll go back to work. I do know that the work that I’m doing now is the most important work of my life. Most days, it leaves me utterly exhausted, but blissfully content. So, is this what a “calling” feels like?  

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2 Responses to Being Fulfilled. What If Being a SAHM Is All I’m Supposed to Do?

  1. Avatar
    Amanda June 20, 2019 at 11:04 am #

    This is my life and how I feel as well. It’s so hard to know if I’m doing what is best for my family. Motherhood is truly the best blessing!

  2. Avatar
    Laurie Stock June 22, 2019 at 1:46 pm #

    This is beautiful, Ashley! To all the SAHMs …I have a similar story and I’m now in my next stage of life…Empty Nesting…and I’m surviving! I too questioned my decision. Today I have not a single regret. I remember my sweet babies’ sticky fingers and the feeling of sleep deprivation. They are all good memories. I made the right decision for my family and me. So to you SAHMs, if it feels right, stay where you are! If it doesn’t, there is no shame. Ignore judgment if you encounter any but as an ENM, soak up every moment because it’s gone in a flash!

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